Material World

Borrowed Views
From the moment I set foot on this site perched on the bluffs at Del Mar, Calif., I just knew I would be the designer chosen to develop the garden:  I was energized simply by being there and, more important, was at ease with the owners from the start.   Immediately noticeable was the way the whole property sloped down from street level to the top of
Combining Solo Players
As the possibilities of learning more and creating unique gardens take hold, the give and take of landscape design can become a kind of addiction both for designer and client. I have experienced this phenomenon again and again, but only occasionally has it been as pronounced as in the case of the shade garden featured here:  It's a wonderful example of how this constant drive to create new and beautiful plant combinations and visual planes can grip any landscape professional.   A dedicated gardener, my client
Spanish Colonial Keys
In my years as a practicing landscape architect, I've found that designers love in particular to borrow elements from the Spanish Colonial style of architecture.  In fact, it has become one of the most important and influential of all architectural forms. This archetypal architecture flourished between the 16th and early-19th centuries in the New World and is based upon historical models established in
Setting Botanical Scenes
Done properly, planting design is much like painting:  It involves setting frames, backgrounds, screens and stages in a garden, thus creating a living scene with the plants as features of the composition. Just as a painter adds layers of colors to a canvas to create a work of art, the garden designer combines plants for visual delight.  But the garden designer has an advantage in that scent, texture, motion and even taste can be experienced in gardens in ways that can only be suggested by a painting.  (As a former painter, I can attest to this point and credit my artistic adventures in
Integrated Style
As the first columnist among several who will be writing in this space, I've been elected to explain what this "Material World" thing is all about.  I agree with the editors that it does require some explaining - but not much.   The thought is that we in the landshaping business, designers and installer alike, seldom use a single material all on its own.  Even a huge, monolithic concrete deck outside a grand office building will have ribbons of stone or brick to break up the monotony. The aim of this and subsequent articles - whoever writes them - is to discuss the process we go through in selecting plant and/or hardscape material combinations that ultimately work together to become beautiful and seemingly effortless explorations of style, texture and color.  In other words, we'll be looking at projects for which all the