When Does Simple Design become Boring?
So I sat here for about 15 minutes trying to come up with a title for this post (still not sure I got it right). In other words, I'm confused about what I'm confused about. :o)
We rebuilt a house ground up and need to redo the landscaping. I thought of doing a lot of DIY stuff, but the more I look into it, the more it seems I need professionals with the right equipment, and I do not feel qualified to get the design right.
I met with a designer/installer who has been in the business for 55 years and strikes me as extremely professional and more than qualified. Based on his description of their other jobs, he does a lot of high end work for money-no-object type people. Example - One of his clients had someone plant $12,000 worth of ivy (yes, just ivy), which was eaten by deer in 3 days. He took on the job and planted ferns. I haven't seen their work in real life, but they do have some beautiful pics on their website. Anyway, his daughter lives in my neighborhood and I asked him to look at our property and see what he recommends. Turns out he's interested in the job (1/3 acre total property), so I guess everybody needs work.
Now, over the last year or so I've had ideas in my head about what plants/grasses I liked and the fact that in my area I don't see really any landscapes that I like. The plants are either growing poorly or are just boring. So here are some concepts I'm learning from this designer (hopefully I'm paraphrasing correctly):
- If you have a beautiful house, don't allow the landscaping to compete with the house. Complement the house.
- Use large areas of the same or similar plant rather than using many different plant types.
- Don't plant gardens in the front of the house - keep it simple in front (again, if the house shows well) and use the back yard for gardens/ponds and so on if that's what you like.
- When implementing a design, don't try to do everything at once - it gets too complicated and expensive. Take a couple of seasons and do things at the right time of year.
So he did a preliminary design, and gave me prices for irrigation, regrading/ cleaning up of the entire site, and for installation of his initial design. I guess what worries me is this idea of simplicity. For the front yard and up against the front porch he's got 16 gold coast junipers that will complement the house color, 6 2.5' boxwoods, one 6' holly, one deer proof arborvitae. In the back he's putting a bunch of trees in, but that's another story.
So I've got a neighbor who is a landscaper and just redid his own property. I have to say it doesn't look half bad but my designer absolutely hates it. I asked why, and he said just too much going on - like a bunch of M&M's scattered about. This leaves me wondering if I just don't know enough about landscape design or if he just has a very simple, plain esthetic that may be neither right nor wrong. I'm all for the "less is more" outlook, but only if it pans out when it's done.
I believe this gentleman knows tasteful design, but before I trust him with my yard I'm trying to learn more about "correct" design vs just one man's opinion. I'm not sure I even asked a question in this post, but any comments are very much appreciated.