'For what do we live ...

laag(z6CapeCod)May 7, 2009

"For what do we live but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn." Jane Austen

This is the photo story of an overgrown yew, a Sam Adams Lager, and a frustrated landscaper with a back injury, who read a few too many Dr.Suess books to his daughter, and a pair of pruners. ....for your amusement.

No, I'm not a Packers fan, but perhaps the previous owner was.

You ask for undyed mulch, you get ....

Aside from the window boxes, these are recycled on-site plants, so bear with me.

Thankfully, after six years, my back is pretty well pain free and I am starting to be able to do some things again. Yea! ... like get my own mulch and spread it!

I finally bought a few plants this year ....very few. But, hey, there year ain't over yet. Rome was not built in a day.

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holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

VERY nice! The entire bed is lovely, but I absolutely love the pruning job. Now I have a great idea when my yew outgrows its place. Thanks for sharing. :)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:13PM
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Wow, this is so inspiring! What a wonderful design. I wonder if i could do something similar with my California Lilac, which at the moment is just a sort of pseudo geometric block. It icks me out.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 11:50PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

A most excellent post, laag. This forum could use more like this, as it incites the imagination in some who might not have any idea how to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. They say it can't be done, but you have shown it can -- with some effort. Can you show us what became of the spot near the door from whence the yew was removed?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 11:17AM
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For some reason, this post does not "sound" like you, laag.
Maybe it's the laag-er....

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 1:32PM
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No its the real deal.

Rome was not built in day, and this is the spot where yew were .....or was. I'm physically ready to do the new walk and plant the front of the house (I hope that I believe that when I'm done). Right now time is my problem (full time @ engineer's office, LA business on the side, and a family on top of that .... like many of you). I'll try to keep you posted, but it is unlikely that it will happen very quickly.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 5:21PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yew looked okay at first, later it was over-thinned and made wobbly looking. Rocks etc. gathered around it not enhancing, more spare scene better. Japanese gardens don't usually have a bunch of little things gathered for a party either. Maybe how it works is the heavy pruning combined with busy planting is just too much going on.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 6:20PM
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Andrew, How did you remove the root ball? We pulled up three yews a few years ago and man! those root balls were tangled, evil messes. I can't imagine digging it up with the actual shrub still attached, and with the intent of replanting. How did you do it?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 6:36PM
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I like Suessville.
I like green eggs and ham too.
We have two yew blobbettes on either side of our similar looking Cape Cod cottage that could use a Suess job.
Will have to send along this photo to my siblings to see if they are into Suessing up our front entry.

thanks for the inspiration.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 6:49PM
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Its not Japanese and not well liked by everyone, but it is one of the things that I like to do. I've mentioned several times that I believe that gardens have a lifespan. This is one that needs to be controlled, transplanted, and replaced from time to time.

I did not intend for the yew to be quite that high, but I hand dug it and had the benefit of a friend's worker and skidsteer for literally only 5 minutes to move it after it was dug. It was a one shot deal.

The mulch bed is right up to the property line. The background plants are the neighbor's (Leyland hedge following the street, wide leyland just to the right of the seam in the pictures, white pine to the right of that, and emerald arb just behind the blooming PJM, flowering dogwood behind that). The choke cherry thicket is on the line and provides a great deal of privacy to my neighbor's corner lot from my street which I don't want to wreck. The yew could not go to the left end because the leylands would have absorbed it.

There is a Veridis Japanese Maple in that area that is also a transplant and just beginning to foliate. The bright green will show up against the leylands.

If there is anything to be gained from looking at these, whether you like or dislike, is to understand that the rocks make unity out of chaos and the excercise in playing contrasts off of one another (not letting one plant absorb another) is something to think about.

Another is to see if actually has focal points, or if one thing is countered by another so as to weaken any focal point. The philosophy, which is probably what some find disturbing, is to create as much chaos and then to mitigate it through the unifying strength of rocks and terrain. The idea is that the result is a very strong calming effect. When that happens, it creates a peaceful feeling. ... or you get overwhelmed by the chaos and you don't like it.

(now does it sound like me?)

The yew is my level of whimsy. It is as close to gnomes as I hope to go (the witch thingy in the older photo was given to my wife by an elderly friend, ....that was its last stop before the dump).

I seldom do rock gardens for other people because it does not float every boat, but I do like doing them for people who do like them. It is very hands on, so I have not been able to do much of it for several years. Hopefully, that is behind me so to speak.

