Selected Case Studies

Shumei Natural Agricultural Farm

Raised bed planter at Shumei Natural Agricultural Farm

The Shumei NA Farm in Maplecrest, New York was a working farm based on Shumei's Natural Agriculture, a spiritual method of farming. I was hired to envision and implement the farm's landscape design in order to attract and accommodate visitors to the farm. To prepare for the project, I worked alongside Farmer Kenji Ban for one day on the farm, helping to transplant green onions and hoping to gather a feel for the place and also the NA methodology. Shumei prefers to call farming a practice; Shumei members consider farming a spiritual act. Nature is perfect and that plants are conscious beings. Read the story.

A Garden in the Mountains

Lavender and bluestone

This private, dreamy spot with a view of the mountains and an half acre pond had attractive giant bluestone slab ramps accessing the pond but needed garden spaces for people to inhabit. A sunny, weed filled slope was unusable in its current state.The landscape design transformed the weedy slope into a three tiered garden reorganized by dry-laid bluestone retaining walls. The very bottom garden bed was full of clay and muck; water drained down into this bed. A line of Hummingbird Summersweet shrubs (Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingird') was planted in this bed because they enjoy moist “feet.” The shrubs bloom all of July with a sweet scent, attracting pollinators of all types. Read the story.

Urban Medical Offices

medical offices

As it existed, the beds at this urban medical complex in Kingston were geometric, dull and motionless. Shrubs, pruned into tight shapes, prevented natural movement of branches. Planted in a straight line, they resembled regimented soldiers. From afar, the plants were marooned in vast beds of 'gas station red' mulch. Up close, the plants blended in to the building as hard and architectural...Tightly pruned shrubs send subliminal messages of conformity, restrictiveness, rigidity and formality — all negative subliminal messages when entering a doctor's office, ideally a place of healing and health, of re-energizing the body. Read the story.

Suburban Geometry

Suburban home and burning bush

The organizing inspiration for this straightforward residential design started with the predominant horizontal lines of his bi-level home thinly reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Waters. Internet search unearthed a website dedicated to the bi-level home and mentioned the inspiration to be the architecture of Mr. Wright. This inspiration coupled with the reality that half the home's windows were at ground level (for the downstairs landing) resulted in a plant palette of dwarf shrubs, their maximum height of 4 to 5 feet when arranged and combined, would coalesce into a horizontal foundation planting. Read the story.

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leaf pattern