Lifelong Landscape Design, Mary Palmer Dargen, Gibbs Smith.
When planning a residential landscape, the author of this well thought-out publication recommends we focus on the end-use for our garden. Her premise is that successful and effective outdoor living spaces are those that enrich our health and our longevity at each stage of our lives.
Suggestions to achieve maximum benefits from the land that surrounds our home have been shaped by the author’s 30-year career in landscape design and enhanced by over 200 beautiful photographic illustrations that blend perfectly with her text. The quality of her images is clear, clean, and inspiring.
Ms.Dargan submits that at each stage of life, as it is influenced by family, health, life-cycles, friends, and community, the purpose and usefulness of gardens change. Just as we continue to fine-tune our gardens as they grow and mature, similarly we need to make changes to our outdoor spaces to reflect our evolving needs as our families mature.
A young family will require outdoor spaces that allow children to play and have fun, while at the same time it offers opportunities for them to interact with nature.
Some homeowners need outdoor spaces for dining and entertainment, outdoor sports, or simply relaxing and experiences the fresh air. Here, nature serves as a refuge from the stresses of life as it supplies relaxation through a symphony of sensory stimulations affecting vision, hearing, smell, and touch.
Empty-nesters and retirees, looking forward to spending more time in their garden, will be pleased that the writer has given special attention to homeowners who are about to enter their golden years.
Readers will be introduced to the holistic design process of resting lightly upon the land, an approach that relies upon the principles of sustainability for site development. Recommendations are made for designing gardens that encourage social interaction and outdoor sports.
Ideas are offered for aesthetically integrated kitchen gardens, dynamic access pathways, peaceful enclosures, and for creating stress-reducing environments. Even the strategic location of pools, paths, decks, outdoor furniture and BBQ pits merit discussion here.
It is suggested that the friendships we build within our communities – especially when they are born out of a shared love of gardening and nature – help to improve the quality of our physical and emotional lives.
The essence of this publication, therefore, is that a successful landscape design creates an environment that allows us to connect with nature, family, and friends. Such an outdoor space encourages a healthy lifestyle through physical mobility and social interaction and provides a refuge to sustain both body and soul.
Anyone planning to landscape a residential site, or considering redoing an existing one, will surely benefit from the cornucopia of practical health-enhancing ideas found in this book.