The ‘before’ yard was rather generic and unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it. You’ll just have to trust me that it was the standard ‘Utah’ yard– complete with landscape island!
So, what is the deal with the landscape island anyway? It seems that nearly everyone in Utah believes they are supposed to have one– whether it makes sense in their yard or not! If YOU have one of these, consider eliminating it in favor of a landscape peninsula. What’s the difference? See below.
Landscape islands are psychologically uncomfortable and often improperly scaled or illogically placed. They go against your natural instincts and often camouflage the architecture landscaping is supposed to enhance. Sometimes, in an effort to avoid hiding the house, they are pushed the edge of the yard leaving bits of unusable grass that nevertheless requires a lot of water and maintenance.
In the landscape shown in this entry, we took an existing island and ‘anchored’ it by adjusting the shape and creating a path between the former island and the foundation plantings.
The path also creates a way to drag the garbage cans out on their proper day without messing up the lawn– a landscape still needs to function for the way real people live. Now, here is the part that is confusing because while an island is USUALLY a no no, you CAN create a peninsula (jutting out but attached on one side or end) and have that ‘feel’ just right. Confusing I know so I guess you’ll just have to trust me.
I’m not sure where the ‘before’ photos ended up but the island area was just a big circle of random plantings plopped into the lawn with little thought or reason– something everyone has seen dozens of times on any given street. There was no pathway to the backyard and the whole thing was BORING.
Here’s how we solved the problem. Oh– and notice the grade change we created within the beds, that also creates a feeling of ‘enclosure’ or protection that IS psychologically comfortable. I don’t think this landscape is my ‘best’ work because I’m finding my own style more and more with each subsequent landscape but I’m still happy with how it came out.
And a couple more photos of the rest of the front yard.
Landscape Design: Cynthia Bee, Design Resource
Landscape Installation: Sean Jones, Solscapes