You folks tell me--what are the rules of this forum?

pbl_ge(5/6)February 18, 2012

So, there appears to be some drama here, and I just want to make sure I understand the community consensus (well--dominant paradigm) for how someone like me should expect to use this forum.

Here's me:

New homeowner in an unfamiliar climate with a lot of yard that needs a lot of work.

Fairly good knowledge of plants--mostly herbaceous perennials--and experience gardening in other climate(s).

Rudimentary knowledge of design principles.

Want to do my own design, in part because it's cheaper, but also because it seems like a fun way to spend my time.

Lots of work ahead of me for this new house/yard, which I would love to discuss with people on GW.

This forum, to me, seems like a place where:

People (sometimes like me) can post their design quandaries.

People can give advice--to the extent they feel comfortable--about others' design quandaries.

People can discuss ideas/issues/general questions/sources of information/etc about design issues.

But it seems like there's a lot less discussion and a lot more biting each others' heads off. Am I in the wrong place? If my understanding of what should be happening here is incorrect, please let me know.

Peace and health......

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Pbl, as far as I know, you are in the right place for your goals. The only rule I know of is just common sense and everyday decorum... the usual. I'm sure you'll fare well. The "head biting" is just a momentary flare. Nothing that should alarm anyone. My own thoughts on what contributes to it is that "Design" "Garden Design" and "Landscape Design" are all lumped together as though they're the same, while, in fact, G.D. and L.D. can be, and usually are, drastically different. (I'm not saying that they can't be combined.) And then compound that with when those Brits get in here with their crazy language--where "garden" actually does mean landscape (I think)...well, then it's an unsortable mess! I think that if these were separate, defined forums, some potential disagreements would automatically evaporate.

If I could give a couple of posting suggestions, I'd say use a title that describes (in a nutshell) the issue. And post pictures (not too huge) that show the issues in context to the surroundings... not too close up. (Except where detail is needed.)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 3:42AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

These are the only rules of this and all GW forums.


That is the beauty of a forum you can express all opinions and only need to stay inline with the above.

You will notice in some forums there are clickes but that is expected for any online social media. You'll also find that each forum has "owners". If you've been around a while or the longer you stay around you'll know what I mean.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 9:23AM
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"People (sometimes like me) can post their design quandaries.
People can give advice--to the extent they feel comfortable--about others' design quandaries.
People can discuss ideas/issues/general questions/sources of information/etc about design issues."

I know its hard to see with all the sniping that is going on right now, but discussion is what we like to do. (and also a little bit what all the fighting is about)

Please Post away - we can all use a distraction from the other stuff.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:03AM
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Yes, please stay and post...

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:58AM
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I agree--there are no rules, excepting those momma-bear ivillage imposes. I think it's preferences that are troubling the waters.

Here are my preferences in a world where Wellspring gets it Wellspring's way ...

1. I like OPs who become invested in their posts. It's most fun for me when they come back with answers to questions in initial responses, pose new questions, express their own aha moments, grapple with a new direction that the scope of their original post might not have indicated.
Some OPs just don't really want to do that and, since there are no rules, that's cool. Used to read quite a few aborted threads where regulars here put in effort and time and the OP simply disappeared. That's a bit of a bummer, because it's like reading half a mystery novel or a joke minus the punch line. Could be lots of reasons for that -- better things to do, cat got sick, lightning smote their computer, or sex.
But, I'm just talking about my preferences and the threads I enjoy have an OP who sticks with the interchange.

2. I prefer advice-givers who draw OPs out rather than quickly impose solutions. And this may be where it gets sticky because many posters love the quick fix. Their preference and mine conflict.

3. I have a bias against advice that almost exclusively addresses curb appeal. I find this particularly irksome if the advice-giver doesn't seem to have bothered much with whether that's what the poster really wants. My design interests go beyond the drive-by perspective. Again, just my preference. I'm a 3-D person, a walk-through design enthusiast. Telling me over and over again that the only thing that matters is what people see driving by at 25 mph doesn't trip my personal trigger. A landscape design is so much more.

