Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
This pergola was designed with several thoughts in mind, several request asked, and the pergola needed to be substantial.
I had looked at the style and size of house and determined right away we needed something with some bulk, girth, and substance.
The homeowners are not fancy, quaint, do-dad type of people that need to look at lots of embellishment or intricate detail.
Finally the space itself is big, big house, big pool, tall trees, and large lawn. Including a long drive with a big parking area to go through before reaching this back yard space.
Instead of just designing the cliche' wrap around the house footprint style arbor I worked hard to design a arbor that would also work as a separator, This separator is to divide the public space and the pool/private space. The physical act of walking through and under such a structure accomplishes this. The mind changes over, the space is now looked at differently.
The cedar pergola was designed not with the intent of keeping out the shade but to act as the conduit of bring the house and landscape together. That's why I think pergolas are so powerful a design tool. Their ability to link elements, spaces, structures, and emotions together in a harmonious way.
The attachment to the house and the post rising from the Earth . . . the connection is made, and can be made more powerful with the addition of vines, climbers and bloomers working their way through the pergola. Where some space below the pergola is solid and safe for footing and other areas are made beds so that plants and people can thrive together and the garden is accessible to human contact.
The other big thought here is often neglected, not even thought of, and usually excites only as a afterthought . . . that thought is shadows. Shadows bring a sense of theater to the garden, The shadow lines magically move there way across the space as the day plays itself out. This continual movement adds dynamic style to the scene and alleviates boredom of looking at the same space in a very un-dynamic style the entire day. Light and shadow in the daylight much too often underlooked, under-appreciated, and very rarely designed for, but designing shadow can be a very powerful design tool.
Every pergola design/designer should keep this in mind when creating the overhead for the pergola. Where is the sun? What is the suns path? What is this path during the most busy time of year using the pergola? What is the pattern to be determined for? Is the overhead designed to block out a large percentage of sunlight? Do crosspieces run with or against the suns path? Does the pergola include 2 sections of crosspieces to create a even more intricate shadow pattern?
Enough questions? For now. We haven't even touched the post, and their embellishment or lack thereof. Or the finish work to the crosspieces . . . the detailing, or lack thereof. Nor vines, nor climbers, nor paint or stain . . . how about going a la natural?
Lots of questions, lots of possibilities, but no doubt one of the most under-utilized structures in residential landscape design.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man. ~Henry David Thoreau
Filthy water cannot be washed. ~African Proverb
"Throughout the history of literature, the guy who poisons the well has been the worst of all villains..." -ANON
"Water is a very good servant, but it is a cruel master."
C.G.D. Roberts, "Adrift in America", 1891
"You could not step twice into the same rivers; for other waters are ever flowing on to you."
Heraclitus of Ephesus
"When you drink the water, remember the spring"
"When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water"
"The stone in the water knows nothing of the hill which lies parched in the sun."
My thanks to Samuel Clemens for the title quote, thanks again Mr. Twain.
The above falls was built from Colorado fieldstone, the falls in the photo is about 18inches high, and running about 1700 gallons per hour regarding the rate of flow.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Plus I'm not quite sure what's going on with the twigs and the bamboo back by the wall. Is it supposed to be rustic Japanese with a dash of peacock?
The entire story is on the NY Times. What is this all about? The collection of stuff, or a unique design style?
One thing that comes to mind looking at this trend, if work gets slow outside for me it appears that I now have another venue working indoors . . . in New York.
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Friday, December 15, 2006
Arborculture is the art and practice of doing unusual things with trees to create living works of art. There are even practitioners who grow trees to only cut them down and create furniture.
The photo on the right is a living sculpture by the father of the movement Axel Erlandson. The 6 Sycamores create a fantastic and unusual sculpture.
The photo was taken at Bonfante Gardens in Gilroy, CA. Which is not where these trees started out. They actually started in the San Joaquin Valley as part of Erlandsons Tree Circus. The story of how they got from one place to another is told here, here, and here. The page for Mark Primack is here.
A pdf from Bonfante Gardens which talks about the large aquascape gardens and later in the file talks about the big move of Erlandson's remaining 29 trees from their original location to their present home. It's quite a story of determination and co-operation, and a man who wanted to see these specimens survive.
The fellow on the left is Arthur Weichula. Art had some interesting idea about arborculture and other uses for living trees. he was very interested in how living joints, or how inosculation worked.
