Sunday, June 17, 2012

How NOT To Garden

I’ve been wanting to write this post for ages! There are few things that peeve me more than gardening run amuck, and unfortunately, that describes nearly 8 out of 10 homes in America by my estimation. I blame Better Homes and Gardens for most of this train-wreck along with Frank Lloyd Wright, the dingbat who started this whole mixing of houses with nature to begin with.
Take a close look at this monstrosity he created:

I ask you, how could you possibly get to the backside of this house to do any major structural repairs if you had to? How would you even begin to clean that idiotic glass that goes all the way to the roof on the left side? There’s so much foliage that there’s no place to put a ladder or a lift. And those upper windows are at least 35’ high. What’s worse is that it’s completely pointless. There’s such a thing as too many windows, and this is a prime example of it.

The following is great example of bad planning. Look at all this silly foliage completely mucking up the yard and burying the house. What happens when you need to do tuckpointing and painting or clean the windows and gutters? How would you get a ladder up to those windows on the left if you’re goofy enough to plant a tree right where the ladder has to go?

The following is similar. First look at how slanted the roof is. Obviously you can’t walk on it to clean the gutters. You’d have to do it from a ladder. But just where are you supposed to put a ladder? And who would be silly enough to spend 6 or 7 hundred grand on a house just to hide it behind a forest?

Here’s one last bad example. Now there’s a nice shade tree in the yard at just about the right distance from the house. It shades the house well and isn’t close enough to do much damage. But those bushes are gonna create a nightmare to try and work around. They may not be very tall, but they extend out about ten feet and butt right up against the house. If you had to put up a ladder, it would be so slanted that you couldn’t use it without taking your life in your hands. How would you paint the siding down behind the bushes when they’re right up against the house? I’ll tell you something else; planting a forest against your home is gonna do nothing but bring a ton of bugs into the house and undesirable varmints into the yard.

Look at this next one. See how nice and clean the house looks without a ton of garbage up against it. It could stand to have a couple of shade trees though.

When I was a kid in the 60s almost everybody planted their gardens AWAY from the house OUT in the yard instead of UP in the yard. Here’s an example of what you could do with a little creative thinking. Plants and trees are out away from the house the way they ought to be.

Here’s another example of a halfway decent way of doing things. There’s some foliage up near the house, but not bunched right up against it, and the foliage is small with quite a bit of room between adjoining plant-life. And the big trees are out away from house where they help instead of hurting things.

I especially like this last one. It’s a much smaller, sensible home with small plants that aren’t doing any real harm. Everything looks clean, easy to maintain, and easy to get to. All it takes is the slightest bit of common sense. Anybody can be a good gardener. Always ask yourself before you plant a tree, bush, or flower, "If I put it here, can I still get to my house from top to bottom in case I need to work on it?," because you WILL need to work on it!