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Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Posted by gwannouncements (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 7, 10 at 21:48

We are looking for someone to help create an FAQ for this forum. While compiling information should be a group effort, one person would be charged with pulling it together into useful FAQs. This could mean a new document OR just pointing to helpful posts that are already on the forum. A good example of a helpful FAQ can be found here:Winter Sowing FAQ.
If you have a desire to make this forum even better, have good writing skills and work well with others, please reply to this thread or send us an email --Letters to Garden Web.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Anyone going to volunteer for this? I'd work with someone, though I don't have a lot of time right now (trying to save the non-profit senior's home my MIL is in, so in a bit of a crunch!).

KarinL


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Maybe we could start by listing here what the questions would be, or how certain types of questions are best formulated?

For example: How do improve my home's curb appeal?

Adjust to: what are the elements of curb appeal?

KarinL


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

First question should be:

What is landscape design? How does it differ from creating curb appeal or foundation plantings?

Ok, that was two questions, but they're related.


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Well, I guess the task is to put together a series of questions and answers, so any of us can contribute either one. Or a matched set of Q and A.

I'll take a shot at answering your question, though my answer is very DIY and not politically correct. For me, a huge part of design is personality - every space presented will have dozens of options that would work, and while one homeowner will choose one that is right for them, the person they sell their house to may have completely different preferences. In some cases there are objective constraints and needs presented by the space itself that every consecutive owner will experience, for privacy, for access, for view, for shade, etc, but a great deal often depends on the preferences of the owner as well as their budget, their interest in maintenance, and their ability to do physical work. That is why presenting a picture of your home and asking for input will not generally get many responses. Unless you have a specific problem to solve, it is your personality and lifestyle, and not the characteristics of the space, that will primarily determine good design options.

Actually, here's one at the opposite end of the pragmatism - beauty continuum: What is the best landscaping to have next to a driveway?

KarinL


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Thanks, Karin. I though that particular question should be first so that new people who took the time to read the FAQ would understand what this group considers appropriate and worthwhile topics of discussion.

I looked up the wikipedia entry for "landscape design". Maybe something similar to this, but shorter and less academic sounding, can be included in the answer:



Design scope

Landscape design focuses on both the integrated master landscape planning of a property and the specific garden design of landscape elements and plants within it. The practical, aesthetic, horticultural, and environmental sustainability components merit Landscape design inclusion. Landscape designers often collaborate with related disciplines such as architecture and geography, soils and civil engineering, surveying, landscape contracting, botany, and artisan specialties. Design project focus can tend towards: in landscape design - artistic composition and artisanship, horticultural finesse and expertise, and a detailed site involvement emphasis from concepts through construction; whereas in landscape architecture - focus of urban planning, city and regional parks, civic and corporate landscapes, large scale interdisciplinary projects, and delegation to contractors after completing designs. There can be significant overlap of talents and skills, depending on the education, licensing, and experience of the professional.

Design approach
Factors in designing include objective qualities; such as the climate and microclimates; topography and orientation, site drainage and groundwater recharge; municipal and resource building codes, soils and irrigation, human and vehicular access and circulation, recreational amenities (ie: sports and water), furnishings and lighting, native plant habitat botany when present, property safety and security, construction detailing, and other measurable considerations. Factors in designing also include subjective qualities such as: genius loci (the special site qualities to emphasize); client's needs and preferences; desirable plants and elements to retain on site, modify, or replace, and available to use as borrowed scenery from beyond; artistic composition from perspectives of both looking upon and being in the *gardens; spatial development and definition; plant palettes in designed layouts, and artistic focal points for enjoyment. There are innumerable other design factors and considerations brought to the complex process of designing a garden that is beautiful, well functioning, and thrives over time.


Give me a day or two, and I'll try to come up with something along these lines that could be considered. Of course, anyone is welcome to try to beat me to it. :)


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

  • Posted by natal Louisiana 8b (My Page) on
    Tue, May 10, 11 at 19:27

Has anyone paid attention to the date of this thread? They were widely posted on the gardening side of GW last fall and left to die a slow death.

Some clever person added this to one on another forum.


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Yes, I'm sure we all know - me, I belong to the better late than never club.

And him I could have lived without, thank you. Any chance you can delete the root file so he doesn't show up anymore? Since we are trying to get a start here, surely we don't deserve to be punished.

And maybe we need to come up with a FAQ to address foundation planting vs. landscaping. That definition, AD, is so long I can't even read through it! At least, at the moment with a bothersome eye infection I can't.

Karin


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Yes, I know it's long, Karin. I will condense it, but time is hard to come by during my work week. The gist of it is that landscape design takes in the whole of the landscape and includes many disiplines and objectives, as opposed to focusing on one area.

Another proposed question: What is this forum here to help me with?

(I mean the reader in general, not me personally.)


