To the pros and knowledgeable responders

violetwestJuly 15, 2014

(of which I am not one). I feel your pain.

Why don't you ask GW to make a "sticky"? I know it's possible -- the Kitchens forum has one. Something like, "Need Help? Start here." It could have . . .

1) Show us your property/start by taking a picture (instructions)

2) Tell us what area of the country/world you are in/what zone

3) Tell us what you plan to use the space for

4) Tell us what specific problems or challenges your site has that need addressing (privacy, shade, aesthetics, drainage)

something like that. I know it probably won't make a difference, because people can be lazy and just want to be told what to do, but at least it would be a start, and you could point people to it when they don't provide enough info.

Yeah, this is meddling but I can never keep my big mouth shut. Just a suggestion.

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Your suggestion is a good one and I completely agree with you. It would be nice if the average help-seeker would show up with their ducks in a row... especially with decent pictures. I will contact GW admin. and see if it is possible.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 2:21PM
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perhaps with a special "drainage" section, since that seems to be a common problem

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:09PM
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I don't understand the purpose of the sticky. Please elaborate.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:21PM
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to help people think about their needs, ask better questions, and get better responses. To give responders a better idea of the property and the goals of the poster.

A long shot, I know.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:31PM
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It would be a way to communicate those same things that are said over and over and over again without needing for someone to write it all over again ... each time.

One of my personal frustrations is the inferior pictures people provide. It is as if someone wanted to remodel a room so they show you a picture of 3' of their baseboard and ask "what are my options?" ...??? The basic concept of showing a space so that it is understood is grasped by very, very few.

Someone from GardenWeb replied, cryptically, to my initial query. I think they want a "sticky" in the form of an FAQ.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 6:56PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

It would be helpful to have a sticky, but who is going to read it? People who post here need help. They may not read a sticky. They desperately post a photo. They have a cell phone camera. They do their best.

I'm guilty, but THERE IS NO WAY I could post a photo that encompasses my last resolved problem. I got flack, which was hurtful, for posting 9 photos that nobody could connect.

Please understand, this is a garden web forum. NOT some design forum. People come here for help, not criticism of their photos.

I know it would be nice, in a perfect world to have a perfect photo, but a cell phone won't do that, and if they could afford a pro photo, they could afford a pro landscaper. Capece?


    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:26PM
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Suzi, I'm afraid I must disagree with you. For the most part, cell phone cameras are very good. The camera is not the problem. It is 95% with the photographer and how they set up the shot (or shots.) Saying you "got flack and it was hurtful" makes me think that if it only takes a request for better pictures to hurt you, you are a little too thin skinned to be asking for advice on a public forum. Instead of rationalizing why better photos couldn't be provided, it would be better to learn how to take them. Now, after seeing several views of your project in a couple of threads, I have no doubt at all that pictures could be taken that make the lay of the land (around your house anyway) easily comprehensible to everyone ... in less than 9 shots.There IS a way you could post a few photos that encompass your last project so that everyone will grasp how the property fits together.

This forum is officially called the "Landscape Design Forum" so why you say it is "NOT some design forum." ... stumps me.

Everyone doesn't read everything they're supposed to read. But if some or most people read how they could significantly improve their chances of getting help, then that is better than no one having the opportunity to read, or the help-givers needing to tell everyone individually. Could a case be made showing that FAQ's for the Forum would be somehow harmful to it? I don't think it could.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 8:06PM
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Well, after perusing this forum for quite some time, I see a need. It can't hurt, and it may help. Isn't that what the forum is for?

Here's a link to the Kitchen Forum's "start here/read me""

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen forum sticky

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:18PM
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It would be nice if they also included the direction the home or area they need help with faces (its exposure).

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:03PM
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I'm not sure we have a "FAQ" though. Questions, yes - standard answers, no.

YV, did you get the impression that if a post was created that was suitable for this forum, GW would sticky it, or no?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:58AM
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I had a more in-depth reply earlier, but must have forgot to push "submit". Uuugh.

They will create FAQ but want consensus. Not sure how they determine it has been achieved.

