Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Foliage takes center stage in Autumn

This composition of plantings stopped me in my tracks yesterday on a drive home from a landscape design job. I'd been wanting to grab a picture of this beautiful yard near my home for a week or so, and this time I had my camera on me.

Look at that color! Not just the red maple, which is stunning, but also the blue spruce and chartreuse weeping willow. Show-stopping! The variety of color here is what I shoot for as a designer, so this grouping is very inspiring. It proves that great color diversity can be achieved with foliage (not only flowers), and late in the growing season.

Enjoy this last burst of color as you walk or drive around your neighborhood. Photograph it! Make art projects with leaves! Preserve it in any way you can to enjoy over the many grey days ahead.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Natural Playground - A Found Platform

While working in the yard last weekend, I made a perfect find for the natural playground - a platform. I was planning on building this, perhaps even with pallets, so I was thrilled to unearth one in the yard, covered with pachysandra. I have no idea what the previous owner used this for, but it was most likely part of the deck, since it's built with the same redwood planks.

Platforms are important in the natural playground, as they provide a hard place to sit, play, build with natural materials, perform, or even just rest, dream, and watch the clouds float by.

This lucky find got my husband out of building one component of the natural playground, but that's OK because I've got lots of others in mind! An easy add will be a rock pit - the previous owner lined paths in the backyard with large river rock, which we will place in a large circle and fill with pea gravel. My little guy will love playing with his construction trucks in there, and it won't cling to every bit of him like sand would. After that, we'll likely tackle a climbing wall similar to these:

Photo credit

If you're interested in learning more about natural playgrounds, this booklet is a neat find, with chapters that explains why outdoor play is so important to the health and development of our kids. It also has information on the safety of natural playgrounds, and a nice collection of pictures that will surely inspire you to get out there and build something for your little explorers.