Friday, June 7, 2013

Creativity Challenge - the Sequel

     Last week I challenged you to be creative and think beyond the easy and simple.  I showed you an example of my work in which I took a site that had a simple but less than desirable solution and re-designed it to have a more satisfying solution.  The end result was a completed project that has been extremely  successful as a built development.
     What about your individual site?  Can you make use of features on your site to enhance it?  Take a good look at your site.  Is there something unique about it that you have maybe overlooked?  You might have even seen it as a problem and missed it as a possibility.
     I had a client who called me out to look at their site because it had a creek in the back yard.  "What do I do with this?" she asked.  "It's so ugly and it takes up so much of the back yard."  The back yard was indeed ugly, but it was not ugly because it had a creek.  What made the space ugly was the fact that someone had cleared to the edge of the creek and was trying to grow and mow grass in an area that was clearly wet a good portion of the time.  The grass was growing, but was thin and not holding the banks in place.  Undermining had occurred in a number of places and left large holes in the lawn as well.  I asked her if there was some particular reason why they were trying to have a lawn in this area.  Did they have children who liked to play ball there, or did they need to have the space for lawn parties.  As it turned out, they were growing grass there because that is what they thought was the thing to do.  All of their neighbors had large grass lawns.  With a bit of imagination and some work, they transformed this area into a paradise with small, flowering trees, sweeps of colorful plantings and areas of ground covers.  They no longer had to mow; although they did have to do some weeding and they had an amenity rather than an eyesore.
     I had another client who wanted to remove a good number of the trees on his site because he felt that the house was too dark.  His wife also wanted more light in the house but did not want to lose the trees.  The trees were an obvious advantage on the site and their removal would have seriously adversely affected the site.  They were amazed when I suggested doing some strategic limbing of the trees and even more amazed at the airiness that they obtained after the job was complete.

   Most recently, I have watched as a neighbor struggled with a large and quite dead cherry tree.  They cut off the limbs and worked their way down to the trunk eventually stopping at about three feet from the ground.  At this point they began to have trouble cutting it further to the ground so they left the tall stump.  Recently, they came up with the perfect solution.  They chiseled a hole near a crotch in the stump, filled it with soil and planted it.  Now a gladiola is blooming there.  Problem solved!  A stump became a very unique planter.
     Don't be afraid to be creative.  We all have creativity as a part of our makeup.  Let your imagination rule for awhile and challenge the conventions of the people around you.  So what if all of your neighbors have a grass lawn and a row of Japanese holly neatly hedged across the front of their houses.  If you don't find that to be pleasing or if it does not work with what you have on your site than feel free to do something different.  The people around you might not understand at first and they might criticize, but I would be willing to bet that eventually they will come to value your creativity and maybe even follow your lead.

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