Why "Designer Look" will never last!
I recently read an article about the UK banning the sale of fake designer furniture. The author of the article made the point that Australians often don't know the difference between furniture that has been designed and designer knock-offs. The result is a proliferation of furniture stores selling knock-offs at a fraction of the price of the real thing and, after the UK's stand, Australia leaves itself open to be a dumping ground of poor quality, "designer look" furniture.
The same can be said for the landscape industry, considering the proliferation of DIY shows explaining how to create a "designer look," the general public can be forgiven for thinking that "designer look" is to be desired and, what's worse, a "designer look" is the outcome of commissioning a landscape design.
Good design relies on more then looks alone. Landscape designers respond to the parameters of the place, taking into account the architecture, climate and the client; a garden becomes a logical extension of what already exists. "Designer Look" landscapes take a cookie cutter approach, ignoring the site almost completely and overlaying the landscape with whatever happens to be in vogue.
Cookie cutter gardens can get away with it for a while, after all who doesn't love to be on the cutting edge of style and fashion?! However, after a year or two, the cracks start to show. The cheap, "designer look" stack stone falls off its cement sheet backing, the latest in fashionable trees grows too big, making the garden dark and cold, and the fancy pressed concrete driveway starts to date horribly. Before you know it, you're stuck with a low value eyesore, hard to maintain and impossible to love.
Just like their furniture counterpart, well-designed and constructed gardens are more then items of fashion. They are a statement of a place and time and offer an intuitive response to how people want to live in the real world. Fashions come and go, however a garden that responds to its location will last the test of time and outlive any style faux pas. Whereas, copies of well-designed gardens or gardens following the latest trends lack context and date very quickly.
Gardens have the potential to maximise the value of a property, not only adding hundreds of thousands to the sale price, but also increasing the quality of life for the people who use the space. The only way to guarantee maximum value is to commission a professional design from a designer you trust and can collaborate with. Anything less and your kidding yourself and missing the point of what a garden has to offer.