I was recently asked at a presentation why the ‘G’ in HGTV has almost completely disappeared. If you didn’t know, the ‘G’ stands for gardening and at one time there were plenty of television shows about planting, horticulture and design. Now they are all gone.
As a design student, I gravitated toward the design principle that ‘form follows function.’ This concept was the reason I started in landscape deign. I felt that the definition of the Canadian garden didn’t fit with what I envisioned for my own backyard. Instead of installing the traditional perennials and shrubs flowerbeds, I wanted a space that was lifestyle appropriate and in my case, that was a backyard designed for living in instead of a collection of blooms.
At the time, no one was talking about these types of renovations and that became the start of the ‘low-maintenance’ era of gardening. Enough homeowners agreed with my vision and this launched into my first television series ‘Room to Grow,’ and the start of my media career. This idea that our gardens change because our lifestyles evolve still speaks loudly to me.
Last week I spoke about the value of line in your outdoor space and how to use horizontal, vertical, curved and straight lines to your advantage when creating your own space. (If you missed it, make sure you check online).
This week is all about the value of light in a space.
When we think about light in a backyard, most of us picture early morning sunlight peaking through the branches. For some, it’s all about the starlight because that is when they are in their spaces, after work and in the evenings. Light — and how we use it in the garden — is definitely dependent on the time we spend outside. Designing around the morning for a family that doesn’t get outside much before noon makes no sense. Instead, think about when you are in the garden the most. This will help you understand what type of light you want to maximize.
Homeowners always want to know how to envision a backyard space of their own. I always tell them that creating an outdoor escape is really about three components. The first is education. I went to school for design and had excellent teachers that I still quote to this day.
The second is a knack for understanding flow. Some people are just good at spacial awareness and seeing the potential of the world around them. While this probably doesn’t sound helpful to someone who is struggling with his or her own garden, learning how to manipulate space can be learned if you know what to look for.
Finally, you need a lot of perseverance. There are too many gardens in my past that I wish I could do over again. I just keep trying to learn from my mistakes.
So for 2015, my gift to you is a little insight with your own space. For the next several articles, I’m going to help you look at your backyard and see its potential and hopefully help you get a little closer to creating it.
Every year the experts come out with a list of gardening trends and things to watch out for. But things seem to be a little different for 2015. There are still the great lists of new plants and new fabric colours, but the consensus this year is that it’s a perfect year for starting over. Now is the time for making the outdoor changes we’ve been putting off.
It’s a perfect time to renew our love for the outdoors and for gardening.
Here are three simple things we can all do that will get the process started and help us make an environmental impact for those around us.
Every year around this time my friends and family ask me what I want for Christmas. I always think its obvious … things for the garden or about gardening! Somehow that translates into sweaters, socks and board games.
So this year I thought I help my family out with some great ideas.
Dear Santa …
Bulbs are always at the top of my list! Bulbs are a great gift because you are not committing the recipient to anything too strenuous. Too often, gardeners are given live plants, which come with a long list of care instructions and as nature’s guardians, we feel like we need to provide for these in the best possible way.
Its official, winter is on its way. Most of us have seen snow already and there is a decided chill in the air. Even though it may seem easier to stay indoors, now is the last chance for you to get a few things done to set you on the path to a great spring in your outdoor spaces.
When it comes to getting the outside ready for winter, here is my personal list of things I make sure that I get done at this time of the year.
The fall is the perfect time of year to be thinking about the soil in your beds and around your home. Why fill your flowerbeds and vegetable gardens with soils full of chemicals? Why not make your own instead? Many gardeners are starting to move away from chemical fertilizers and are moving toward ecological choices, such as composting as a way to reduce waste and make the garden greener.
Composting is a natural way of recycling. The process decomposes and transforms organic material into nutrient rich soil. A perfectly good compost pile can be built out of nothing fancier than the leaves and grass clippings you are taking off of the lawn right now. Other ‘ingredients’ can include: fruit and vegetable scraps, yard trimmings, paper, wood and organic kitchen waste that are not protein based.
It usually takes six months to a year to get soil from the composting process. A good way to speed up this process is to regularly mix your compost to allow air into the pile. Here are three ingredients that always work well in your mix…
Read more at: http://thechronicleherald.ca/homesnews/1247900-pay-dirt
Q) Hi Carson. I really enjoy watching you on Cityline and I just redid my backyard and now I need suggestions and ideas on what I should plant in terms of trees, shrubs or flowers.
A) Talk about a loaded question! Homeowners always want a simple set of directions to help them get the right plant in the right spot. Unfortunately, there are so many different variables to every single home that there is no way for me to personally help. That said … here is my foolproof method to get you on the right path to having your own successful garden.
Over the holidays, my entire family took over my kitchen to make fresh applesauce from an Arthur secret recipe. Throughout the process, I was constantly reminded that making food from scratch to store for the winter months is a pretty amazing feat — one that we take for granted when we are shopping at the closest grocer. This movement of growing our own food is making a comeback with a younger generation but for the last 10 years, planting fruit trees in the yard has not been ‘en vogue.’
As a landscape designer, I can take some of the blame for the lack of fruit trees going into our homes. When compared to a Paperbark Birch or an Amur Maple, an apple tree just isn’t as impactful. It really has become all about ‘pretty.’ Fruit trees also have a few other strikes against them. Homeowners do have to brush up on their care knowledge with a fruit tree. Pruning and maintenance is required and each variety has its own special needs.