While looking at all this I was reminded of the ancient art of pleaching, which was developed by the Romans. I say Romans because they were the 1st to speak of it in their writings. it's certainly possible pleaching happened before then. But . . . I digress.
Here's a good explanation, the images were missing when I looked at the page. Here you can see a few good examples of pleaching but the writing on the page looked strange for me. The 2 examples will give you a very good idea of what pleaching is all about. let me know if the links are a problem.
In today's World of Arborculture the guru seems to be Richard Reames who has written the book, called ARBORCULTURE, Solutions for a Small Planet. I have not read the book but between his site and his work, and now the book there has been a new growth in interest in this form of living art.
Here is a interview in Cabinet magazine with Richard Reames, and I have a few other links of interest from other place/sites in the world where there is great interest in the art of growing trees to create art:
- pooktre.com where they are creating "people" out of trees. I would think in the dark with just the right mist this place could turn into a horror movie.
- living houses? maybe, I found this on the Kircher Society web site.
- Growing Village, Arborculturist from around the world.
- Archinode goes into the future of arborculture with a look at the Fab Tree Hab. Hey . . . who knows?
- Finally Mr. Wu, chair anyone?
Thursday, December 14, 2006
***A blog for a landscape company in Santa Cruz, Ca. One of the few blogs I've seen at a landscape website. They are using this blog to promo their work and it looks much better than the typical static landscape website. Kudos to Silver Tree Designs.
***In 2008 Quebec city will be celebrating their 400th anniversary. One of the big parts of the celebration will be the Ephemeral Gardens:
EPHEMERAL GARDENS AT THE HEART OF THE FESTIVITIES
The Ephemeral Gardens will be an artistic event where creators from different horizons are invited to bring an artistic viewpoint on the major themes of Québec City's 400th anniversary. This viewpoint will be expressed through creator gardens : outdoor creations using mediums that combine different elements, including plant materials.
If you think you got a great ephermal design in you, go here to look at their call for proposals.
***The website for the University of British Columbia (UBC) is a good one. It is definitely worth a look.
***Finally, a list. This is a list of things a freelance illustrator has learned over 17 years of working as a . . . freelancer. I find this appropriate because I am a frelancer/consultant/self-employed kind of guy. All 17 are good advice, or great common sense reminders, but I think this is my favorite:
- Dealing With People's Questions.
You will have interesting questions posed to you as a freelancer. Some
people have ideas that all freelancers are of the of fuzzy slippers and
jammy pant wearing, constant soap opera watching or constantly sleeping
variety. There is really no solution to this line of questioning other
than to answer their questions as honestly (not defensively) as
possible. After awhile, they should see that you are a diligent worker
who might have a slightly different schedule than most, but who still
punches a "time-clock". Be patient, the comments will eventually stop.
- #18 - Don't use orange font to display something meaningful
- 1.) Always get a jump on a job. If you procrastinate because you have a generous deadline, you may end up having to turn down other work that comes in when you're up against it.
- 4.) I would underline your point #4 about "attitude." The art director is generally under a great deal of stress. When you get last-minute or seemingly arbitrary changes, or stinging criticisms, accept them cheerfully. Never express the irritation you may feel. The extent to which you can do this will go a long way toward creating successful long-term relationships. Some art directors have poor people skills. If you're one of the illustrators they feel comfortable dealing with, you'll be amply rewarded.
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Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Martha has continually pushed the envelope and has marketed her brand well. Her work gets lots of press, her people submit for awards (which they win), and the critics are severe. Sounds like someone at the top.
The infamous HUD Plaza.
I was hoping for some insight into her design process, and how she reads sites. Interprets the area she is going to work in. The best we get is her insistence on physically seeing the site and this tid-bit:
Most useful tool: My equal-space divider. You quickly divide things—as opposed to measuring them out—which is a godsend: I work fast and I’m bad at math.
Still if you are not familiar with her work take a look at the article, and then go to the firm's website, one of those fancy flash pages. Here you will get a much better understanding of her work, and a better understanding of the publicity machine, look at the amount of print, not including all the critics columns
Residence in SW, New Mexico, I believe.
For more info on Martha here is the Wiki entry for her. I was speaking earlier about how she has been lambasted by some . . . here you go.
