Master landscaping is hard to master

I think it’s really important to practice what you preach. Most people would agree with that. Just to be clear, I think it’s important for YOU to practice what you preach. I also think it’s important for you to practice what I preach. Because sometimes I don’t.

Everyone is like that about something, at some point, in their life. It’s just that most of us are either too polite to point out when someone blows their own rule or we just can’t be there when they blow it.

There is an area in my life I’d like to come clean about with my regular readers. If you are not a regular reader, I suggest more fiber. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.

Landscaping is something I love to enjoy. Beautiful paths through lush gardens with waterfalls and Koi ponds. Sitting on benches strategically placed to shade you while you take a break to soak up all the fall colors. Every leaf and blade of grass perfectly manicured for maximum enjoyment.

In my opinion, great landscaping is a combination of plants and trees, “hardscape” (concrete, walls, and other “built-ins”), and “eye candy” (like statues and fire pits). It all adds up to a perfect place to be outside. In fact, good landscaping makes you want to stay outside when it’s 120 degrees or when it’s raining.

Yes, landscaping is something I like to preach about but not something I practice all that well. However, I do have a friend who does practice it very well, and to an extraordinary degree – exactly

what he preaches. He is a landscape architect and his yard is like a park.

Actually, more like some sort of botanical garden.

There are foot bridges, Koi ponds, waterfalls, an outdoor kitchen, a covered patio with a hammock, color everywhere, and all kinds of places to relax and contemplate your own lack of landscaping abilities!

Whenever I’ve been in my friend’s yard, I keep expecting a serpent to ask if I’d like an apple – it’s that pretty and nice!

At night, it’s like some sort of “Disney patio” with landscape lighting that calls attention to all those previously mentioned features. Plus, all the tree limbs are accented with light to really make the yard one of the most impressive places you can imagine.

Where is this place? How can you get your yard to look just like it? Well, my friends, it’s a highly-placed secret but, because you are regular readers – that is to say, you read my column every week – I’m going to give you some clues … and you always can send me an email to request additional information!

The “practice what you preach landscape architect” is a fellow by the name of Shawn Burch. He has an office in Redlands. He does do residential landscape design but the majority of his work has been for larger projects like schools, shopping centers, and buildings. His house is not in Redlands – fooled you on that one.

(No, this is not a shameless plug for a friend. I’m telling you, this really is a nice landscape job.)

As far as, “where can I see this?”, well, I haven’t worked out the admission price deal on Shawn’s house. It seems his wife wants some input before I invite all of you over to hang out in the back yard. We better hold off on the potluck for now. I’m thinking we should include it in some sort of charity tour but my yard is the only other spot that I’ve signed up so far and my wife also wants input before I invite you over to see my weeds and hacked-up trees.

So, I started this column by talking about practicing what you preach. Some people talk about not gossiping as a prelude to ask you not to repeat the gossip they are about to tell you. Some people talk about how much money they save at the grocery store by using coupons, while they order another pu pu platter at the expensive restaurant. I practice what I preach in lots of other ways, but when I want to hear a sermon about landscaping, I’m heading to my friends house!

Have a home improvement or real estate question or comment? Send it to Matt Le Vesque at P.O. Box 1527, Highland, CA 92346 or, or call him at 800-841-1999, and he will consider it for his column. Please include your full name and city of residence. Le Vesque is a general engineering/building contractor and Realtor in Redlands.

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