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

  • Posted by natal Louisiana 8b (My Page) on
    Wed, May 11, 11 at 12:15

FYI ... a forum that desperately could benefit from a FAQ is the Kitchen forum. Some of the posters finally took matters into their own hands and created separate sites with pertinent info. They keep a special thread with all of that info on page one ... with constant bumping. You would think Garden Web would have jumped at the opportunity to use someone else's research, but they didn't. Just keep that in mind as you compile your own.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen forum


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Here is my suggestion for the definition. I'll defer to the members who have been posting here on a regular basis for longer than I have if there are comments, complaints, and/or errors.

What is Landscape Design?

Landscape design is the creation of a plan for an entire property. A good designer examines every aspect of a property's outdoor use and appearance, and determines appropriate details to be implemented. Implementation can take place as soon as the design is complete, or over a period of time. Sometimes unforseen events or circumstances may require or result in a design change, either before, during, or after implementation.

Landscape design differs from foundation planting design or bed design in that takes the whole property, and, in some cases surrounding properties, into consideration, rather than one view from limited locations. Aspects of the property that are considered by a landscape designer include the following, as well as numerous others:

Areas for various activities
Climate and site drainage
Soil types and plant preferences
Rules and requirements by authorities (HOAs and government)
Circulation for both people and cars
Approach to the property and to the doors
Time to be spent on maintenance and physical abilities
Aesthetics (accentuating good views, minimizing bad views)
The effects of time on the plants and furnishings
Budget

A huge part of design is personality - every space presented will have dozens of options that would work, and while one homeowner will choose one that is right for them, the person they sell their house to may have completely different preferences. In some cases there are objective constraints and needs presented by the space itself that every consecutive owner will experience, for privacy, for access, for view, for shade, etc, but a great deal often depends on the preferences of the owner as well as their budget, their interest in maintenance, and their ability to do physical work.

Some designs may never be fully implemented, and may become more of a hobby or a life's work than a project with a final completion. Some designs will be fully implemented, but due to the changes brought about by time and the changing seasons, they will never present a completely static image.

The final result of good landscape design is a cohesive space, which is pleasing to the senses and pleasant to spend time in, while at the same time, allowing for good function for the physical requirements of the site and the preferred activities of the inhabitants.


Other possible questions:
How can this forum help me with my landscape design?
What are the elements of curb appeal?
What is the best landscaping to have next to a driveway?

Hopefully, Karin, other regular LD participants will jump in with suggestions and it won't be up to just you and I (and our visitor from the kitchen forum). We could start another thread for this, if the photo of "natal" bothers you too much - it is certainly an unpleasant thing to see as we revisit this thread. :)

I hope your eye infection will clear up soon.


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Very good, for those who have the patience, but I don't get the impression a lot of our OPs would. But it would be good to have a description to refer them to.

I like the type of question like "How can this forum help me with my landscape?" Notice I left off the word "design" in this case. I almost think we need something snarky, too, like "what am I trying to avoid doing by posting here?"

The answer to the latter would be... If you are trying to avoid (a) going to your local nursery and looking at plants, (b) getting some landscaping books or magazines to look at ideas, and (c) thinking for yourself because you don't have time, then this forum will not help you. We will simply tell you to do those things. If you have done them and are still stuck, then posting a question is the right thing to do.

Maybe the key question would be "what am I trying to achieve with my landscaping?" Actually I'm not wording that right for a FAQ format, but whatever. Answer: if you are trying to create a landscape that just looks like all your neighbours so you fit in, then we can probably not help you. Well, maybe we could but we might die of boredom :-) If there is something about your property or your needs that makes it hard to do normal, we can probably help you with that, or if you want something other than normal. But if we see one more question that just asks how to do a garden-variety foundation planting around an average house, blank slate or not, we will likely just scream! Give us your objectives, and tell us what is preventing you from achieving them.

Can you tell me what to do with my blank slate? Answer: no. But we can help you figure out what to do with it if you engage with us, tell us about yourself and answer our questions.

Nuff for now. I'm up at this ridiculous hour with my stupid eye, which hurts - not just an infection and I'm seeing the ophthalmologist today. I can live with the jerk in pyjamas for now - in fact, I'm not looking much better at the moment!! Mind you I'm also having the grace not to post a photo...

Wait, I know. "When should I hire a designer?" There are a couple of scenarios: When you simply don't have the time or interest to acquire the skills needed to do the task yourself. Some tasks are more complicated than others, and some people have less time or interest than others. When you are looking for a really special result (special in a good way). Or when you just want it to look normal and boring. Normal can be challenging too, in abnormal settings. And obviously you need to be able to afford it, but an initial consultation may be more affordable than you think, and if you are really stuck, worth much more in terms of loosening your own wheels.

KarinL


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Here's a FAQ - what are some of the most common landscaping mistakes?


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Timbu: if you put your question into the search box at the head of the page you get a lot of action, if a newcomer is not prepared to do that then they are even less likely to hunt down a FAQ page.


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

Would the FAQ be a sticky? I would assume it would be the first forum topic when you come to the page.


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RE: Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

On the main page of the forums (and there are many) that have FAQ's this sentence will appear in the top instructions:

"Before posting a question, please check the FAQ and do a search to make sure it hasn't already been answered."

When an FAQ is available, it's a permanent fixture right there in your face for anyone who wishes to click on the link.


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