Clean, Green & Well Defined
A Clean, Green and Well-defined Landscape
By: Russell Camp - Landscaping Coach
My wife accuses me of over-simplifying things. I prefer to think I am extraordinarily pragmatic. Somewhere in the middle my philosophy/strategy of landscape care has evolved.
"Clean, green, and well-defined" was a mantra chanted by landscape management guru Phil Christian at his seminars for landscape professionals in the 1990's. Mr. Christian has departed this earth, but his mantra lives on. I have taken this and lived it in my professional career, and I know it is quite applicable to you and your home landscape.
Let's break it down, shall we?
Clean is the absence of clutter. Are there toys scattered about? Is there litter on the ground? Are there the remains of unfinished (or yet to be started) projects around the house? The overall impression of the property is that it is neat and orderly. Of course every one has junk, but some hide it better than others. This kind of clean has little to do with horticulture, but lots to do with how your home looks, and 'looks' is what it's all about, right? Clean is also the absence of weeds in beds and in natural areas. The bits of bermudagrass sneaking through the pine straw around your crepemyrtle, or the honeysuckle vine lounging on top of your foundation plants makes them look less clean. Similarly, tufts of grass or Sweet Gum sprouts in your 'natural' areas will distract the eye. Pull them, spray them, or prevent them in the first place. One last area for cleanliness is the lawn. A vast ocean of identical blades of grass, what ever species is present, just warms the cockles of my heart. Any other plant becomes a weed in this scenario. Just the visual texture of a patch of goose grass, or a few sprouts of nutsedge in an otherwise healthy lawn will make it look 'unclean'. Even in a dormant warm season grass in the winter, that sea of soft brown is much more appealing than the same with random spots of green here and there.
Green is, well...green. It's a healthy green for whatever you have in your landscape, tempered by the season. If you have your landscape on a moderate program of fertilization, most things will be green enough. In fact, at most homes in the Atlanta area, just fertilizing the turf on a regular basis will provide enough nutrients for trees and shrubs near by. It's not ideal, mind you, but it's o.k. That being said, make sure if you are broadcasting a "weed & feed" lawn fertilizer containing a weed killer make sure to avoid spreading it over the top of root sytems of desirable shrubs and trees as this can seriously harm or damage these plants.
Well-defined is more in the eye of the beholder. You may have an affinity for the cottage look, which defies 'defined'. Conversely, you may have everything clipped to look like a ladies hat box which screams the 'Man's Domination Over Nature' theme. For most of us, simply making a crisp edge of the grass along the driveway and curb, and having the shrubs relatively neat is definition enough.
Following the 'clean, green, and well-defined' plan means you don't have to have PhD in Horticulture or be a slave to your yard.
At your service,
Other articles by Russell Camp
An Introduction to Landscape Maintenance - By: Russell Camp