Its not for everyone, and I don't have a problem with that. I get the same reaction whenever I show pictures of my rock gardens. You either love them or you hate them. There does not seem to be much of an in between. Hence the title of the thread.

Is the bird bath really the focal point in the last pic?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 8:00PM
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I hand dug the yew (and maple). I started by using an edging spade and cleanly cut straight down all around the plant at the ball size that I wanted (big enough to survive, light enough to move without it breaking under its own weight). The spade needs to go straight in and get pulled straight out without prying or yu'll compromise the ball.

Then I used a normal digging shovel to dig a trench outside of that cut line. Then cut with the edging spade at an angle in the bottom of the trench. Again, straight in, straight out (with lots of heavy kicking).

Whenever a bigger root is encountered that I can't cut with the spade, I clean around it and use a pair of lopers or pruning saw. After I cut as much as I can, I then push the trunk to see if it anywhere close to loose. Feel for resistance and try to isolate the location of the root to cut.

Reduce unnecessary weight by sculpting soil off the top of the ball until you start seeing roots.

Then start actually undermining the ball. You have to be careful not to have half the ball drop off under its weight. This is how you get access to roots under the middle of the plant in order to cut them. Clean cuts keep you from disturbing the ball. Eventually, its free. I was a bit surprised that there was not a huge root under the middle of this. I got it completely free.

I called a friend who had his guy stop by with a skidsteer on his way to a job. I wrapped his strap around the bottom of the trunk, hooked it to the bucket, he lifted it up drove it over, I spun it, he set it down and left - 5 minutes total. The ball stayed completely in tact (unlike the maple).

The ball was a bit big for the space which is why I had to go up so quickly with the rocks. It is really not too high so much as too high that close to the edge of the bed. I just did not want to shrink the lawn space between the yew and the proposed bed near the corner of the house (just out of the picture to the right). Then I shrank the yew by using bigger plants near it.

Some like to heavily water first.I don't. I want the ball somewhat light and don't want mud falling off of it. Once it is moved I water the pagezuz out of it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 9:12PM
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Okay let me see if I can summarize the points in my mind from this post and others.

Unity as an over-arching design principle can be achieved through;

Repition of continuous materials, such as a fence, arb. hedge, or wall. Does the mulch or a ground cover count in this case?

Repitition of dis-continuous materials, such as similar textured rocks or plant forms.

Maybe some others like elevation or isolation...

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 12:49PM
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saypoint(6b CT)

In the last photo, my eyes keep going back to the birdbath because of the arc of the flat stones on the ground and probably also due to the fact that it's the only (obviously) man-made item in the composition.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 5:35PM
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The bird bath and the 8,000 pound gorilla that used to be the focal point.

I would argue that in the picture above, the patio, or really the trick the patio plays, is the focal point. My belief is that your subconscious puts yourself on the patio which happens to be in front of the bird bath. I think it is a very powerful often unnoticed trick which was very intentional in this project. Think about it when you look at other "focal points" in other compositions that have some type of pavement. It may be more common than we notice.

They thought I was nuts when I wanted to put a patio on the house side of the driveway circle. OK, they were right, but it no longer looks like a a driveway circle with a big rock in the middle.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 10:12PM
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Unity is a tough one to make a list for because it is not so much the items or materials so much as what they are doing. Everything is influenced by what is around it and everything influences what is around it.

Another very strong influence on unity is subconscious association in my opinion. The rocks color and texture has much less to do with the unity than does their sense of permanence and the strength of mass. Our minds know that these are heavy and are not going anywhere. When you have rocks holding together topography, you have combined both into an even heavier mass. The plants become light weights in their ability to fragment the composition. That is all psychological.

That much unity creates opportunity to get away with things that usually fragment a composition - like a complete hodge-podge of form, color, and texture which in turn creates more opportunity - not the least of which is adding depth by layering highly contrasting plants over one another. ... and who can't resist throwing in lots of color to boot?

Green looks greener when next to something that is not green as does blue, or yellow, or red, ....

All of the contrast is pushing and pulling the composition apart, but not enough to overcome that unity.

And you have to be aware of what the unity is uniting. Someone asked if mulch created unity. It does, but you have to look and see if it is unifying the composition or just the spaces in it. Sometimes it is on our team and sometimes it is on the other team.

