Green Space: Building momentum

There is an old adage I heard somewhere during my education that challenges landscape designers to “seek the genius of the place.” It’s a philosophy that guides me when I’m designing a landscape, but I’ve discovered it applies to many areas of my life – from molding children to running a magazine.

As you might have read in our September issue, former TLC Editor, Jack Roberts, recently had the opportunity to return to his first love – trucking – and transferred to one of our sister magazines, Commercial Carrier Journal. Jack and Christina Jesson Schave, our managing editor, started TLC two years ago and got some serious momentum going. I’m honored they called me in to help keep it rolling forward. With a master’s degree in landscape architecture from North Carolina State, a commercial pesticide applicator’s license, and 15 years of writing and editing experience as first a freelancer, then senior garden editor with Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications, and later associate garden design editor with Southern Living magazine, I feel like I’m a round peg settling snuggly into a round hole.

I’ve also spent time in the trenches (sometimes literally), working as a designer and crew supervisor with various nurseries, a world-class golf course, and my own business. I don’t claim to be an expert in everything, but it helps to have a little first-hand experience with the tractors, utility vehicles, stump grinders, wood chippers, chainsaws, and spray rigs that we’re featuring in the pages of TLC.

As a designer, I relish renovating existing landscapes – helping clients perform triage to determine which elements should remain (perhaps even highlighted) and which ones need to be hauled to the curb. Grand new houses with bare dirt landscapes and clients that give you free reign are quicker money-makers, but I love the challenge of an existing landscape (or existing magazine). I call it “landscape chess.” (If we have this 100-year-old white oak here, then let’s shift the parking pad to here, then we need to move this small weeping willow to the kids’ play area, and so forth). The designs that come together best are when the owner has lived with their landscape through a few seasons.

To lead a magazine that has been growing for two years, I’ll be living with it a bit and evaluating what should remain, what can be improved, and what needs judicious pruning. I’ll look to you, our readers, to voice your opinions. I’ll do my best to mold them into articles that are functional and aesthetically pleasing – just as anything of genius should be.

The Attachments Idea Book
Landscapers use a variety of attachments for doing everything from snow removal to jobsite cleanup, and regardless of how often they are used, every landscaper has a favorite attachment.
Attachments Idea Book Cover