Christina's Corner - Nature's Greetings



Christina's Corner - Nature's Greetings

Newsletter #7 - January/February 2020


Winter is all about reflection – assessing how our lives have changed during the previous year and making plans or New Year’s Resolutions to do things better or differently this year. Something you hear about more and more is that relaxation and down-time are crucial to our happiness in all areas of life - work, play, community involvement, personal connections. I believe that Nature holds the keys to our success: in the clouds, the creeks, the stones, the breezes, the birdsong, and one of the greatest gifts – a staggering variety of plants!

Imagine taking a slow stroll through a lightly wooded, open forest with short shrubs and low grasses carpeting your path. Or, perhaps standing on an outcropping of stone, gazing at the hills, forests, and rivers spreading before you. For most people, these scenes create a sense of balance: a centeredness and an openness at the same. Remember that this is a feeling: the scenes exist whether you are there or not. YOU are the one impacted by the encounter, without any special effort on your part.

That, to me, is a gift that gives every day to everyone. Even if you don’t specifically notice the living plants around you, your subconscious does respond to these stimuli. For this reason and others, many people have plants at work or home which accomplish much without doing a thing besides growing. Of course, the natural filtration of toxins and the production of oxygen are just part of the life cycle of plants, all in a day’s (and night’s) work. But the calm they impart on your psyche should be recognized, appreciated, and built upon if possible.

The scene you come home to every day can and should embrace and renew you. After all, this is your special place on earth and it should reflect your likes, wants, and needs. For most people, it can be frustrating trying to figure out what to do with their landscape. I would guess that most of those people spend much more money and time than necessary and don’t always achieve their true goal.

A Designer’s life can be complicated; we are charged with translating and putting together a scene that reflects a (usually) completely unknown person’s wants and needs. Designers see all types of homes and landscapes in various stages of good, bad, ugly, what-were-they-thinking, and OMG, so we have a wide range of experiences from which to cull our advice. The main unknown is the client themselves. This is where listening between the lines comes in handy.

Listening is easy enough; the trick is catching those key phrases to discover where the heart of the project lies. Phrases such as “I want low-maintenance” or “I want something blooming all the time” have little to do with the actual project. Those are generally built-in qualities: most landscape plants commonly used are low-maintenance; year-round color is possible without having something in bloom at all times. What is actually important to the client needs to be deciphered from other statements, as well as from the visual inventory taken of the site by the designer.

Sometimes the most important problem to be addressed doesn’t come out until near the end of our meeting: “Oh, this is the area where he works on…”, “I am tired of looking at…”, or “I wish this wasn’t here…”. Now we are getting somewhere! Let’s address those items first, then build a simple plan around the chosen solution.

Design is all about finding solutions to problems, using existing features in unexpected ways, suggesting alternate fixes to unchangeable blocks; in short – to make your life less complicated, less stressful, and more comfortable!

Now is an excellent time to get started on your plan for that landscape that embraces you, comforts you, and brings more positivity to your outlook. We invite you to look at your home and surroundings with new eyes – come see us and let’s start that journey. See you soon at River Valley!