The Green Art design approach:
A garden is a place where family and friends meet and where nature surrounds us. It has to fulfill functional requirements and at the same time it should be a place of beauty and provide access to Nature. According to recent design trends, many garden owners now also want to provide refuge to native plants, insects, amphibians, birds and many other creatures who are beautiful to see, fill our world with life and need our protection.
As we strive to achieve harmony between these goals we follow principles of sustainability.
We always seek a balance between beauty and function. In the design process, function comes first and dictates the basic layout of a landscaping project. Beauty and function are linked together. If that rule is abandoned, there is a risk that the result will appear tacky.
Our typical materials are natural stone and traditional materials such as clay brick. We keep the use of concrete and modern man-made materials, such as concrete pavers, at a minimum.
In our planting designs we aim at an integration of the landscape into the surroundings. This aesthetic goal also helps the technical side of it, because integration into a specific location also means to adapt the plant choices to the conditions of the site, which results in healthy, easy-to-maintain plantings.
Thomas Berger's design ambitions developed from his artistic background as a painter and sculptor, and from his life-long experience in horticulture and agriculture, gathered on four continents. Running his stonemasonry business for 20 years and a retail nursery for close to 10 years allowed him to gather profound knowledge in both fields. This hands-on background is instrumental in finding the best solutions for any challenging landscaping project. It is an experience that not many designers can draw from.
The design process includes:
understand wishes, preferences and taste of customer
site analysis: needs, conditions, restrictions of a particular site
define various areas with their proper function: vehicular traffic, pedestrian access, needs for recreational space, drainage, etc.
shape the land and work out grades: lay out driveways, walkways, patios, retaining walls, stairs, and erosion control
establish needs for vegetation: screening, background, focal points, groundcovers, etc.
refine vegetation: establish plant selection based on textures, colors, seasons etc., sizes and quantities
Defining the different plant species and varieties and their numbers includes understanding of site requirements and aesthetic possibilities. Foliage colors and textures, flower colors and flower seasons, the height and spacing of all plants, and of course all the factors relating to the soil and climate have to be considered. Thomas developed his own plants database for this purpose, which contains well over 2000 plants suitable for New England, and allows to search for almost 100 characteristics that describe each plant.
A good deal of our design work aims at finding solutions for problem locations, such as entrance areas that lack curb appeal, or adverse planting conditions such as dry shade, strongly draining slopes or sterile soils.
Depending on the project and the customers wishes, our designs contain one or several of the following parts:
(note: not all designs will require and contain all of these details)
|An overall landscape plan, usually in black& white, is the standard drawing that includes hardscaping and planting suggestions (offered in color for an additional fee). This can include the entire property or selected areas.|
|In case drainage, grading and other structural elements are a special focus of the work, a 'technical' landscape plan can be offered (and is sometimes needed for the installation crew)|
Drawings of details, elevations, drainage installations,
etc. can help to visualize the design or clarify certain aspects.
|Plant lists with trees, shrubs and perennials recommended for the site are included in all our design work as long as the focus is not entirely on the hardscaping.|
|In some cases we are not involved with the hardscaping elements of a project and we focus entirely on the planting design. This can be delivered on paper, but we also offer this design service by staking out plant locations on site (suitable for larger plant stock only).|
|Usually we provide a text describing the design, and including technical details relevant for the implementation.|
Please ask for our permission if you would like to use any of our photos, graphics or text!