You can get unity in other ways too. Think about planting along the front of a house. We see this all of the time. Sometimes we see so much unity that they are boring. Other times we see someone trying to live on the edge and it is a hodge-podge. But, if you build the base planting with strong unity, you can get away with adding the funky without blowing it up. Look for the hidden or masked unity when you see a funky planting that works. Typically we only notice the funk without seeing the part that holds it together. Subtle does not get noticed so often.

I have attached an anology for fun, but the message is the same.

Here is a link that might be useful: Basic Funk Formula

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 10:57PM
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Wow a lot of interesting observations to absorb!

The little grass dimple from the road to house view of the turning circle planting bed drew me into the center of it. Mainly for the same reason described for the house to road view, it's space which is allowable to enter.

As for the rocks, my impression of them is of an anthropogenic object of a natural origin (because they could only have gotten there by human placement), so they provide the creature social-comfort of an anthropogenic object and the connection to nature to blend into the landscape.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 2:24PM
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I cropped the pictures a bit too close to show it, but this is all driveway (no road) that ends with a perfect 36' diameter circular island directly in front of the house which is what this garden sits in.

The grass was used in order to make the planting bed have a shape of its own rather than be a slave to the circle. Basically, I did not want the garden to be a circle, but I did want the driveway to remain being a circle. But, if the lawn encircles the entire bed it strengthens the circle again. The bed had to break up the grass by touching the edge of the driveway and the grass had to have a strong enough shap of its own not to look like a mimic of either the bed or the driveway (the reason for the deep lawn bay in the middle of the front).

Another thing is that if the planting is heavy in the middle it strengthens the circle again. That is why it is higher and wider away from the middle and the plants are sparser and lower toward the middle. Still another major issue is to frame the view of the front door as you approach the circle upon arriving.

Also notice the tall clump birch in the background in the lawn nearer to the house (there is another out of the picture). These work to set up sort of a middle ground that makes a space for the circular driveway and all of its contents to sit within. That will take a few years to develop.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 7:19PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I'm getting a feeling of 'the shoemaker's children go barefoot' :-) i.e. it sounds like your clients' gardens get more thought than perhaps your own does...? Do the same analysis for us on the bed from your garden...

You've posted that picture of the house and garden before and I always have trouble focusing on the garden because the house annoys me! The top and bottom of the house don't look like they belong together. The second storey has a gable roof and no overhang; the ground floor has a hip roof whose wide overhang makes the verandah roof. To add to the problem, the pitch is different for the two roofs. Nothing annoys me more than two clearly visible, competing roof styles on the same house! When we renovated here and did a significant addition, my obsession with roof lines played a big part - in order to get them 'right', we completely removed the roof from the original house and replaced it with one roof that covers both new and old sections of the house and, not incidentally, provided front and back roofed porches as an integral part of the house.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 8:17PM
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Thanks woodyoak for explaining why the house always bothered me. I thought it was all the columns and those windows but I now see it's the roof!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 10:05PM
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I'm in the camp that does not find the redeeming quality in the stone patio or the birdbath.
It looks contrived to my eye and my emotional response is ' it looks out of place and has no relationship to the architecture.
Pure artifice empty of relationship.
Sorry for the blunt response, but I know you can take it for what it is worth.

I know this area of the country well. I grew up there and still have a family home on the Cape.
The cast concrete bird bath is an iconic contextual applique in a Cape Cod garden, but here it is out of place and out of scale due to the whale bone rock.
It just looks silly in a Fredericks of Hollywood kind of way.
The stone patio further weakens what was once a well proportioned naturalistic styled garden by trying to make it a suburban patio / sitting area, albeit in the middle of a driveway turn about, with a silly little bird bath.

If I had a hand in the design I would take out the patio and the birdbath.
Return the garden to a emotional response rather than a literal reaction buy using a naturalistic native hand void of man made artifice.

But the Dr. Suess shrub in the first set of photos ... LOVE that !!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 12:45AM
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(the grayish house is my neighbor's, mine is the white, formerly yellow house. Difinitely a barefoot cobbler for reasons that I won't go into)

No problem with blunt, Deviant. I will add that I did not have much choice in the bird bath, or bench. The whole thing is a pretty contrived site as a big circle in a field of broken blue granite (they want to change that pre-existing material). I'm not sure that removing the patio would reduce that.

