The area where I lived is gradually being subdivided, with massive swathes of acreage turned small lots and houses with matching roofs. Driving around on errand-running last Saturday, I recalled a blog post by British landscape designer Noel Kingsbury. One statement he wrote was this: “Most American gardens and managed landscapes are like deserts - all those acres of grass shaved to within an inch of it’s life, a few trees if you are lucky and some evergreen shrubs." Sounds a bit like nearby subdivisions!
What I noted while driving:
- Islands dividing a street where shrubs have been replaced with colored concrete
- Small beds next to a subdivision border fence, filled with “tough” plants – pervasive ornamental grasses and agave or junipers
- Curving sidewalks bordered by mown lawn; no trees or utility boxes to explain the curves
- Floral plantings only at subdivision entrances and common areas, with annual plants traded out by landscaping crews as soon as they become unattractive or seasons change
What do you see regularly? Is it this kind of landscaping – simplified, easy to trim with a commercial riding mower, masses of intense flowers contrasting with each other to catch the attention of drivers and replaced seasonally?
Think about it.
- Maybe your eye is becoming accustomed to this kind of landscape.
- Maybe you have started to think this kind of landscaping is normal and acceptable.
- Maybe you have assumed that this kind of landscaping is what you should have around your house.
Or you've resisted the call of the commercial-style landscape.
You've ensured your garden is personally interesting and diverse. It's highly attractive and nurturing to you and your family, to visitors, to birds and butterflies and bees. It could be a true comfort for relieving stress, giving spiritual pleasure, and lifting your heart whenever you see or walk through it.
Then ask yourself whether a commercial landscape look is true value for you as an Elderyarding® approach for your subdivision.
But if there is ugliness when you leave your yard, if the landscape in your residential neighborhood fails to bring you joy when you walk to the group mailbox or take a dawdling stroll to the pool or tennis courts with your grandchildren, you have to wonder whether the planting is relieving or adding to your stress. It may be a dull experience for you and for those grandkids.
Is boredom with nature the gift you want to provide yourself and your family?
Add a comment and share what you think about this idea.