Should gardens be priced by the square foot? It's an interesting idea. The Knibb Modular Garden is a concept pioneered by LA landscape architect Sean Knibb. Basically, the plants are pre-selected and more or less pre-designed, the hardscape materials have already been picked out, and the garden you're getting can be priced by the foot.
It's an interesting idea. Because the plants are pre-selected (which is something most landscape designers do anyway–they use the plants they know will work over and over), you can see photos of completed gardens and know that this is more or less what you're getting.
But here's what this got me thinking about: why aren't plants sold this way? Why doesn't my local garden center come up with a six-pack of perennials in four-inch pots and sell them as, say, a ten square-foot garden combination for sun? Or an eight square-foot combination for shade? The message would be: here are six plants that work great together. Pick up as many six-packs as you need to fill your space. Pick up a design sheet at the cash register. Go home and plant your garden.
And could it be a six-pack of plants plus a box of fertilizer or a bag of compost? A package deal?
It won't work for everybody all the time–I don't have any big blank spaces to fill anymore–but what if I did? How cool would it be to pick up a combination of ornamental grasses and flowering perennials that all had the same light and water requirements and that my garden center recommended? And wouldn't the garden center rather sell six of something, even at a slightly discounted price, instead of three or four of something else?
Best of all, those kinds of modular gardens could easily go into demonstration gardens around the garden center. Plant it around the parking lot, let people check it out throughout the year, and encourage them to replicate it across however many square feet of garden they have.
Has anybody seen this kind of by-the-square-foot approach in garden centers?