If only it were that easy. Every spring, I listen—I can’t help it, unfortunately; the walls are too thin—as my next-door office neighbor begins her annual round of phone calls to various landscaping and yard service in the area. They start out calmly and somewhat optimistically. This, this, and this need to be fixed so the garden and yard will look right for the coming summer.
Then the tone gets a little more aggressive. Then it gets frantic. It almost seems as though the entire property were being done over each year. Shrubs are replaced. Turf is ripped up and replaced. Stonescaping is considered. The yard gets flooded. Trees come down. I have never been to this property, but in my mind it has become an apocalyptic cycle of constant destruction, rebirth, and destruction.
We were discussing this in Austin; indeed, Pam/Digging is a garden designer. I don’t want to generalize, therefore; I know there is a better world of garden design services out there. But—quite often—gardens I see that were completely done by a designer make me think “What did they do? What’s attractive/inviting/fun/interesting about this?” Often area gardens where outside contractors are continually used are always in a state of flux, and the owner is usually in a state of semi-unhappiness. Recently, four Buffalo gardens were featured in a magazine called (not very originally) Great Backyards, but still I was impressed to see it in Target, and other big chains. While many of the gardens featured had designers listed, the Buffalo ones had the owners listed as the designers. I think in Buffalo we have had to find our own way to deal with our tight, urban properties, because often what we hear from the professional community just doesn’t seem quite right. I know that happened to me twice when designers came: their suggestions involved major hardscaping changes/additions just for the sake of major hardscaping changes/additions. Yet, often I do feel I’d like some expert help.
Pam and Susan seem to have the right idea; they listen, they make suggestions, they guide, and they arrive at solutions that are largely carried out by the homeowner (or their helpers). I can hardly wait for some great garden coaches to come to Buffalo. When I listen to the anxious directives coming from the office next door, coaching makes more sense than ever.