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Re: trees and other design elements

> "a house on Darwin Street."
sounds like a house whose landscape would have evolved over time ;+)

To be honest, there is a part of me that agrees with 'fitting in' to a
point.  There is individuality, and there's sticking out like a sore thumb.
While I would be glad to see a soft yellow apartment complex, I would be
taken aback by my next door neighbor painting his house hot pink with orange
trim.  However, I would respect his right to do so, while I begged, pleaded,
and bribed him to PLEASE not do it.  Many houses in my 40 yr old addition
look alike; they are (from outside front view) of only 2 or 3
designs....except mine.  I have only found 3 other houses of my same design
in this city, each about 12 miles away, each in different dirrections.  I
like the fact that it is different from every other house in my

There is another woman in my neighborhood who has gone into gardening in a
big but different way.  She has a back yard 4 times the size of mine but
concentrates everything in the front.  Her various islands of trees, shrubs
and perennials almost totally obscure the small home.  She doesn't do much
in that big back yard.  I concentrate more creativity in the back while
trying to make my front yard plantings flow into my neighbor's, creating a
more peaceful change rather than a jolt.  I also want the plantings to
compliment the house, not hide it.  Yet I refuse to have my front plantings
"hug" the house.  They extend out from it.  This is what makes it different
from my neighbors' landscaping.

So now Donna has me thinking about tree count.  My lot is 60x120 with the
house and drive taking up about 40x50 of that.  So on approximately 5000 sq
ft I've got:
2 Dogwoods
5 redbuds
1 15ft yew
1 3-trunk clump birch
1 Norway Maple
2 Silver Maples
1 Magnolia 'Leonard Messel'
1 Yoshino Cherry
2 Newport Flowering Plums
2 15ft Canadian Hemlocks
1 Blue Spruce

In addition some neighbors' conifers give me borrowed backdrop.  That's the
tall stuff that can qualify as trees.  Many other shrubs ring the property
but are less than 12 ft. in height.  When I started planting my lot in 1990
it had only those 3 maples( planted 1965) and the blue spruce was 18 inches


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "james singer" <jsinger@igc.org>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Saturday, January 31, 2004 3:01 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] trees and other design elements

> I think that's probably right, Kitty. Most people want their property
> to look just like every other piece of property on their street. Some
> kind of safety in numbers. There are probably 200 houses in the
> development I live in and only three or four of them are "different."
> And only two that have done away with the front lawn.
> Most of the landscapes we do at work [that's three or four a week], are
> cookie-cutter designs for cookie-cutter tract houses in named, often
> gated, developments. $5,000 worth of trees and shrubs, 4,000 square
> feet of lawn [usually St. Augustine "Floratam"], and a $2,500
> irrigation system. Most of this stuff, which is selected and approved
> by the house buyer, is rolled into the mortgage loan. Most builders pay
> for the lawn and the irrigation outright, and grant the house buyer an
> "allowance" for the shrubs and trees, all of which are included in the
> sales price of the house. The only additional cost the buyer may
> encounter is any landscaping beyond what is covered by their allowance.
> I called where I live a development, and it is, but it's an old one,
> developed back before real estate marketers hit upon the notion of
> giving every group of 12 streets some kind of development name--I
> suppose because it sounds more appealing to advertise "a Home in
> Pelican Point" than "a house on Darwin Street."
> One other comment: Even among the moneyed clients, there are very few
> who have wanted gardens, except for rose gardens, herb gardens, fruit
> orchards, and the like. In five years, we've had a total of one person
> who wanted a cut-flower garden and no more than five who wanted all
> shrubs and trees [no lawn], four if I can't count the guy whose only
> lawn was a putting green.
> On Saturday, January 31, 2004, at 12:35 PM, Kitty wrote:
> > I think many people are influenced by the media as to what their home
> > should
> > look like.  Check the magazines.  You're *supposed* to have a patio and
> > landscaping.  So they have it done even if using it doesn't appeal to
> > them.
> > I believe landscapers often realize that their clients just want the
> > pretty
> > picture with low maintenance and that the broad expanse of sunlit lawn
> > still
> > rates highly with their customers.  So they give them what they want.
> > And,
> > as has been mentioned, many people are afraid of doing things out of
> > the
> > ordinary for fear of repercussions to  property value.  Your area is
> > relatively new and upscale and it would seem to me that most buyers
> > would
> > not want to take big chances.
> >
> > Which makes me think of a recent community issue here.  As our city
> > expands,
> > new developments go up in every direction.  Occasionally this will
> > include
> > new apartment complexes or retirement communities.  One national chain
> > built
> > a lovely complex of retirement apartments with the building' sided in
> > their
> > trademark soft yellow w/white trim.  The neighbors were up in arms!
> > meetings called!  petitions to the city to force them to change the
> > color to
> > blend with the neighborhood!  How could they side the complex in that
> > gaudy
> > brash color when everything else - absolutely everything else - is
> > boring
> > taupe?
> >
> > Kitty
> >
> >
> Island Jim
> Southwest Florida
> Zone 10
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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