A Connecticut Landscape Designer’s Garden

People I meet all the time always say to me “you must have the most beautiful gardens at your house”.  Well, I’m sure you’ve heard “the shoe-maker’s wife often goes in ragged shoes”.  I can relate!  The fact is my own house is a work in progress and most likely will always be a work in progress.    So how does a landscape designer approach his own property?  I do have a partial landscape design complete but it isn’t your typical plan.  It is very conceptual, designing space rather than what plant goes where.  At one time we had a quaint little mixed perennial garden around our carriage house.  We have since built a more ‘normal’ house towards the back of our property.  Since moving out back, the carriage house garden is definitely not the well manicured landscape it once was.  The new house is where we focus most of our attention now.  In the new house, we lived for three years without a front walkway and another three years without a single plant.  After 7 years, I’d love to say our property ismagazine worthy, but it isn’t.  I am definitely feeling good at what little we have landscaped but there is still plenty to do.  A major retaining wall project, a bluestone patio with seating wall, a fence, another retaining wall with steps, rebuilding an old farm wall and plants, lots and lots of plants. Oh, that’s not the complete list, but it would put us well on the way towards completion.   As for the garden, I look at the landscape surrounding our house more as a trial garden than anything else.  Garden stalwarts mixed in with tropicals, annuals, uncommon perennials I am always testing as well as a bunch of perennials we haven’t had much luck with at our clients properties in the past. If they don’t perform here, they will be removed from my list forever.  Some day, I hope our landscape comes to fruition but in the mean time, a little progress every year is always welcome. 

Once the Hollies get a little larger, our front yard will really look like something.

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Richard Schipul

For the last 30 years, I have owned the landscape company Designing Eden LLC based in New Milford, CT. We offer landscape designs, landscape installations and garden maintenance services in Fairfield and Litchfield County Connecticut. I am currently the only Nationally Certified Landscape Designer in Litchfield County and sit on the board of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and Mad Gardeners.


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