Garden Style

Taking Things Away = More Gained

We started our own “Big Dig” in our backyard since I last posted and I knew it would be a lot of work – but I had no idea how truly large our yard would seem once we removed everything from it.  My friend Joyce happens to be a Landscape Architect and she’s been helping us remotely with the project.  It’s mostly Dave doing all the work and it’s been overwhelming at times because of the sheer size and also because we’ve never done anything like this before.  We rented a skid steer and basically took everything out except for one pond.

skid steer backyard diy
Dave and a friend the first day of the big tear out.  Everything is gone now – it’s all dirt!

I haven’t felt inspired with this backyard design.  I’m very comfortable and cosy when it comes to interiors.  I can look at, talk about and think about interiors until you would collapse beside me from boredom.  However, when it comes to outdoor landscape design I feel untethered and troubled – this is just not my wheelhouse.  I see some images I like, but most of it doesn’t appeal to me or doesn’t seem attainable.  Here’s one thing I’ve learned:  when you type in “rustic casual backyard” all you get are wedding inspiration photos!  I had no idea weddings have the corner on the “rustic casual” market.

In my sporadic landscape inspiration searches – I stumbled across a short blog post by Clyde Oak that spoke to me entitled “Clients Hire Me to Take Things Away.”  Here’s the big idea:  “The more taken away the more gained.”    The article relates this to the more plants you have, the less impact your design will have.  This speaks to me for interiors also – the more design elements you employ, the less impact your design will have.

This “taking this away” sentiment also feels important to me at this point in my somewhat hectic modern life.  I don’t want or need to be so connected to work every minute of the day.  I don’t need to fill my child’s life with activity every hour of the day.  I don’t need to fill my own time that way.  Having space to think, enjoy a good meal, read a book, play a game with my family, and even (literally) look at the stars – all of these things are more important than we realize and can only gained by taking things away.

Here are some landscapes I like the look of and before you tell me – I do know that a lot of these aren’t in our zone and most of these are quite out of my price range.  But, dreaming is fun and I’m quite good at it.

herringbone brick
Herringbone brick?! Gorgeous stone trough too! (Photo Source)
desert fountain
I love the large stone birdbath/fountain and the simplicity of this scene. (Photo Source)
stone fountain
Another fountain with gravel, boxwood and trees! (Photo Source)
hardscape material mix
Beautiful mix of hardscaping materials and I love the plant border! (Photo Source)

I just now realized that all of the above photos have stone troughs.  I think I must really love stone troughs filled with water!

colorado landscape with fire pit
A more Colorado-looking landscape – but I don’t like the brown chairs….(Photo Source)
steel fire ring
Much like a stone trough, if there’s an image with a fire pit out there I will like it. I like the landscape here and the minimalist sensibility of this steel fire ring. (Photo Source)
sectional sofa gravel
This shows that if you put a sectional sofa on gravel I will like it and think it’s brilliant. Ha! (Photo Source)
dining table xeriscape
I like the flagstone here paired with the gravel and the native looking plants. I could do without the Pier 1 table styling though! (Photo Source)
simple modern backyard
I love how simple and modern this is. (Photo Source)
gravel path garden
I love this image. I think there’s something powerful about a path that leads to a middle, open area and then a path beyond. (Photo Source)

Taking things away = more gained.  






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