I think we don't have FAQ but could discuss here what is needed in it. Then create threads that will be linked. That seems how the kitchen FAQ is done. I volunteer to create thread for how to take meaningful photos. (But not this week.)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 2:51PM
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Consensus is kinda hard, but I'd be willing to work with you to come up with something to submit. I have changed my profile to allow for emails if you want.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:25PM
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I think if it were limited in scope as to the kind of information a prospective responder would need in order to provide something reasonably helpful might be best... zone, rough geographical location, orientation, most helpful position for photographs, etc.

There isn't much that would dissuade many a poster from believing his/her situation isn't somehow unique and, therefore, doesn't recognize the similarities from thread to thread.

People are extremely generous with their time and information, but any obligation to reply is self imposed.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 4:05PM
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I've been lurking here for years, and I think a sticky would be good. Reading several threads entirely will give the same information, but that does require that the poster first read through other people's problems. (Something that's fascinating to me, but presumably not to everyone.)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:19AM
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haven't forgotten about this . . . will try to work something up this weekend for comments

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 1:34PM
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Edit: I was previously asking that discussion of a new thread I created about taking photographs, take place here rather than clutter up that thread. After counseling with myself, I realized that the request was likely to complicate matters and ultimately wouldn't make any difference. Therefore, I am withdrawing that request herewith and think that discussing that thread -- in that thread -- is fine. Hope that is clear in spite of my best attempt to muddy it up. :-)

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Sun, Aug 3, 14 at 13:19

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 11:59AM
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That post was so long that I only read the top at first and meant to go back to finish it later. I am glad you rethought it. It is helpful that you define what landscaping actually is since I observe that many people are uninformed. I was one of the uninformed at one time.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 4:17PM
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The only critique I have at this juncture - and it's meant to be positive - I'd tweak the title a bit. "Taking meaningful photographs" misses the thrust of what responders would be after in offering any problem solving regarding a poster's landscaping.
I.e.Taking relevant photographs of your landscaping issues.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 4:44PM
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Duluth, I like the word "relevant" and the phrase "landscaping issues." I think the title will become finely-tuned after the writing and linking organization is figured out. (I'm muddling through this based on other FAQs.) Not exactly sure what you mean by "...what responders would be after" and how it "misses" that.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:27PM
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Well, let me turn this around... what are YOU after when your initial response to a posed situation is very often a request for more photos from different and/or more comprehensive angles? A title is the grabber and any following "tutorial" lays it out.

It struck me (and probably everyone else) that without relating a posted photo to the bigger picture, to a submitter, a meaningful photograph could be anything from the family pet that invariably ends up in the shot or the empty sea of mulch... which leads anyone wishing to participate to want context.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:14PM
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Most definitely the problem with pictures people submit is that they are of foliage, dirt, a piece of fence, a puddle or 50 square feet of house face ... when what is needed is pictures that show the extents and totality of space (context) so that it is comprehensible to those who will never have the opportunity to see it in person. I think this tendency to show "things" instead of "space" is directly linked to the difference between "landscaping" and "gardening." Landscaping is about creating outdoor space. Gardening is primarily about having and cultivating plants. The average person thinks that gardening IS landscaping ... "I'm landscaping my front yard. What should I plant in this hole?" (picture of hole included!!!)

Whether the best word to describe what is needed is "meaningful," "relevant," or "pertinent" (just thought of) I agree that the title should best summarize it.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:08AM
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Would it be possible to post a link to a "good" request with pictures? Either a real one that the pros think explains/shows the questions clearly or a mocked up on.
I'm the type of person that can follow an example really well!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:15PM
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While I have seen a light sprinkle of decent photos over a fair length of time, they are, as a rule, the exception. I have never seen an offering of photos that I would consider good and complete so there is no benchmark example to point you toward. If you're asking because you're looking for help and want to create a thread, I would just do the best you can and not worry about it. We can always ask for what's missing.

Without digging too deeply, the recent thread linked below is a pretty decent example of photo-taking. It has a panned sequence of the house, but the third photo is missing (because it was too embarrassing of a mess to show publicly!) The photos were taken at a distance (which is fine) but it necessitated closer in shots be taken of the same area in order that detail can be seen. Because the drive is long, the OP included a sequence of photos that nicely convey the entry experience.

If you include in your photos some extra space at each end of the house, avoid dark shadows and be in focus, you'll be doing as well as anyone.

Here is a link that might be useful: decent example of photos

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:54PM
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