terms of good landscape design, it’s seldom desirable to simply
trace property lines with fences or foliage. Doing so allows these
once invisible legal lines to dominate your landscape, influencing
almost every other decision and creating views that feel limited,
unnatural, disharmonious. Envisioning the property as a whole, the
best design may actually “erase” property lines, extending
your landscape by integrating it visually with adjoining properties.
We know that “erasing property lines” is not
for everyone — but when neighbors approach landscaping cooperatively,
as Lisa Strick and Ellen Ormond did, the results can be extraordinary.
Eschewing the linear for the curvilinear on both properties, we
were able to open space, let in light, blend visual elements harmoniously,
create broader, better views for both households — and encourage
an ongoing creative dialogue between neighbors.
Seeing the Strick-Ormond properties from the air, the artist who
conceived Regent Square’s bird mural said it seemed so unique
that she had to see it up close before deciding how to represent
it (see inset).
Ormond and Strick
"What made this work were good
advice from Mark, the fact that Lisa and Peter and I are friends,
our mutual interest in gardening, and our patience. The blending
of the property evolved gradually in the way that a friendship
evolves. The yards are different in style, yet complementary.
And the whole is much bigger than the parts — literally
in that we each have the effect of two yards in one, and figuratively
in that the spirit of cooperation gives a special feel to the
gardens." – Ellen Ormond
"The old saying 'good fences make
good neighbors' may work for some (I recommend it if you have
small children, loose dogs, or a yard full of invasive weeds);
however, it ignores the fact that, for most homeowners, the primary
view is of the neighbors’ yards. Erasing property lines
can improve your view dramatically and create the illusion that
your property is much larger than it actually is.
After removing the fence and hedge
which originally marked our borders, Ellen and I wanted to develop
a plan which would make our gardens appear to merge seamlessly.
Mark McKenzie provided valuable advice on both design and plant
selections that would help my love of Asian gardens and Ellen's
taste for traditional European-style plantings complement each
other rather than clash. The result has been both a friendship
strengthened by a mutual interest in gardening and a magnificent
landscape which is a joy every season of the year."
– Lisa Strick