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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Entries in Landscape Architects (2)


Web Photos That I Like

It is rare that I feature the work of landscape architects even though I have great admiration for their profession. As a perennial gardener, I find that most of their work lacks the color that I seek. The primary focus of their projects is the configuration of hardscape elements. Plants and ornamental shrubs appear only as design accessories and color is used sparingly.

While visiting internet sites that focus on nature, I came across riveting panoramic views of gardens that caused me to stop and admire. They turned out to be photographs of the works of the landscape architecture firm of Oehme, van Sweden and Associates. What separates this firm from most of their peers is a philosophy of the New American Garden that allows the visitor to see nature first and then to notice the hardscapes. The inspiration for their gardens comes from the American meadow and reflects the year-round beauty of the natural landscape. When color is used, it is dramatic.

Here is a view of the Gardens of the Great Basin at the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, Illinois. It consists of fourteen acres of plantings, pathways, terraces, knolls, overlooks and bridges. According to the publicity supplies by the firm, each garden within the Great Basin captures the unique attributes of the Midwestern landscape.

In the photo above, ornamental grasses are effectively used to highlight the colorful plants in the foreground. Notice how yellow, pink and blue perennials, when planted in waves, create a powerful composition.


Praise the Landscape Architect

I just finished planting a garden to surround a swimming pool. I hope to have pictures for my readers as soon as the client permits me to photograph the property. I came away from this project with a great sense of fulfillment because the landscape architect that had drawn up the master plan had given me generously sized flower beds to work in. These beds had been strategically placed to look their best from any spot in the outdoor living space.

Because each flower bed is located in a different area of the garden, I was able to use a different theme for each one. A Zen-type garden was planted around a wind sculpture. A rose garden was placed off to one side of the property. A perennial sun garden flanks another side of the pool, while a strip of ornamental grasses and ferns runs the length of the pool on the far side.

I have come away from this project with a great sense of accomplishment, especially since the client is so pleased with the results. However, my expertise alone is not responsible for this success; the layout determined by the landscape architect is a critical contributing factor. The home owner was wise to consult us both.

The landscape architect creates outdoor living spaces complete with patio, deck, pool, paths and pergola. This professional also designates the location of trees, lawns, shrubs and suggest only those few severely disciplined perennials that do not detract from the overall vision. Green is the most frequently used color in a landscape architect’s design. And that is where my job as a garden designer begins. In the flower beds, I introduce as much color and as many flowers as the clients need to make them happy. Unlike the landscape architects who restrict their flowers to Hosta, Daylilies, Astilbe and ground cover, my choices of plants, colors and textures are limited only by my imagination.