It was once said to me that designers are the best at stealing ideas from each other. In fact, in school, modifying an idea from someone else was often encouraged. Perhaps the modern-day version of stealing ideas from each other can be summed up in one word. Pinterest. Interestingly, I’ve never used Pinterest as a means of stealing landscape ideas, though I have for just about any other creative venture I have tackled from party hosting, to Christmas gifts. Whether it’s Pinterest, flipping through magazines, or walking through nature, the smallest detail can spark an idea and no one is the wiser to the fact that it might not be 100% original.
One of my favorite ideas of all time that I received and modified, was during a design seminar taught by Greg Pierceall, a design instructor formerly of Purdue University. He had planted the tread of some stone steps to help soften the look of one slab on top of the other. He offset the steps so that they did not overlap and left about six inches to plant sedum groundcover. The idea was that most of the time people do not step that close to the next step, so why not use it for greening up the area.
Below is an idea of how it would turn out if English Ivy was used.
I decided to use the idea to plant groundcover between two different spaces of a patio. A lot of time different levels of patio can define one space unique from another space. The level change can signal a different use. However, it isn’t always practical to use two levels. I decided to make this patio the same level, but define the spaces with a six-inch break and Creeping Thyme planting in the gap. This way, the patio can be broken up with some green space without compromising the functionality. Here is the result pictured below.
So, my secret and those of countless other designers, it out. Designers have been “Pinteresting” for years. How convenient that all creative people have collaborated together and made our job so much easier!