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In 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.

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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 Testimonials:

"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