Higgins on Hayward and Small Spaces

wci-chop-2.jpgAdrian Higgins of the Washington Post has written another great article (print page link) on residential landscape design. This one focuses on a lecture he attended where Gordon Hayward spoke about small garden design.

This lecture at a symposium at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton was also a good chance for Hayward to promote his new book “Small Buildings, Small Gardens” (Gibbs Smith, $29.95), but I digress.

Hayward makes a lot of sense when he talks about the steps involved in residential design; or rather, the order of the steps. I have always tried to talk about the big picture, thinking conceptually and not looking at the little things(perennials, pots, paver style, etc.) first.

This is also mentioned in the article by Higgins.

Finally, he comes up with plants that bloom in the growing season. “What we usually do is just the opposite,” he said. “We go to a nursery and find a plant we can’t live without.”

This is one of those points that doesn’t get stressed enough; looking at the details before the larger picture is decided. A major mistake in landscape design. I like to call this starting big and working to the small.

If I am repeating myself it’s because this is the biggest mistake I see with beginning designers, amateurs, and gardeners.

Another interesting point in the Higgins article was one about outdoor sheds, and small buildings.

Hayward makes the point that many sheds in America (I would add houses) have roof pitches that are too low. A low roof makes a prefabricated shed easier to ship, but it also lacks the charm and lightness of a steeply pitched roof.

Wow; I agree, and also a loss of character with all those low pitched roofs. A chance to get away from the everyday sameness we see across American backyards.

Take a few minutes to go through the article it’s well worth your time.

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.


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  2. That was excellent; I printed it out, highlighted and added it to my notebook of wisdom.


    You’re welcome Dharma, I hope you keep coming back and that I continue to provide good stuff.

  3. Great!

    This is incredibly relevant to me now. We’re soon to be buying a house, and I’ve had a hard time finding resources on things to think about when laying the bones of a landscape.

    This is the best information on that topic I’ve found by far.

    I’m glad you found some good useful info, hope you stick around and find some other great stuff.

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