Throwing out the design rules
I talk to a lot of architects and garden designers about what makes for a good design process.
What strikes me is often how literal we as homeowners can be when we think about how our homes and gardens should operate.
Because it’s easy to focus on that checklist, where we list the number of bedrooms and bathrooms we want, along with room for a fire pit and some play equipment for the kids.
But if you’ve gone to the trouble and expense of hiring a design professional, maybe it’s worth drawing on their expertise and instead of running through rooms, talk about the way you want to live.
I was reminded of this talking to an architect I know about making a garden for his clients’ children to enjoy.
Rather than leaving a patch of lawn for a swing set, he had a discussion with the landscape architect around ground materials and plant selections that would be flexible as they grow and stimulate their imaginations.
So the shallow pond works as an opportunity for water play and the lavender and rosemary bushes provide a gentle fragrance as well as soft fall in the event someone loses their balance.
Generous soft gravel paths offer room for games of chasings or hide and seek, and hardy flowering plants tolerate a little picking for daisy chains.
It’s not obviously designed for children but it opens up the possibilities that perhaps a fixed cubbyhouse in the backyard does not.
Perhaps we need to change the conversation and place a little more faith in the designers to come up with creative solutions that suit our needs and have the potential to grow with us rather than working for just a set period of time. They might know us better than we know ourselves.