“We may think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.”
– Jenny Uglow
With spring in the air and flowers in bloom, inspiration abounds. The sunshine and green grass highlight the canvas of our rolling hillsides and lush lawns – a beautiful landscape that reflects your personality and home.
This week we were excited to talk with Christine Krause, local landscape designer, and get the inside scoop on how to channel the renewed energy of spring through gardening. With a “classic, sophisticated, and fresh” style, Christine says, “The most successful projects allow for harmonious connections between people and their natural environments.”
Q: Tell me more about yourself
A: I’ve been a Residential Landscape Designer, working in NW CT, The Hudson Valley, and The Berkshires since 2006. I was originally drawn to the area during my children’s time at The Hotchkiss School. After obtaining my degree and working in London, I eventually planted my roots in Salisbury. The natural beauty of the area continues to inspire me and influence my designs.
I am very excited about new design medium that I’ve recently added to my design process called 3D Visualization. This innovative tool not only offers high-quality three-dimensional renderings but also delivers a comprehensive view of the new design. It enables our clients to fully experience the new design and feel what it will be like to relax, enjoy, participate, and engage in the new space. It can also often prevent costly errors and mistakes.
Q: How much on average should a new homeowner invest in their Properties Landscape Design?
A: In my experience, investing 15-20% percent of the value of your home leads to the greatest ROI. Remember that hardscape features, such as pavers, stonewalls, decks, and patios are part of the landscape investment
Q: Speaking of “ROI,” what amount of property value increase can an owner expect to see after implementing a landscaping design?
A: Real estate studies suggest that you can increase the value of your home 15 percent by upgrading your landscape from “poor to good,” and upwards of 20% over time if you invest in a professionally designed plan for your property. Generally, more expensive homes have greater potential to increase in value from a well-designed and well-installed landscape. Design sophistication and plant size have been shown to be the most important landscape factors that affect value. Thus, investing in the services of a landscape design professional will optimize the value of a home. In contrast to many home improvements, the value of an investment in a landscape improvement increases over time since the growth and maturity of trees and shrubs enhance aesthetic appeal.
Q: and a seller?
The first impression you create is critical. I would recommend investing in a thorough property clean-up, taking care of all drainage and potential water issues, repairing any broken elements such fencing/gates, stone walls, or walkways. Make sure that your outside lighting is working properly!
Adding planters, edging beds and getting “camera ready” could make the difference between an interested buyer and a drive-by missed sale. Send the message that the property is well cared for.
If the property requires any planting to add that curb appeal, I would focus on soft evergreen plantings such as Boxwood or a small, deciduous tree or shrubs that are long blooming such as Hydrangea. If the budget is a consideration, it is better to have 2 lovely planters with boxwood flanking the door, than several too small and out-of-scale shrubs along the foundation.
Q: What can one expect when working with a Landscape Designer?
A: A Landscape Designer or Architect provides a vision for your property. I work closely with my clients throughout the creative process so that their goals for their property are brought to life in the Master Plan. I then work with you to implement and project manage various aspects of this plan. We also do a lot of nitty-gritty work that is critical to your home’s functioning such as grading plans, technical details for drainage, layout dimensions, construction details for built elements, and planting lists for estimating purposes.
Q: WHAT actually is a MASTER DESIGN PLAN?
A: A Master Plan will establish and describe the character of all the spaces in the landscape and their relationships to each other. At the Master Plan level, spaces are defined and described by the shape, size, materials and the elements found in and around them. General planting concepts that reinforce the spaces are highlighted on the plan.
This is the first phase of design, so it is common that many ideas and concepts are presented, keeps an open line of communication with our clients to effectively tailor the design to their needs. The final Master Plan is an illustrative, rendered drawing that serves as the framework for the upcoming Construction Documentation and Planting Plan phase.
Q: How do you decide what to do first?
A: The best way to proceed is to use the Master Plan as your road map and begin to phase in aspects of the plan as follows:
Phase 1 MUST HAVE’S
Initially focus on the MUST HAVE’S and invest in your properties infrastructure. It’s critical to implement the non-sexy elements of the plan before any plants or other features are built. This includes stormwater management, proper drainage, proper grading, removal of invasive species, clearing overgrown wooded areas, especially to begin to create any potential views. Don’t be afraid to remove plants or trees that don’t fit your plans.
Phase 2 IMPORTANT-TO-HAVE
I would then recommend implementing any major hardscape additions. The installation of walkways, terraces, pools, fencing, outdoor kitchen, or built-in grill, stone fire pit or fireplace. These all involve some of your property becoming a construction site and you don’t want to have to be worried about any new plantings you just had installed.
I would also plant as many of the trees and shrubs on the Planting plan that your budget allows. Well-placed trees add value to your property and help conserve energy by shading your home.
Phase 3 LOVE-TO-HAVE
Begin to fill in and more details-Install the Vegetable or Cutting Garden you’ve always wanted, establish a Native meadow, add a sculpture or piece of art to the garden, add a water feature. These are all of the pieces that make your outdoor space your own and provide you with the most enjoyment.
Q: What suggestions would you have for planting?
A: Natives are a hot topic.
Plant shrubs and flowers that you see thriving in the area (Besides Bittersweet!) that will provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies, and other welcome creatures.
Q: What are some outdoor design Trends that you see for 2018?
A: A few things that I’m working on that I love:
- Decking areas being combined with stone or concrete. I am a huge fan of stained concrete. It can be used in a more traditional setting or relates perfectly to a Contemporary home.Chic Outdoor Dining areas farther away from the house that become oases for dining or weekend brunch “en plein air.”
- Sustainability and climate change are a part of the dialogues.
- Low maintenance ground covers or meadows and grasses replacing lawns.
- Rainwater Harvesting
- Use of Permeable Surfaces
- People want a vegetable but don’t always like it to look utilitarian. Opt for good-looking planters to replace cedar raised beds or consider incorporating vegetable plantings into a perennial bed making them a focal point.
- Year round interest in plant material is not a new trend but continues to be relevant especially in our climate. I like to focus on layered grasses, boxwood, Juniper, perennials that hold their structure when not cut back in the fall
- The most important “trend” that never gets old is to create what you love to look at the outside of your window every day.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Classic, sophisticated, and fresh.
Q: What is your Design Philosophy?
A: I believe in drawing out what matters most in my client’s lifestyle and their desires for their property and then creating that vision. The most successful projects go beyond design or the greenery that catches your eye. The most successful projects allow for harmonious connections between people and their natural environments.