{cookie cutter gardens}

You may ask, "what do cookie cutters have to do with gardening?". Well it's a terminology I've given to all those gardens out there that look identical to the neighbours, the one around the corner, or around the block. You know the ones: highly manicured and clipped gardens with a green hedge made up of either Murraya paniculata, Buxus or Vibrunum spp., a square of lawn, a couple of standard iceberg roses and maybe a border of Mondo Grass.
Following on from my last post I got to thinking - instead of feeling angry about such a short-sighted opinion I found I was more frustrated by such an uneducated point of view. It's not a new point of view for me. I've always held a torch for creating gardens that are individual and designed specifically for the site they sit within and the client who will be using them.

Whilst I can completely understand taking a liking to a particular style or theme and using certain designs as precedence, I have trouble understanding why you would want a garden that looked exactly the same as someone elses?  And so I came up with the term "cookie cutter gardens".

Reading of the case of Julie Bass, in Michigan and the statement made by the city planner, Mr  Rulkowski, it dawned on me that the issue is more a case of someone not fitting the social norm and not following the trend that society sets out telling us how we should act or appear. By not fitting the comfortable stereotype and being different her garden was deemed inappropriate.

It has been something I have thought about for some time - why are there so many gardens that look so much the same? And why do people insist on using such a limited plant palette? I have spoken with others in the industry and asked for their thoughts/opinions on the matter, they've all had similar responses along the lines of: "people like to use what is proven to look good", "people are scared to step outside the square" or "that's what's in the magazines and TV shows, so that's what people want". Whatever the reason I'm certainly not laying blame or saying it's wrong - just wondering why???
Would you choose to be: 'same same' or 'different'?

When I was writing my business plan for {hort couture} I realised that one of the most important elements I wanted to deliver my clients was a custom design approach. Rather than creating ‘cookie cutter’ gardens with a limited planting palette, I want to ensure an individual and site specific planting palette is recommended. Sure, if a client likes the Jones' garden down the road that's fine - I want to understand what they like about it and find a way that we can use certain elements as precedence only, making the garden unique in it's own way so it is not a mirror reflection.

To me a garden is to a gardener what a canvas is to an artist. Creating a garden is an art. You can purchase a one-off original commissioned piece of artwork that takes all things into consideration for just you and your garden  or a stock-standard, mass-printed poster from IKEA that is produced for the masses. 

With a bit of research and proper planning there is no reason you can’t extend your plant palette a bit, buck the latest fashion trend for gardens ... murraya hedges, standard iceberg roses and buxus borders, and make your garden stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons – after all who wants to see themselves in the same outfit as everyone else walking down the street?

Images: i am baker

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