To counter that Martha has won the Cooper-Hewitt design award, 2006 in Landscape Design (scroll down). The award was for her design of the Grand Canal Square in Dublin, Ireland, for a really great breakdown of that project I found this, and this from Ireland.
Martha is more of the artist side than the horticulture side of the picture and this mindset has put her on the opposite side of the fence with a lot of folks in the landscape design world. There is usually a lot of stuff going on in her projects, some would consider them very busy or not very people-friendly. You could even say they are better to look at and admire from a distance, than to actually participate in.
Her designs are not for everyone, but I admire her ability to push the envelope and take a chance in her public projects. Even if some projects weren't perfect who can say that all of their's were. I sure can't, can you? can anyone?
The important thing is to dream, to think big, to continue to reach out to be the best you can, the most expressive. The most creative. Keep going Martha.
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Monday, December 11, 2006
A denuded hillside in Central America:
If you have any interest working/supporting an organization the does reforestation work let me suggest Trees for the Future. I met Dave Deppner several years ago and immediately liked the man. he is honest, sincere, and dedicated, very dedicated. Dave is a strong believer in sustainable agroforestry, from the website:
Tree Planting: We help people plant multi-purpose, fast-growing, ecologically appropriate tree species. By choosing species tailored to the needs of the communities we serve, we create agroforestry systems that rebuild worn soils, reduce erosion, replenish groundwater aquifers and create microclimate conditions that encourage the return of indigenous species.
Agroforestry Training: We have developed a long-distance agroforestry training program that is being used to train community leaders worldwide in sustainable agroforestry practices. The curriculum covers agroforestry techniques, appropriate species, nursery management, livestock management, pest control, and more. Successful completion of an exam is required to graduate. To learn more, click here.
The "Forest Garden": The forest garden is a multi-layered agroforestry system that strives to realize the diversity and productivity of a natural forest with species of plants and animals that are useful to humans. In many cases, we see spectacular harvests from this combination of trees and cash crops. Integrating more crops on one piece of land yields greater total production, reduced incidence of insects and other pests, increased quality of food produced, and lowered damage from storms and soil erosion.
More stripped rainforest:
What's unique about Dave and Trees for the Future is how they spend the money. Dave goes right to the villages and the local leaders. His is truly work at the grass roots level. To educate, train, motivate the locals to become stewards of their land to begin the recovery in the area surrounding their local villages.
Too often the money starts at the top and works its way down through the levels, and in these 3rd World countries there are a lot of levels and a lot of interests, if you know what I mean. Dave has always believed it is better to go right to the people whose lives and villages are at stake.
Leucaena tree project. Leucaena benefits. The Moringa oleifera tree "Horse Radish tree". These are 2 of the several trees used to reclaim the land. Erosion control, feed for the live stock, compost materials, fuel and building materials are factors when considering which trees to use.
The other challenge is getting local farmers to try something different. The peer pressure is great amongst most locals to not change, to do it the same way its always been done. To start anew, to become terrace farmers, and sustainable aware is tough. But Dave and his volunteers keep plugging along, trying to change one farmer on village at a time.
If you're looking for a cause/group to donate time or money, let me again suggest Trees for the Future.
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Saturday, December 09, 2006
The steps from a wider angle:
On 12/7 I posted a close-up of the stone steps, showing some of the detail. I was after a look of strong yet informal steps that led out on to the lawn.
These steps are the only way to get from the parking court and upper terrace to that front lawn. The large barnstone on the left was needed to hold up the planting bed. This bed was designed in to screen the view of the cars from the street. and create a buffer of green between the view and the asphalt.
The bed swirls on the right before working back into another small wall that took advantage of stone found on the property. This wall was built to hold up the planting bed and upper terrace walkway and patio.
The view from here show the upper terrace. This is a flat stone called Maryland chocolate set on a bed of limestone dust and screenings. The steps are at the far end of this patio between the Crabapple trees. If I remember correctly these are "Sugar Tyme' Crabs.
I would like to point out these pictures were taking last summer, the Summer of 2006, and this job was installed in the Spring of 2000. The patio has held up quite well, and most of the plants are still in the same place we planted them 16 years ago.
I had an opportunity to chat with one of the homeowners. She had pulled in when I was shooting these pictures. We talked about several things and she mentioned how happy they had been with everything all these years. I had to tell her they had done a great job with the upkeep and that everything still looked great.