Another reason that I used it was that the circle is not centered on the front walk. It looked really odd before the garden because as you left the house you were aimed in between the garage and the center of the circle. My thought was that I could make that a lot less noticeable by making the walk aim at something else - I basically put the patio in its way.

As for "Cape Cod", not for this client. I did have a seaside "Cape Cod" design ready to go, but they wanted to go in a different direction, so I went in this direction.

I agree that this is a "different" approach and certainly not what I typically do. The reason for posting is that there are a lot of stuff going on, whether self inflicted or not, which gives us a lot to talk about.

Maybe a wider view will tell more.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 7:33AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

This home has a definite problem with roofs! Note that the garage has a gable roof + a shed roof and the pitch for those two is different from each other as well as different from that of the roofs on the main house! UGH! As someone in the architeual business once said (I can't remember who...), shed roofs belong on sheds. I doubt that these people think of their house as a shed, so why do they have a shed roof in prominent view?!

(Sorry, all that is off the topic of garden design but there are certainly common design issues being badly violated in that house! Unity anyone....?)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 8:26AM
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The house is just a typical colonial with a somewhat larger and wrap-around farmer's porch. A shed roof for the garage is somewhat interesting, but in keeping with the region where growing extended families would require additions.

The path on the island definetly makes you want to walk to the center of the traffic circle. I almost want to see stepping stones across the granite.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:44AM
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Lovely composition! I've been adding low stone wall accents, rocks and boulders to my landscape, (grey - PA fieldstone)and love how it calms the landscape down. I prefer high contrasts in color and texture in my plants as well and for whatever reason? rocks seem to mellow the composition out. My goal for the summer is to create a dry river bed area on the side of my yard which is very narrow and has a high degree of run-off when it rains. The only problem is living in a suburban neighborhood and no one else uses rocks in their yards, and then there's my house. It may seem that my rocks look contrived because no one is using rocks as part of their landscape, but other than that, I think the rocks give a timeless look.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:59AM
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Thank you Laag for the thread and your presentation/insight. It has been quite helpful to me in improving my knowledge and thought process.
After looking at the pictures, I would have liked the Suessyew pompom bottoms to be more level and one or two at different elevations.
For the circle, I thought that the bench was sorely missing in the first photo and makes a huge improvement in the later ones. I hope that the japanese maple gets to 20+ feet high. I don't understand what the columnar evergreen (left side on later photos) adds to the composition. The house entrance could be framed on approach by the JM and clump birch. Would the area be out of balance if it were gone?
Thanks again

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 10:31AM
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Why don't they move the birdbath? It seems totally out of place before and after the pathway.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 11:28AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

rhodium - I'm from the east coast of Canada originally and the traditional architecture is not that different from New England. My point is someone obviously spent a lot of money on that place and it surprises me that they didn't do simple things, like use consistent roof lines, to make the place 'hang together'. I'm guessing from the misalignment of the path/driveway and the diverse rooflines, that various parts must have been built by various people at different times and no one was paying attention to the details that would have made it look more coherent. Take the garage - a gable roof on the 'shed' that has the same pitch as the second storey roof would make a lott more sense - but then there would still be the difference between it and the main house roof... It would have been so simple to keep the garage, shed and house roofs all gable with the same pitch and overhangs. If the wrap-around porch had the same pitch as the upper roof as well, that would have made it look unified. Instead you have 4 roofswith 4 different pitches and 3 different styles.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 12:05PM
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They bought the house with the driveway, garage and porch. I'm already uncomfortable posting this many pictures of their property, but if you could see the larger setting, you'd be content in a dog house on this site. I know that I would be.

Aside from hiring me for some landscape design, these people have very good taste and could out do a lot of professional decorators in my opinion.

I'd prefer that the critique remains on the gardens and not the houses or the people in them. Next time someone complains about why the professional designers don't post pictures I'll link this thread.

I'm fair game, but I will yank these pictures of other's homes because it has gotton to be an infringement on them.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:09PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Sorry... I'm as fascinated by houses as gardens and am always looking at what makes one better than another from a design point of view. And rooflines is a big part of that from I have observed. All the design issues - unity especially - that were covered in the course I took seem to apply equally to houses. While you posted those pictures to talk about the garden, I thought the general design issues with respect to the house were more obvious. You see as many houses with design issues as gardens, especially renovated houses. I always wonder why people seem willing to pay big money to renovate or build a house but often seem to overlook obvious things that affect longterm market value. And that's a more important issue for the house than the garden.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:50PM
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Sorry I missed the panoramic view photos.
They probably would have helped in my evolving viewpoint and understanding of the landscape project but I totally understand and agree with your position to remove the photos.

