For most people, building is not what comes to mind when imagining the creation of a garden. Rather, the typical picture is of organic development: tilling, planting, growing, and cultivating. Landscaping, the common word for this work, seems to fall short of describing the actual process undertaken in the activity of creating gardens.
What happens in well-developed gardens and outdoor living places is generally more complex. There may be issues of drainage, terracing, and retaining. Often there is the development of patios, water gardens, arbors, pergolas, fountains, lighting, fencing, walkways, and watering systems. Areas to entertain, recreate, and grow food may also be planned; in addition to places to cook, sleep, dry clothes, or care for animals.
Places for rubbish, parking, compost, recycling and tools may also require consideration. Settings for bathing, soaking, or swimming are sometimes desired. Frequently there are issues of site repair, erosion control, existing tree and plant care, or improving habitat for wildlife.
And then, finally, places for greenery: the plants, flowers, and trees that engage us in the immediacy of nature, soften our lives, deepen our culture and provide sanity and sanctuary.
In the midst of the flurry of building, we keep foremost in mind that we are creating gardens. We are mindful of minimizing harm and repairing damage as we focus on cooperating with nature: creating, recovering, and inhabiting.
The act of garden building refers to the distinct set of skills and sensibilities that concern us as we undertake the development of gardens, garden-homes, and landscapes. We imagine, we assess and design, we allocate land and money, then set to; working with nature to co-create in making a place that wonderfully, takes on a life of its own.