A Natural Landscape in Litchfield County

We are working on a new landscape on the New Milford/Washington line. The property sits at a high elevation on old farm land. I would say the site is a somewhat difficult place to garden due to the constant winds that occur on an almost daily basis. The planting also consists of two, very different environments; a dry meadow with a rain garden within the border. This design kicked my butt to be honest. It was a real challenge. This new landscape is meant to provide some screening from the neighboring property. We did not want to screen the property line the way many often do, by lining out a row of evergreens.  This form of landscaping works for the short term but it often fails as a long term approach. My clients are a younger couple and it’s reasonable to assume they will be in this house for 20-30 years so we needed to take a different approach. Many forget that those cute little 10-12′ evergreens eventually grow into 100′ tall by 20-30′ wide behemoths. Evergreens also don’t like competition. When they grow into each other, their needles die. At that point, the planting becomes more of an eyesore than an asset. The design concept for this garden was to replicate the succession of the farm meadows that surround the home. Abandoned farm fields slowly revert back to forest over time. In the first couple of years, our native grasses and wildflowers cohabitate. Shortly thereafter, woody plants start to seed into the meadow. Some of those woody plants continue to grow into trees. As those trees grow, they start casting shade onto the meadow, once again changing the plant makeup within the canopy from a sunny meadow to a shady environment. This garden will age just as an abandon farm field would. The evergreens are generously spaced throughout the length of the garden so they will never grow together yet they will provide a nice feeling of enclosure. As the evergreens grow, they will consume the smaller herbaceous plants that surround them. Throughout the length of this garden, plants will cohabitate, some will grow, some will need to be moved to provide room for the growing evergreens and larger shrubs or the smaller herbaceous plants will just be naturally consumed through competition. I can’t wait to see this garden develop over the years.

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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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