The power of intention drives a landscape. Without intention, there is no productivity. Without intention, landscapes remain builder grade. A scenario often seen. Displays of poorly chosen foundation plantings and expanses of lawn.
Average exceptions to productivity include stopgap measures to solve problems. Perhaps a stone path to the garbage can, a groundcover to prevent a bare spot from washing or railroad ties to shore up a slope. The individual solutions create a landscape shouting, "I'm a problem child completely in control of the adults in charge."
A couple recently began landscaping their plain brick ranch after two decades of stopgap measures. Both are in their early 60s and conserving funds for retirement. They are general contracting the project themselves. Rented equipment, hired men, tons of stone, new fencing and more are whizzing about their property.
What drove this couple, after so much time, to embark upon creating a beautiful landscape? They hit bottom in their displeasure at the lack of aesthetic appeal for both house and landscape.
How did they go about generating the productivity beautifying their landscape? They hired a garden designer. With pictures and conversation, they conveyed to an expert what they wanted to achieve, knowing, at their age, they didn't have a lot of time for mistakes.
Another method to direct the power of intention in your landscape, if you don't want to hire a designer, is to take a landscape design class. Pay attention to the credentials of the instructor. You want someone experienced with creating numerous landscape designs. Once you've had the class tear out magazine pictures of landscapes you like and make copies of your home and property on paper. Copy the shapes, focal points and silhouettes of the landscapes you like in magazines. Don't worry about plant knowledge. Use the plants recommended by your county Extension Service to fill in the landscape design you create.
If hiring a designer or taking a class isn't appealing, gather magazines and landscape design books. Drive through various neighborhoods paying attention to landscapes speaking to your heart. Take pictures. Look in the newspaper, especially in spring, for garden tours. Go on the tours with your camera and notepad. There will be a landscape you adore. Expect to like parts of several landscapes.
Copy those landscapes. Adjust things for your zone and budget. Do not waver. If someone else did it, you can, too. The power of intention will steer your productivity in the landscape.
Stone Mountain resident Tara Dillard designs, installs and writes about gardens. Her most recent books include "Garden Paths and Stepping Stones" and "Perennials for Georgia." E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.agardenview.biz.