Landscaping styles are very varied. However, to some people what is called landscaping is not landscaping at all. It is a word that is sometimes confused with the mundane activity of routine gardening. The difference between landscaping and gardening is a fine and murky line, but landscaping is not routine gardening or lawn service. That high maintenance gardening style is often wasteful and deleterious. Landscaping is an activity considered an important way to save species and to improve quality of life for all. Landscaping affects ecology, economy and sustainability. It is a basis of our culture.

Any type of garden or landscape may be installed with certain principles considered such as economy, ecology, or cohesiveness, so that a thoughtful landscaper may use various styles while pursuing logical and ethical principles.

Styles are sometimes described in cultural terms such as Mediterranean, Southwestern, or English. They may also be described in more general terms such as tropical, desert, formal, backyard, colorful, naturalistic, and more. A landscape may also be described as a type of garden such as a rose, succulent, herb, rock or butterfly garden.

Professional landscapers may be separated as doing primarily “hardscapes” or “softscapes”. Hardscapes are more about infrastructure of concrete, pavement, tile work and more. Both hard and soft may include such things as rockwork, plumbing or simple wood construction. Large patios may be secured with cement-free brick on compacted soil.

“Green” Gene’ is a principled landscaper and as such tends to think of ways to lower maintenance while increasing production. Production may be of food for people or wildlife. It may be increasing beauty and diversity or uses within the landscape. Green Gene will recommend an end to routine, wasteful, noisy dusty maintenance service. He may recommend clean-ups, improvements, and thorough seasonal maintenance.

A loud and very often illegal workforce weekly mowing, edging, shearing, and blowing while over-watering, overfeeding, and over spraying to keep a digressing landscape is not a good idea. Such landscapes have decreasing soil quality and lack beneficial and enjoyable wildlife, beauty and fresh food. It is called low maintenance, yet it is high maintenance and low productivity.

Sheared hedges and mounds of bouganvillea increase habitat for rodents and moths, and their dark dry interiors are a fire hazard. Even if a flat, live, and green shelf is a desired feature in your garden there are ways to do it better than is usual. Privacy and barriers can be established in more efficient and effective ways. Examples are multi specie hedges properly cleaned out and thinned rather than just sheared or a solid wooden fence with vines for hummingbirds or humans to eat from and extra space instead of the sheared hedge. If a backyard lawn is not used for frequent ball games, it may be better to create a meadow. Rather than having bare heavily compacted soil lacking vitality and eroding largely due to removal of a coarse dressing known as mulch, why not cover and dress the ground to increase water retention, save organisms including earthworms, keep weeds out and beautify. The idea that removing all fallen leaves and exposing dirt is clean is not sensible. Using a weed eater at the end of the growing season spreads invasive species, yet thoughtful selective weeding can ultimately reduce maintenance and increase production and beauty. These are just some obvious economical and eco-logical considerations.

To make sense of a given private outdoor space, it makes sense to maximize its value by maximizing use of light, water, space, and all available living and non-living resources It is logical to work at it systematically starting from edges. One edge is the ground that is improved by grading and improving soils ability to hold water and air with properly applied organic matter and living things. Another is light from the sky that is sought by proper pruning and planting with trees first. There is also the perimeter of our properties and our entryways and outward. It is also logical to form other types of priorities such as growing food or pest control.

If you would like help to make more sense of your garden/landscape please feel free to contact “Green Gene” for a consultation.

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