This view shows a better look at the short wall that holds up the small bed and terrace. The beds; after 16 years, look fairly tidy.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
What I especially liked was his mention of The Forgotten Art of Building a Stone Wall by Curtis Fields. If my memory serves correct this was the 1st book on stone in my library. George is right, it is a small, clean simple book, but if you love stone, and want to build walls it is an indispensable tool in you stone building toolbox.
Thanks George and keeping moving those stones. Nice use of standing stones, look to the last photo in the post.
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This can be found in a life-long and rewarding career as a landscapemanagement major within the college of Biology and Agricul-ture.
Landscape management, a relatively new program at Brigham Young University, is highly respected among its professional commu-nity andoften turns into an equally profitable career.I've seen degrees in Landscape Architecture, Landscape Design, Horticulture, Landscape Technician(2 yr). This is the 1st I've seen in Landscape Management. A degree in this field makes sense as Landscape Companies grow their is a need to have solid designers, foremen, and supervisors on staff.
Here's to hoping that BYU remembers that landscaping begins with the use of a shovel, and that hard physical work in the field is the beginning of success
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Posted by Rick Anderson at 9:04 AM
Monday, December 04, 2006
- The stone and brick are not the same depth. The stone was placed 1st and the pavers were poured around the stone.
- The stone is a waste product from Briar Hill Quarries near Glenmount, Ohio. They use to refer to this product as: 3" offset. Briar Hill has changed the way they cut blocks of stone and they don't have much of this product on hand now.
- The wall stone is also a Briar Hill product. They sell several different sizes of this wall stone. It can be used as a freestanding wall, or a retention wall. Seen here it makes beautiful risers for outdoor steps.
- This was in South Carolina about 30 miles above Columbia. Yes, that means we shipped a semi-load of stone down to install the walkway.
- This photo, and Sundays were taken about 2 yrs after the job was installed.
- The slab-bench photo was taken right at the end of initial installation.
- Yep, the pavers are brand new, and very architectural in style (clean edges and lines). Complete opposite of the rough and tumble sandstone. I was looking to mix opposites together to create strong visual interest.
- The entire length was over 120 feet and did vary width wise 5 to 8 feet with that landing.
- The landing was built to display art and as a visual resting spot, It was not built to hold furniture, or to become a patio. After two years it was still that way.
- The original request was to create a visual entertaining walkway from the parking court at the front of the house to the pool house on the other side of the service drive. You can see the opening to the pool area at the end of the walkway in that small patch of light in the dark area (top center).
- I'm still looking for the drawings for this project. I have the original concept drawings, and they are buried away somewhere.
The only questions I don't want to get in here are the cost of the install. I hope the questioner will understand. Yes I do charge an hourly rate but when working away from the home base area I have daily and weekly rates along with expenses.
Thanks for all the interest, and questions. I'll keep looking for the drawings . . .
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
Spaz in the wheelbarrow
We have a low spot in a bed where the water will lay for; up to, 24 hours. The soil is clay, and it's a nasty area. I was able to do some mounding in the middle and back part of the bed to raise those areas, however we know beds have to slope down to their edge. What to do, what to do . . .
Well the entire area is low, water collects, I am not going to raise the entire area because a stone walkway is going through next year, and it needs to be at that height to set up a series of steps out of the low lying area. So it's going to stay low.
This means I have to look for plants that will endure this type of culture/micro-climate. I am one of those who would rather find a plant that lives in a certain type of micro-climate than change the area entirely.
What I have learned over my many years is one change leads to another, to another, to another usually affecting another part of the garden in a very negative way. Specifically moving water, drain water, run-off, etc. Water is at the top of the list.
I have also learned there are plants to adapt to almost every climatic, cultural situation. You just have to learn what works where . . .. a good reason to hire the Professional Designer (shameless plug).
But I digress, the plant in the wheelbarrow, along with Spaz, is Acorus gramineus commonly called sweet flag. Acorus is a short grass and does very well in standing water, temporary flooding, and straight clay soils. I have used Acorus in these conditions from zone 4 down to zone 9 with good results.
Spaz had decided to help us out when he jumped in the wheelbarrow and decided to nap instead-typical cat. Anyone on this cold blustery day I thought I would share this photo and talk about plants and drainage.
Sort of kill two birds with one stone. Uh; maybe that's a bad analogy when cats are involved in the story.