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Category: Design

  • Honored by my Horticultural Peers

    January 14, 2008

    WSNLA Young Member of the Year AwardedOn Saturday, January 12th I was presented with the “Young Member of the Year” award from WSNLA (The Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association). When the award was given, the presenter said that I received this award due to my outstanding volunteer contributions to the association and my exemplary representation as certified professional horticulturist in the year prior. I look forward to continuing to serve the industry, setting an example to all who seek to serve the public as a gardening professional.

    I cannot thank my WSNLA peers enough for this honor. I cannot thank my clients enough for their support. I cannot thank my gardening mentors enough. Without all of them, I would not be nearly the garden mentor I am today. I promise to strive to live up to their examples and expectations.

    The award was given at a saturday luncheon at the WSNLA annual conference, which was held in Port Ludlow, Washington. To get to Port Ludlow, I enjoyed a beautiful drive plus ferry ride. Port Ludlow is nestled into a cove in northwestern washington. As I crossed the last bridge, the clouds began to shatter and a rainbow appeared just in front of me. When that happened, I knew the day held great promise.

    If you are interested in reading more about WSNLA and why this reward means so much to me, please visit the WSNLA Website.

  • Granite Stone Seats – A Team Effort

    August 06, 2007

    Snowy winter before the granite We’ve done many different designs in our front garden. First we tore out tired old lawn & junipers. Then we busted out a useless, narrow concrete path & remade the aggregate chunks into a patio space. Quickly, we learned this “patio” was 1) not installed properly (by us) so it didn’t work out in the long run 2) this space has great “sunset” exposure in the summer 3) we wanted something stunning, functional with privacy from the street. Rocks dumped in yardI looked at several ideas to create a seating area to go with a patio in this space — we considered a COBB (straw bale) wall, a dry stack stone wall, wooden benches, steel walls with affixed  stone or wooden benches, and finally we settled on large granite boulders randomly set at seating height. This photo shows the a winter view of the area, area dug out and spaces defined before any stone was brought in. The bench gives a sense of scale. This Spring I selected several pieces of granite outcropping stone to fit the space. It was delivered and dumped into place by a rock setting truck. The plan was to have a rock setting crew come out and hand set the stone into its final position as the rock truck wasn’t able to do the full setting. Weeks, then months, passed by. A dusty, weed patch grew in, filling the space that is to become a patio, eventually.

    Roped to pull What now? I finally pulled together the best crew I know — my husband and his buddies — to help me wrangle the stone into position. I helped a bit, but because of a groin injury, mostly I took photos and consulted.
    They did an amazing job — talk about being up to the challenge! Three guys, not professional rock guys, worked about 3 hours each, each day (6 hours each, 3 guys, so 18 man hours) to tackle a huge task. Its so wonderful to see the project clicking along. There are a few corrections left to make on one stone & a last one to position after that, but I’m thrilled so far. HEAVE!The guys worked as a great team looking at the space, thinking about the stones, discussing angles, vectors and what “might happen, if we do such & such”. For the most part things just worked. I wonder how sore their arms and backs are today?! (Bob was planing trim for our hallway in his “off time”; Jason & David took a 30 mile bike ride on Sunday, after the rock chore. The guys love to be busy!)

    Done for the dayAt the end of the second work day, we had three of five stones totally set. The fourth needs a little more attention. The fifth will be set once the others are completely done. The stubborn “fourth” rock is a challenge for all the guys. None of the guys want to be “beaten by a stupid rock”, so my guess is they’ll “get Egyptian” on it again in a couple of weeks. (Yes, the pyramid-building jokes were out in full force during this job!) After they were done for the day on Sunday, Bob enjoyed a snack out on one rock & did not want to be photographed!

    Chaise Lounge!So, what happens next? Well, after the stubborn rock issue is finalized and the fifth rock is then positioned, we’ll re-establish our patio levels, order in crushed stone for our patio base & begin filling & tamping in that material. Depending on budget, we will order in flagstone and set that as well…or that might wait for next year after our bank has recovered. Staging in projects is something I’m constantly doing at home and for my clients. For now I’m thrilled to just be able to kick back on a beautiful stone, demonstrating how comfortable a rock can be when properly positioned in a garden. (It’ll be extra sweet when the rocks are pressure washed, a patio of some sort is in place, an I can wear something less grubby out there!)

  • Form Follows Function – Landscape Design

    July 31, 2007

    Today is a good day to remember the garden design lesson that form follows function.

    This is very present to me today after visiting a client who brought me in to consult on a project after he’d hired someone to build rock walls, patios & do some tiling. And after he’d bought all the materials to do the job.

    I went by today & a tall drystack retaining wall had been constructed. It was shimmed from the front, rocks were wobbling, there were many vertical seams, and it bowed in the middle. I recommended most of it be torn out & rebuilt correctly. That isn’t something anyone wants to hear!

    As well, we got out some landscaping paint and began designating where the new patio would go. This client had already purchased a cut stone patio kit to install. My concern, which is his now too, is that the patio is going to be too small for the function it is going to be asked to perform. We’re working on options to expand the patio, but a couple of hindsight is 20/20 lessons can be something you learn from before you start your project:

    1. DIY techniques are great, but sometimes hiring a consultant before you start will save you loads of agony and money in the long run
    2. Before you buy, know what you’re building. Really know what you’re building. Paint out the area for patios or drag a hose around the perimeter or anything to define your spaces.  Be sure your furniture will work in the space. Be sure the shape is right for view, privacy.
    3. Be patient. If you’re building a garden space, it will take lots of time and money. So, you want to do it right the first time, even if that first effort seems like it takes a long time!
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