Thanks for bringing this design topic up to the forum.
It was greatly appreciated and definitely educational.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:55PM
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Sorry I missed the other pictures - but I did appreciate a chance to see your own garden, Andrew. I have a hard time believing that yew became the Seussian version! Makes me wonder what I could do with my own yew hedge, although I'm not sure I want to tackle it right now. I do like the big rocks - I especially like big rocks with evergreens, in general. Alas, I don't have a good source of large rocks, nor the ability to move them, so I will have to admire them in other people's gardens.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 2:48PM
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More to the point, Laag, is the important fact that we as designers arrive at a property for an initial consultation and quickly note the 'problems' which it will be necessary to design around. How many times have you said to yourself, "I wish I was called in earlier before the builder installed the driveway/sidewalk/garage/patio/deck or whatever". Budget minded customers are not interested in expending multiple dollars redoing what we might consider to be artistically inaccurate. Sometimes we just have to design around the flaws as you did encompassing one hunk of a glacial erratic and a birdbath. I suspect your client is very pleased with the design.

Let me return for a moment to your thought about adding 'funk' to garden design. As I was viewing the film clip you posted DH was at the piano practicing, heard it and immediately adapted the rhythm patterns to the jazz tune he was playing. "That's funk", he announced and he had no idea what I was looking at. Rhythm patterns are important to design along with a number of other parts to the whole. Much of it is learned by observation and experience. Yet for many rhythm is a natural talent.

Last month I had the unusual opportunity to visit a mult-million dollar landscaping project which I am not allowed to photograph or discuss. It is a very private endeavor which will only be seen by very few. This is sad for the talented craftsmen, masons, horticulturists and arborists employed on this job deserve awards for their work. Walking the expansive property, accompanied by peacocks, I kept wishing you all could be there. You would have been overwhelmed, as I was. Michelle, I think, would have agreed with me that for all the owner was trying to design, it was missing the element of funk. Mich, your hands would have been itching, as mine were, to get in there and add some 'humor' to the design.

Enough rambling...

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 3:02PM
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One of the things I like about the circle planting is that it looks good from a distance. It of course has a lot to do with the strength of the stones--but also the shrubs themselves. The slight separation of each shrub adds to that.

I have a street corner planting that is mostly a hodgepodge, but I have been trying to work it toward a stronger format. It would be nice for it to look good from the street, but mostly I want to look at it from an inside window or while walking through the yard and be "pleased".

Because it's my most sunny area, I experimented with sunny perennials that I hadn't been as successful with elsewhere, and so tended to focus on color or light-reflecting qualities, plus some conifers that had stronger forms. It would be better if I could berm it up to display better.
In general I thought I would be happy as things grew and expanded to cover the ground area. But, as things have grown and gotten a little more blended together and amorphous, I compare it to the driveway circle shown here and think, this would be a planting that would benefit from more breathing room between shrubs and maybe even drifts, so that their "forms" would be more of an element.

Does that make sense?

Also, I have some largish rocks in the mix, but if I got bolder as a consumer, it is not hard to purchase BIG rocks here--I just have tended to use ones I can roll or lift, or on occasion deploy DH, and not taken the plunge to have some professionally installed, so naturally none of my rocks are really humongous design statements.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 4:35PM
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I think that is a very good observation. All of the rock gardens that I posted need to be pruned yearly or they'd get out of control. They do have a shorter lifespan before you have to make some changes.

I definitely try to lighten up areas in terms of density of plants. In my own little rock garden, you can see that there is a "quiet area" between the mounds that has no rocks, low terrain, and only enough plants to tie it together.

Remember "The Magic of Oil Painting" on PBS with William Alexander? He used to say "you have to have dark in order to have light". I think that applies to just about anything.

Everything we do is a compromise Whether it is what grows in what condition, budget, architecture, existing conditions, client taste, .... sometimes you have more control and sometimes you have less, but you never have full control. Figuring out how long is the leash is a big part of it. Then moving up the client ladder to longer and longer leashes (I'm butchering this spelling) is what we strive for.

