Basic Principles for Landscape



Follow the Basic Principles for Landscape Planning: Green Scene
Over 40 years doing landscape and design work, and more than 13 years writing this column, I've picked up some valuable lessons. They might be thought of as principles for planning and managing your landscape.

Think ahead: Anticipate growth habits when planting trees and shrubs so they will increase in ornamental value as they mature. Don't install plants for instant gratification. For example, don't plant a two-to-three-foot-tall woody plant, such as a juniper, holly, spruce or cedar, 18 inches from the edge of a walk or wall. In maturity, that plant will spread to eight feet or more, blocking entries, lifting walkways. Except for hollies, these plants are difficult to prune because of their growth habits and do not renew well. So if they are planted too close to structures or too close together, they will shade one another and lose ornamental value within several years. Site plants far enough apart so sunlight will reach the base of the plants, allowing them to develop to their maximum potential.

Have patience: Gardens grow one day at a time. Groves of magnolias, dogwoods, river birches, sassafrases and staghorn sumacs can become eye-catching art objects growing in groupings. With maturation, their sweeps of colors in spring and fall can be breathtaking. Flora can languish or become dormant, like the shade-tolerant perennial snakeroot (Cimicifuga racemosa). It seemingly died when we planted it one spring. It reappeared a year later and has been vigorous ever since. Flea beetles destroyed our black-eyed Susans. We didn't replace this perennial, as advised. Two years later, the black-eyed Susans returned, probably in large part from seed. They have remained pest-free and displayed dense flowers.

Practice stewardship: Sites must be prepared before planting. I mix one part compost with two parts native topsoil to ensure good drainage and air circulation. Gardens require care while plants are establishing. Newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials need water in summer when there is no rainfall for a week, and beds around perennials and the bases of trees need weeding. Only the crossing and lower limbs of trees, deadwood and sucker growth require removal. Other plants might need dividing, deadheading, selective pruning, or in the case of overly aggressive ornamental plants, hacking back if they become uncontrollable.



どこに植えられるのが適切なのかは植物自身が教えてくれる。”they will let you know whether they're happy.”など、現場での植物との”対話”が重要であることがよくわかります。


Joel Lerner氏のその他のコラム

Toward a Peaceful, Healthy Coexistence of Plants and Dogs:




バイオフィリックデザイン/Biophilic landscape design