We revisit some of our readers’ emails, letters, and photographs of the past year and take at look their design projects that have delighted and inspired us.
Ellen’s vegetable garden. Photo: Ellen Clancy.
Many of you who’ve subscribed to our blog over the past year have written in with images of your own work that we’d like to share in this week’s post. First up is a fun project that Ellen Clancy, a talented vegetable gardener, did for me. I visited her Boston-area garden in early spring last year, before any seeds had been planted there. With its handsome fence and rectangular cobble-edged beds, the garden was attractive, even without plants.
Stills from Ellen and Peter’s video of their garden’s growth. Still photos: Ellen Clancy.
But I wanted to see it filled up, so Ellen and her husband, Peter Doyle, offered to photograph it every few weeks as it grew. Here’s the result–a 3-minute video that Ellen created. If you don’t have time to view it, here are some screen shots instead.
Once the fence was installed, Frederick had time for fun details like backyard family dinners with a hanging window to frame the view. Photo: Frederick Perez.
Next are pictures sent in at my request by Frederick Perez, a Long Island gardener who first wrote to me about the old stockade fence along his property line that had begun to look more like “toothpicks” than a fence. Needing to hide an old trailer and some car parts on the other side, he planted hollies and other evergreens to block the view and his fence. After seeing pictures of how it looked, I suggested that he install a cedar board fence, which he left natural to match the house.
Frederick’s installed fieldstone path. Photo: Frederick Perez.
A year or so later, he wrote to ask about using decomposed granite in his backyard in place of lawn. I wrote back, “I’m not a big fan of decomposed granite for a variety of reasons. One is that it requires edging so that it doesn’t migrate into the lawn or nearby beds, which it will do over time otherwise. Edging’s expensive–the best to use is steel edging, but it gets pricey. And I don’t like the look of plastic edging (or anything plastic) in a natural landscape. Instead, I’d suggest that you sink some flat fieldstones into the lawn so that you can mow over them but they’ll lead people where you want them to go. Don’t use slate–much too slippery, thin, and geometric. Instead, see if you can’t buy a pallet of natural flat fieldstone.”
Frederick has created places to sit, to walk, and to play–places to be–in his landscape of home.
Photos: Frederick Perez.
Last year I wrote the following to Frederick, “Thanks in part to your letter, I’m working on another book for homeowners called “Home Outside” that’s all about the kinds of things you wrote me about–how to deal with neighbors and neighborhoods, driveways and garages, decks and terraces, plants and special features. It won’t be out for a year and a half, but it’s been great to work on. I’m hoping it will help all kinds of homeowners out there solve real everyday landscaping problems.” Thanks for your inspiration, Fred!