Thanks Stuart,


Landscaping is an art form. If you don’t believe me, check out Rick Anderson’s awesome blog.

I appreciate those kind words from Stuart Robinson over at his blog Gardening Tips-n-Ideas. The remark was tied into a post about 7 big design mistakes(not mine-thankfully). These are usually mistakes homeowners make, but . . .

#6 on skinny sidewalks . . . it’s been my experience that most builders don’t offer this as an option, but they just slap it in there. By all means if you can negotiate this ahead of time (length, width, shape) . . . do. Especially if that sidewalk to the front door is going to be used. Speaking of that sidewalk to the front door.

How many of you have worked(or live) in neighborhoods where the front door is never, and I mean never used? I find those neighborhoods kind of creepy, or soulless-very strange places. All that space-no people.

#7 House hugging plants and their bad beds.I have another term for that . . . velcro plants, ’cause there sticking to the house, feel free to use it, I stole the phrase from someone else, I forget who but I thought it was brilliant. A lot of times this is also part of the builders package. Builders package is a term I use for the landscaping that comes with the new house. I like to say 12 shrubs with mulch, 2 trees, and a front yard(seeded-sometimes sodded!) supplied by the lowest bidder.

New homeowners are better served re-negotiating this. Take the money, hire a real professional-not some guy who just took the severance package at the local Ford or GM plant . . . and put in some real landscaping with a real walk to the front door.

The post is a good read and I like the perspective of someone from down under. The pic in the post is pretty clever also.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. I am very impressed by your blog. I’m glad I stumbled upon it. I was wondering, when you say you are a professional landscape designer do you mean that you got a degree in Landscape Architecture or did you get a certificate for landscape design, or have you been practicing in the professional world enough to know that you are a professional? I’m always interested how people got into the industry, especially successful people like yourself. Along with that, how do you get your work? Thanks.

    I appreciate the kind words, actually your remark on what makes a landscape designer a Professional Landscape Designer is worthy of a post or two. Look for that in the next week or so.

  2. I used to live in one of those neighborhoods. You knew that the blue Jeep Cherokee belonged to the white house on the corner that had a brand-new basketball pole/rim/net… but where you never saw someone so much as bouncing a ball. Creepy indeed!

    Now there are some raucous kids on my new street, and you can’t walk the dog without passing porches where people are talking, smoking, whatever…. but these places feel much more like homes. 🙂

    I never lived in that type of ‘hood’, but I’ve spent so much time in these type of suburbs, and studying these type of housing arrangements I feel as though I know it very well, we can agree on the creepy part. I have a pretty good idea what kind of neighborhood you’re in and I bet there is a much greater dynamic streetside where you are now, sounds like you enjoy it so good for you. Still buried in snow?

  3. My pleasure Rick. I enjoy keeping up with your posts and your detailed sketches that you share are great. I’ve often been inspired with some of your detail and I know your readers are probably enjoying the same.

    Thanks again, if I ever do get “Down Under” well have to share a beverage, or two, or three, after all it’s a long trip.

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