There has been a lot of discussion over the last few years about the declining need for a green lawn in today’s landscapes. This debate has been fueled not only by the desire to conserve water but also by the realization that changing lifestyles result in lawns that remain unused. This debate is also accompanied by the shrinkage of free time needed to care for lawns and by the toxic effect of chemicals necessary to maintain them.
Once upon a time, a lawn was a symbolic part of a private home. It included the back yard where children romped around and grew up. Today’s children don’t have the same free time to play outdoors. Many of them are enrolled in sports played on municipal properties. The result is that, for some, the back yard has become an anachronism and its maintenance a burden.
It is not uncommon to see a lawn being sliced away to create a patio or a deck or excavated to make room for a swimming pool. All of these changes, which reflect a contemporary value to live outdoors as opposed to work in the outdoors, create a need for new styles of landscaping that will soften the hard lines of wood, stone, concrete and plastic. Nature, as trees, shrubs and foliage, needs to be reintroduced into this new setting but in a more controlled and deliberate manner. In these circumstances, it’s often helpful to work with a landscape architect to create the over-all plan for one’s outdoor living space.
However, for color and passion that only flowers can evoke, it’s best to use a garden designer to add the finishing touches. The ideal balance between these two professionals is to have the landscape architect integrate the location of flowerbeds into the master plan and to allow the garden designer to fill them up. However, in determining the number of flower beds and their sizes, the needs of the client should always be elicited and never overlooked.
Many garden designers and landscape architects are so talented that when properly planned and executed, it is possible to create an outdoor living space that resembles an interactive work of art.