But is there a standard? One ultimate example of landscaping everyone can point to in awe? If there is, I believe I’ve found it in hundreds of thousands of meticulously planted acres. Everywhere you look, not a blade of grass, flower or bush is out of place. Many plants are situated to spell out a particular name, and shrubs all over this expansion are trimmed to resemble animals or characters.
If you’ve already been there, then you may have guessed I’m talking about Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This amazing property should be a prerequisite primer for anyone training to be a professional landscaper. All of the maintenance is done in the wee hours of the morning or with the help of lights after the parks close, so it is as if it is done by magic to the casual observer.
The newest addition to the theme park line-up is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The original development team preserved most of the native plant life on the site then rerouted a stream to form an island in the middle of the park. This island has a large, magnificent man-made tree in its middle, which serves as the central point of reference as you make your way around the park.
What struck me most was the creativity park landscapers showed blending indigenous and native plants into designs representing climates from around the world – tropical jungles or Asian steppes – for example. On the African safari ride, an open-air bus drove us through realistic, grassy areas designed to look like the tree-less savannas in Africa – complete with live lions, rhinos, elephants, giraffes and crocodiles.
It was a magnificent example of professional landscaping done well, by a company that obviously believes the payback from their investment is substantial – and long lasting. I highly recommend a visit to anyone passionate about high-quality landscaping practices and results.