In our blog post last week, we considered the biblical challenge to “break up your fallow ground." While much can be drawn from the instruction, the goal with the post was simply to encourage a winter spent dreaming and planning for new beginnings in the spring; to avoid letting our desire for beautiful properties slip away by letting our dreams and plans go fallow through the winter.
Ah, but dreaming. It’s hard to dream and plan for a thing when the thing remains unknown. Sure, there’s an empty corner in my back yard, but how would I know what to put there? Sure, my patio is nice but what brings it from good to great?
For the next few weeks, we’d like to contribute what we can to your dreaming process by posting on several niche-type landscape additions for your consideration. This week: Garden Ponds and Waterfalls.
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." - John Muir
For a great number of people that we’ve designed and installed landscapes for over the years, the desire to move forward with a plan is less about improving the resale value of the home or filling gaps in the garden and more about bringing nature into their private space. I think it’s fair to say that, for those who engage it, time spent in nature speaks to us in ways that the rest of our hours and activities cannot. This is due, I think, to nature’s attributes. For the most part, nature is peaceful. It’s quiet. It’s endlessly interesting and ceaselessly active. Nature bears the complexity of mathematics but has no proctor to guide the examination. And on some level, we recognize these things about nature and many of us determine to bring more of it closer to home. More wood, more stone, more birds, more color and texture and sounds, and a little more wildlife. More nature.
Apart from the plants, one of the most surprisingly efficient and effective ways to move this nature closer is with water. Moving water. Falling water. Gurgling water. A small garden pond with falling water is a wildlife attractor like none other. It provides an oasis for birds and butterflies in a space which may, without the water, provide only a place to sit - but there are sitting places everywhere. When water is added to the landscape, the wildlife is given a great reason to remain nearby; to live and to sing nearby. And with this, a little more of what nature has to offer finds us.
But it’s not only the wildlife. It’s the sound of the water, itself. The sound of falling water gently splashing on natural stone redirects our attention from the busyness of the day and calls us to something more serene. It draws our attention like a nighttime campfire and holds it like a long-lost friend. This is a bit of nature worth bringing home.
As you’re dreaming about the fallow ground that you may want to break up next year, consider the natural elements. Which of them might be lacking in your landscape? Which of them are pleasing to you? Consider stone. Consider sound. Consider wildlife. And consider water. Dream a little. If you’d like more help with the dreaming, let us know. The value that the natural elements can bring far outweighs the cost of a plan.
Stay tuned for more dreaming next week.