Landscape design -- 09/30/07

Nancy and I are taking a course together on Saturday mornings.

It's actually just a three session class, presented by RISD Continuing Education, meeting on three Saturdays from 9:30 until 12:30. It's called Reclaim Your Turf: A New Vision for the Front Yard.

We meet in Providence, in a building in the main part of the RISD campus just a couple of blocks from the building where I took that RISD drawing class last year. (The main part of the RISD campus overlaps the Brown University campus in a neighborhood people call "College Hill." The building where I'm taking my Thursday night multimedia graphics course is across the street from the main part of the Johnson & Wales University campus, sort of in the area usually called "Downcity" by Providence natives -- I tend to have problems figuring out the exact shadings of meaning when Providence natives talk about "Downcity" and the "Jewelry District" and the "Financial District", etc. -- I'd just say "downtown Providence.")

The instructor -- Michael Veracka -- is a professional landscape architect and designer. We had our first class this weekend. We'll skip next weekend and then have the second and third meetings on the two Saturdays following that.

Here's the course description:
The front yard, the most visible part of the residential landscape, is often the least attractive and least useful -- an expanse of high-maintenance, water-hungry lawn and overgrown foundation plantings. The typical front landscape neither enhances the house nor provides useful living space for the homeowner. This course examines ways to transform underutilized front properties and make them more beautiful, functional and reflective of your own personal values. Through slides, the course examines typical front yards and examples of alternative designs that incorporate perennials, edibles, groundcovers, pavement and, when appropriate, no lawn! Students develop a plan for their own property and have it reviewed in class. Resource information is provided as well. Students should bring photographs of their front yards, including the house, to the first class.

So... This was one of the pictures we brought in.

Five years ago we tore out the old lawn and put down sod -- a very labor-intensive and expensive task (and we did it in roasting hot July temperatures) and for a time we had a very nice rich green lawn. As part of that project, we turned the right half of the main front lawn into a garden.

Now, five years later, the lawn is no longer a beautiful deep green and we are wondering if we should rip up more of it and turn more of the front yard into a garden filled with flowers and interesting plants. So... we're taking this course to learn more about the possibilities and how to make a design that will please us and will look good and will not be an undue burden to maintain.

At the right is part of the area to the left of the driveway..
And the other picture on the right is a view of the front yard taken from behind the garden area, looking at an angle towards the street. (We did not add that boulder, it was left behind by a retreating glacier... most of Rhode Island is a terminal moraine, the silt and gravel and boulders deposited as the glaciers melt at the end of an ice age.)

The flower garden looks quite nice in June and July, but this picture was taken late in August. Even so, there are still some flowers on the other side of the boulder.

We enjoyed the first class meeting and got a lot of ideas and suggestions about design concepts and sources of further information about various kinds of plants, etc., and are looking forward to the next session.

Today is Adam's 39th birthday. Isn't it amazing how the years fly past. (And surely I am far too young to have a kid who is 39 years old?)

previous entry

next entry

To list of entries for 2007

To Home (Index) page


Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com