January 31, 2011

According to John: Gardens are for People

John and Bob are huge proponents of gardening and gardens to make our lives better. Historically, no one advocated that sentiment better than well known landscape architect Thomas Church. He is best known for his focus on residential gardens which earned him widespread credit for being the creator of the modern California garden. His influence is felt well beyond California and epitomized by the title of his classic book “Gardens are for People”, which was originally published in 1955 and then reprinted several times after that. His focus on the needs and comfort of people and useful living spaces has been a concept we find inspirational and practical. [caption id="attachment_647" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Stanford University Student Union, design by: Thomas Church"]Stanford University Student Union,  design by: Thomas Church[/caption] In “Gardens are for People,” Church elegantly dedicated an entire chapter to “garden terraces where you will use them.” He explained that the nature of these outdoor rooms should be determined by their use. “If it’s for shelling the peas it should be sheltered from the wind, if it’s for sleeping it should be quiet and if it’s for drinking, it should be level.” Level for drinking, I have found that to be great advice. Gardens that have spaces for the morning paper or coffee, talking to neighbors, waiting for a ride, tasting your home grown fruits and vegetables, special meals, or just restful enjoyment can dramatically improve the scope and use of our gardens. Gardens are for people and we believe the initial focus of garden design should be on making sure our needs for shelter, activity, shade, comfort, beauty, resource and cost conservation, links with nature, and maintenance provisions should be addressed with careful consideration. In doing so, we elevate the value of our gardens, our property and the opportunity for life fulfilling moments.