Every man should know how to landscape – and I don’t just mean mowing grass. Doesn’t the idea of a square, expressionless suburban lawn bore you to tears?
Half of what makes the homes of the wealthy (and tastefully wealthy) so attractive is the shape and quality of their grounds. The trees, shrubs, stones, dirt, fences, hills, and gullies of your land can add dignity and beauty to your house as well.
I’m undergoing the process of learning some skills of landscape maintenance now, and remembering some principles of landscape design. As the son of someone who used to have a landscape business division, I should have learned more earlier. But I’ve inherited plenty of work experiences and probably some subtle indoctrination over the years.
You’ve got to know where to put trees. You’ve got to pay attention to sunlight. You’ve got to think about drainage of the ground. You need to think about breaking up visual monotony with variety. You can’t make things too straight or too square – nature prefers a little bit of chaos. You’ve got to understand and incorporate native tree and plant life. You’ve got to choose good irrigation. And you do have to maintain it all – mowing, weedeating, trimming, pruning, hacking.
It’s both an art and a backbreaking exercise in labor, but knowledge and experience in both will let you understand and access the beauty you’ve seen in your favorite yards, farms, and parks. If – like me – you think the outdoors is more important than the indoors – landscaping should be near electrical, mechanical, or carpentry know-how in terms of value.