No hard feelings for those that commented on the house. Please understand that it would be a very bad situation if a homeowner got upset about it. These are pretty recognizable and some people have a lot of friends. That is why I removed the pictures. There is a certain amount of discomfort posting pictures of other people's houses without discussion about their taste or judgement. I just did not think it was fair of me to subject them to that, so I took them down.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 7:58PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I understand that laag; it's probably best to take the pictures down in any case for the reasons you state. I just couldn't resist commenting on the house. I'm sure it's a very nice house but the roofline issue is one of my 'hot buttons' :-) One of my fantasies is to build a house - and garden - from scratch instead of renovating an existing property like we did here. I have a long mental list of do's and don'ts and getting the roof right is high on the list because I've seen so many houses where that makes such an impact when the roof is 'wrong'. We spent a fair chunk of change to avoid the worst of the problems when we renovated this place. (Funny story - DH thought I meant new shingles when I told him the house would get a new roof as part of the renovation... He just about had a heart attack the day he came home and found the old roof totally gone!) I 'infected' a neighbour with my obsession when I pointed out how much nicer their house would be if the if the hip roof on the older part of the house was changed to a gable to match the newer garage. About a year later they actually changed the roof as part of some other renovation work, because once they saw the problem it 'bugged' them until they fixed it! The house, a nice one that they've done a lot of work on, looks much more coherent and they are very pleased with the change. I'm just a single-minded obsessive about some things :-) I can be very annoying at times I know!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 8:22PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Woodyoak, thank you for mentioning your obsession with consistent rooflines. I share it -- and you're the first person I've heard of who understands how I feel.

Luckily I bought a simple rectangular house with a single roof pitch: a bit on the boring side, but not cringe-making. [Now if only it were suitable for solar panels....]

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:14PM
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Too bad about the pictures, maybe if the roofs were censored they could stay? I never knew there was such a thing as a roof fetish out there!

I thought the circle planting was great, and I found it quite inspirational. I even stole, with attribution, an idea from it to break up the rectangular geometric shape of my roadside planting bed. The idea of inviting participation via a path and bench into what was before a sterile and unwelcoming environment seems pretty funky to me. Without the path and bench one might be inclined to simply view it from afar. Now they get a chance to stroll over and touch the rocks and pick conifer needles to smell the rosin.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 10:35PM
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I don't have a problem with the roof comments. It is just that I put the homeowner in the position for the critique which is not fair of me. Nobody else is out of line at all.

The difficulty in posting pictures of our work is not what comments are made, but the fact that we open someone else's home and privacy up. That is not a good thing for us to do.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 7:12AM
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I remember when.....

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 5:59PM
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... when what?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 7:30PM
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The forum has been a bit slow so I thought I would bump up an interesting thread from the past, after your response Andrew I will let sleeping dogs lie. Merry Christmas.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 8:21AM
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Merry Christmas, Tony. No reason to let dogs sleep. I'm just trying to know what to follow up on. I hope all is well with you.

Here is the house in the pictures that were deleted. I don't think the homeowner will object as it was published.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 10:55AM
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Thanks for posting that picture Laag!! I was reading this thread last night and wishing I'd been here sooner to see what all that roof line fuss was about.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong or bad about them not matching. It reminds me of some older prairie or ranch homes built back in the 1800's to the early 1900's.
Who doesn't love wrap around porches?
There's lots of older homes in Texas that have roof lines like that and I've seen log homes built like that too.

I think the rocks and shrubs look fine.
I'm more into flowers and less about bushes, but for those who need/want low maintenance hands off garden beds it looks like you created that for them.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 2:15PM
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All is well over here Andrew, thanks for asking. I did a thing with Wellspring (a beautiful spirit)on another thread and I had a nostalgia moment. I remembered when there used to be a sense of community, unfortunately this was attacked as us being a clique so one by one people dropped away. Now the forum is a question and answer thing that I don't feel much connection to. Back in the day Iron Belly would say something like: 5 gardeners 5 different opinions and you would do what you have done above. I miss it but I have a life too.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 6:11PM
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That garden is far from low maintenance. It is like a lot of Asian inspired gardens that must be kept from out growing themselves by vigilance. They only appear to be low maintenance. Then people talk about how wonderful they are because they are designed to last centuries. The truth is that many things can last centuries with the right amount of maintenance. It really is not a lot of maintenance so much as consistent maintenance. It is one of two gardens that I partially maintain.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 11:53AM
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Its low maintenance compared to the garden beds I try to plant and maintain! :)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 12:15PM
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Got it!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 3:22PM
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