April 24, 2012

Down the garden path....&.... BIG giveaway!

Landscape season is here, a month early! And I have been hopping, hence silent. The good news is that client demand is high........could we really be seeing the turn in the economy all of us have been hoping for?

As promised let's discuss the garden floor, an often forgotten design element. I view it as the same as selecting rugs for your interiors, and you know the thought that goes into those decisions!
So let's begin.............

What constitutes a great garden floor versus a just nice or even, just ignored garden floor? We do know it when we see it, but we will chat about how to get there.
The above example is so well done;
 -The natural 'full range bluestone' compliments the wall color AND the roof color of this home, but does not upstage the entrance door
       -Without the vegetation inserts this would be an overly large and hard space.
                 -The squares mimic the window squares at the door

Marble and concrete squares with vegetation inserts. The geometry of the home is repeated on the ground

Nice isn't it?
A white home can accept any garden floor. What i love is the repeat of the arch shape on the ground. Are you seeing the lesson here? Look up! What colors and architectural elements of yours can be repeated for one cohesive appearance?

A sense of place.
This informal shingle house screams beach, hence a boardwalk

Truly another 'sense of place'. Wouldn't manufactured paver bricks look ridiculous?
      PS: one of my favorite blogs is the above www.theswenglishhome.blogspot.com
      by Helena Bemald. I suggest a visit.
Source: dwell.com via Debra on Pinterest

Well chosen colors, layout appropriate for this contemporary home

Hmmmmm, what to do......again, look up! The amazing door frame has a center decoration, therefore "let's mirror that with a center decoration on the path". At least that is what I imagine these ingenious owners said to themselves. Neutral toned bluestone and pea gravel path perfectly compliment the structure

My guess is that we are viewing a home in New England. The 'sense of place' is fulfilled with the strong paths laid with brick. The symmetry is repeated on the ground and lined up with the center windows......perfect!
Charming home but......I am not enamored with the asphalt and the largess of it. Due to expenses or a persuasive contractor, the asphalt here is an example of how a surface has no relationship with the home. Concrete would have blended.
Sometimes you may want the garden floor to be a bit player, perhaps the home has an architectural element you want to highlight. As in this case the magnificent door ensemble. A contrasting hardscape would have split your attention.....well done!

Another example with the above. Why compete with this entrance?

This contrasting entrance to a fabulous door is pleasing. The door is still center stage and the cream tones in the bluestone match and enhance the paint color.

For a cape cod to have a grand entrance would be inappropriate. The scale and use of brick is historically accurate.

Let's look at other examples where the hardscape takes a strong role and still works.  So much pattern in the fencing that a repeat of a pattern, though not the same, adds excitement
Source: houzz.com via Debra on Pinterest

Study shutter colors and admire that they GOT IT! The bluestone is in subtle aqua tones
Source: houzz.com via Debra on Pinterest

Same here with a richer bluestone. But all these accruements accent the clear blue

In neutral color ways

The variety of materials out there are unending. I have amassed a great collection in my Pinterest boards. http://pinterest.com/scentg/  Look under 'The garden floor', for more ideas.
The above is self-cast concrete. You can purchase the kits that you fill with concrete, then mixing up the shapes on the ground to look more natural.
Not bad for a manufactured stone. A good source is www.unilock.com. As an aside, I love to see plants emerging from a path or patio. How about you, do you like that look? Try getting it past a husband........
Pea gravel, an all time favorite! Love the interaction with the crunch. And, it is inexpensive.
One day I decided the entire lawn around my pond had to be removed and replaced with pea gravel. After assembling the materials, I asked my crew, can we do this in one day? We did and when Steve returned home he was, let's say......unhappy. His wood working studio was adjacent and he had to walk through the pea gravel to come and go. You see, this stone slows you down, forcing one to stop and smell the roses.
Source: hessla.com via Debra on Pinterest

You will always need an edge to keep it contained. A great plus other than cost is that it drains and allows nearby trees to soak up moisture unlike concrete or asphalt. Actually all un-mortared natural materials allows the same
Bluestone chips
If one chosen material is good, several more is better! Here is a small section surrounding our pool. I find the full range bluestone, antique bricks and limestone to be charming together.
Bunnies and brick, perfect! Old street bricks that is.  (Mary, this is for you)

Manufactured clay bricks and cut bluestone. Love the delineation of the two seating areas and the paths via different materials and pattern.

Isn't this stunning? The cut 'Shawnee' stones have an intermittent surprise, do you see it? Grayish blue mexican pebbles break up the stretch every 3 feet or so. Necessary? No. Tres chic? YES!

The near white irregularly shaped stone is clean and crisp. A great foil to allow the plants to "pop".
Source: janblok.co.za via Debra on Pinterest

Mixed materials; Mortared mexican pebbles, cut limestone and vegetation. If the latter wasn't there, it would look hard.

Imagine with me for a moment that on the structure of this garden is a giant window with large panes right above the squares. Can you envision that that would be an inspiration to replicate on the ground? Hmmmm, still with me? Imagine it in another setting and the window possessed a palladium window above it? Setting that curve at the top of the cut squares could be interesting.
Repeat; In all landscaping endeavors, look up, your home will give you all the clues you need.

Stairs and levels can be made interesting. Crazy for the above example.
Natural and informal. The addition of "steppables", and in this case creeping thyme, offers a fragrant path as you descend

See the house in the far back? These stones are complimentary with the color.
Ivy trained to run across the riser and meet the other side
California contemporary or a pueblo style, would look great with this composition
Into the woods?
Descend to the ball? This is actually planted between the riser and the steps. I believe it to be mature, strongly pruned, euonymus ground cover or Germander plants

Source: flickr.com via Debra on Pinterest

Thank you for visiting. Hope this was of help to you.

One person signing up for this tour will receive FREE airfare!
With a maximum of 12 attendees, your chances are quite good. Winner will be chosen via a "hat pull". Starting to book.

For more trip details, send me an email. Will write about it in detail, next post.......this is a GOOD one!


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