Just my preferences. These ain't nobody's rules.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 11:28AM
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Wellspring, it's pretty much a given that regarding point #2 you make, my name would come up as a primary culprit! However, I disagree that it is an imposition of solutions. It is always an offering and always in competition with anyone else who may propose a different offering. This is not to say that an offer will go undefended. If challenges are made, I always feel an obligation to defend what I offer since it is the result of reasoning, not whim.

I've said that the 25 mph view is very important, but not that it's the ONLY important consideration. I've examined landscapes that are extremely interesting to explore at the slowest possible pace, but that fail in being quickly perceived and in their overall curb appeal. I love to walk around and look at these, but find they are usually dominated by gardening. This is not a dirty word in my book though some may think that's what I'm implying. But gardening rarely solves that problems that are demanded by the need for landscaping. My thinking is that landscapes should appeal at 25 mph AND at 1/2 mph.

Regarding "what the poster wants"... My area of interest is landscaping, not gardening. And even though all the design forums here on Gardenweb are lumped together, I always click on Landscape Design and believe that's what I'm here to talk about. (I see this as a Gardenweb failing, lumping all these design categories together and not properly defining them.) For the most part, I believe that what posters come here looking for is landscape help because they lack sufficient knowledge in that department. Yet they often come with preconceived ideas about how to solve their particular dilemma. From the perspective of landscaping (not gardening) these preconceived ideas can range from underwhelming to atrociously bad. This is not uncommon. For the most part, lay people pick up their "ideas" about what to do from what they've already seen done. There are plenty of bad ideas out there to copy from and they are copied and proliferated ad infinitum. Usually when I explore subdivisions I notice that the preponderance of landscapes are modeled after bad examples; the "builders design" is what prevails. So when a poster proposes one of these underwhelming or atrocious solutions for their own yard, I feel a strong duty (again, entirely from a landscape perspective) to inform them that they are likely either leading themselves "down the garden path" or other posters are encouraging them to go there. Sometimes it's difficult to explain the importance of doing or not doing something a certain way and can't be accomplished in a single post. So generally, I might make a couple of stabs at it if I don't feel my point was properly comprehended. (I try not to use berating language, a nasty tone or anything like that... but as has pointed out, I can succumb to sarcasm! But it's intended in good nature.) If the OP is determined to go a wrong direction even after my couple of tries, I give up on them. Yesterday, I visited a homeowner who told me right off the bat that they wanted two newly planted oak trees (located mirror image on opposite side of a drive in front of a very traditional architectural style home) removed. In those same planting holes they wanted a pink crape myrtle on one side and a white crape myrtle on the other side. Well, gag me with a backhoe. Could I really just do as the owner asked without trying to counsel them out of that bad idea? I don't think so. But if said owner can't see the light, dammit, I will plant a stinking pink crape myrtle on one side and a stinking white one on the opposite... and hope that my name is never mentioned in connection with them. It is duty that requires me give an extra effort in an attempt to keep people from making mistakes. (Again, ALL from a landscape perspective... which I keep repeating as I believe this mixed forum structural arrangement inherently invites disagreements.)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 1:05PM
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I do hope this thread doesn't become another line of ...debate (ahem). I have only posted a few times, but I've actually gotten valuable ideas/insight/reflection from the quick drawings of both Yardvaark and designonline6 (e.g., my "What would you keep?" post. I had never noticed until DO6's photo that there were no paths or points of natural entry into the front yard, since the deck stairs connect straight to the driveway. Must fix!) I won't follow either of their designs specifically, but I don't think either of them intend or expect me to do so. Perhaps those of us less well versed in the lexicon (ie., have no training whatsoever) need a picture to understand the point? Not sure.

It would be great if those giving comments would agree to let disagreements or perceived slights pass, so that threads don't devolve into petty tangents that shutting down the conversation the OP wanted to have. It might help keep OPs involved in the conversation a lot more! (Although of course they sometimes have and will disappear.)

The asymmetrical crape myrtles sound hideous. Shudder.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 3:38PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

OT: Yardvaark, if you can't talk those folks out of digging up the oaks, just send those trees along to me! :)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 4:50PM
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