I try to employ the following principles in my designs and in my practice:
Beauty ~ Gardens should be beautiful to their owner. When you gaze upon your garden, it should make your spirit soar then float back to earth with satisfied contentment.
Reality ~ A realistic garden is an easy garden. It is more realistic (and sane) to work with Mother Nature when creating a garden. Accepting what is and is not possible in your garden’s location, and understanding your tolerance for doing garden maintenance (or paying others to do the maintenance for you) is very important.
Sustainability ~ For the planet to thrive, we need to put back into the soil, what we take from it. Feeding the soil is absolutely paramount, so it is important for gardeners to compost. Besides creating great soil, a sustainable landscape includes: selecting plants (native plants and/or non-native plants that are well-adapted to our climate) that don’t require much more in natural resources than what Mother Nature provides locally; severely limiting use of pesticides; creating a garden design that is functional, cost efficient, visually pleasing, environmentally friendly and maintainable; practicing recycling.
Education ~ Being smart is good for the earth; it’s good for humans, too. Taking the time to become a smarter gardener exercises your brain, broadens your horizon, and helps you take better care of our planet. And smarter gardening almost always saves money in the long run.
Flexibility ~ Nature happens. Plants grow—and they also die. Your garden will grow, evolve, suffer setbacks. It is important (and realistic) to embrace the fact that your garden will not look the same all of the time, or year after year. To me, one of the pleasures of gardening is that a garden is ever changing, challenging us, keeping us engaged.
Work ~ Toiling in the garden is good for body and soul. It is good physical exercise (gardeners don’t need gym memberships). And being outside is an important source of essential vitamin D. Nurturing living things makes you feel good about yourself. And amazingly, there is a good bacteria in the soil that has been shown to help the brain release serotonin which helps relieve depression, anxiety, aggression and more. So garden for your health.
Enjoyment ~ Most of all, a garden is a place for enjoyment. A place to entertain friends and family. A place for kids and pets to play. A place to grow food. A place to relax after a hard day of work (be it in an office or your garden). A place to simply feel and enjoy your connection with Mother Nature.
I will work hard to spark your enthusiasm for becoming that good steward of your small parcel of our planet.