One thing I really enjoy about this profession is the incredible diversity of client wishes that are incorporated into master planning. For example, last week I was approached to do a real top-to-bottom makeover– a client recently purchased a home which– while truly lovely otherwise- had some crazy chaotic plantings throughout the space (banana trees? Yep!) This coupled with the client’s desire for Best Management Practices when it comes to Tick abatement as well as generous outdoor program elements like a fireplace, spacious patio, outdoor kitchen, and robust privacy screening led to a very satisfying design process.
What is Tick abatement? It turns out one can seriously reduce the instances of Tick bites (and subsequent risk of Lyme disease) by creating a dry barrier around one’s property. This ‘barrier’ should be at a minimum three feet in width and consist of either an impermeable surface or a permeable stone surface like river gravel. Ticks require cool & moist conditions on their travels, and simply cannot make it over such a breadth of hot dry material without expiring. In this design, I have added steel edging to both contain the gravel (washed Chesapeake river gravel) as well as add some heat to the situation. By allowing the steel edging to stand proud a bit (say, an inch and a half?), we help create a situation where the Sun will help the steel to radiate heat into the gravel, adding to the barrier’s effectiveness. Aesthetically, I think it looks attractive and I have designed its course in such a way as to suggest a gravel path, especially over to the far left where it disappears between tall evergreens– a kind of ‘folly’ in that it doesn’t actually lead anywhere but does suggest more room and spaces beyond. Looking forward to seeing this space realized over the coming months!
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