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Beautiful Gardens the Right Way

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Okay so I'm going to rant again. I just went back to a condominium landscape that had been installed five years ago. It was so frustrating to see it. I designed a tolerant landscape that is required by the city of Los Angeles. It looks AWFUL! Oh, it isn’t the original drought tolerant landscape that I designed that looks bad. There are other plants that the owner added to the planters. Why? Because, there always is the fight between immediate eye candy, the pocket book and planting for the long term. Here is how the fight goes: the developer needs immediate eye candy so the people will buy the condos but doesn’t want to spend the money to buy big plants that will give an immediate effect. So they buy small plants and then fill in with other plants that may have more flowers. In this case, they added roses and ferns to the drought tolerant palette- the antithesis of drought tolerant. The president of the homeowners association admitted after I pointed out that the planters were over planted that the homeowners can’t make any sense out of the design, that it feels like disparate plants are grouped together. It doesn’t take a landscape architect to see an ugly landscape.
When I went to the backyard of the condos I saw a beautifully and appropriately planted area. Why? Because they didn’t need to attract the buyers and the over planting wasn’t done, in other words, they followed my plan.
So now I am left with trying to figure out what lesson is in this experience for me. I don’t like the answer. I realize that I can’t trade money for working with people that don’t care about what the world looks like. Though I enjoy working with this developer, I will have to qualify every job from now on. It will have to be installed exactly per plan or I can’t work for them again. Rigid? Yes, but I also can give them more eye candy in the form adding in in annual color to landscape so that they can get the excitement that they need to sell their projects. I’ll let you know if it works.

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Discussion

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    You really make it appear so easy with your
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    (reply)
    • Shelley Sparks  June 8, 2013

      This is a difficult concept. I know even when you plant small material you can use annual color for eye candy. Later when the plants grow you can use fewer annual plants and have the integrity of the original design.

      (reply)
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