Inspiration for elevating your exteriors and curb appeal is right under our nose.
By Scott Hamilton Harris
With so many amazing designers to engage with, how do you find the right one? Do we pick the one with the flashiest car, or the one with the best smile? Do we pick the one with the greatest reputation, or the one that mom insists on?
The answer is right under our nose. Mother nature has done a brilliant job at designing our earth, the mountains we hike on, the trails we carve through and the fields we capture with photographs. Why not hire her this summer if she’s not booked?
I’ve tried to Google her phone number with no such luck. I’m fairly well connected in the industry, but she didn’t exist in anyone’s black book. Maybe the answer is obvious, she exists everywhere. And maybe I just have to mimic her genius and apply some of her lessons to my home.
The first thing I noticed was, as I started my morning hike, something I had never realized before. There wasn’t a single bad color choice. The brightest of magentas, the hottest of pinks, an obscene amount of shades of green, all fit perfectly together without a single color out of place. What’s her secret? How did she take millions of shades and make them blend so perfectly, while I’ve had challenges blending two to three colors for the front of my home? While I can’t claim to understand her perfect sense of balance and harmony, a thought occurred. What if I take my colors I selected for my summer, paint project and sit them in the garden? That’s it! I picked out 10 colors that looked so perfect on the paint fans, ordered a bigger sample and sat them in my yard.
Allow yourself to be inspired, visually record nature’s beauty and recreate one of the most simply sustainable, natural and attractive landscapes, shade structures and color palettes…”
As I stood back, with my bad coffee in my favorite mug from dad, I squinted and saw three colors that blended with everything. It was the perfect juxtaposition. It was like the perfect romance that you feel on every level, but somehow you can’t explain.
With that figured out, what else did Mother Nature master? The harmony of heights! In the mountains beyond the field I was standing in that morning, I noticed that every blade of grass and every low shrub to tall tree was neither contrived nor symmetrical, but it was somehow, mysteriously proportional. With my flattish looking front yard, why not invite Mother Nature to improve my curb appeal? I picked up a bundle of cut off posts from my local lumberyard that were in the “oops” pile, and took them home along with a few bags of dry concrete mix-in bags.
I dug a few random holes that were selected and started by the gophers. Mother nature made the gophers, so why not take the help and hints? Then I filled them with the dry-mix concrete and sat in the random height posts, grabbed the hose and filled them with water until it was saturated. Why waste your time mixing when this works right? Then the best part, I picked up a few trays of creeping fig ivy and planted them so they would climb up and around the posts during the long sunny days the same way they climb the trees in a forest. On a few, I installed solar lights to make them sing and twinkle in the summer evenings. Now I have a modern take on a mini-natural-trail right in my front yard. From all of the people passing by, at first, I wasn’t sure if I hired the right person. But, when they shared with me it was one of the most beautiful and unique front yard gardening techniques they’ve seen (and having my neighbors recreate their own versions of it), I realized this summer that I hired the right designer, Mother Nature.
I then thought, “Why stop there?” I tried it again with bigger posts from the “oops” pile and stretched a fabric wind sail I ordered online, and laced some herringbone brick down over a bed of sand in the backyard. I then placed a table that I found at a garage sale that I didn’t know what to do with, under the sun sail. It quickly transformed into a fairy tale-like outdoor living space for my family this season that possibly even Roy Disney would have admired.
This summer, take an early morning walk, and daydream like Archimedes, the Greek mathematician credited for the greatest of discoveries, while walking through nature. Allow yourself to be inspired, visually record nature’s beauty and recreate one of the most simply sustainable, natural and attractive landscapes, shade structures and color palettes that your neighborhood may have ever seen. Elevate your life and lifestyle this season!