The Backyard Battle of the Sexes
When couples get together to plan backyards, sparks often fly when they find that their wish lists are worlds apart.
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It’s very important that both parties meet with the designer at the planning stage. There’s usually a big difference in the priority and interpretation men and women have for every element in the landscape. It's critical for the designer to hear both interpretations and understand how each element fits into the list of priorities.
A good designer will include creative elements that captivate both of you. Make sure to choose a designer who asks a lot of questions and takes the time to get to know each of you. That way he or she can incorporate artistic touches that reflect the personality and imagination you share as a couple and the hobbies and loves that brought you together in the first place. Remember that your goal is an environment where you can both feel great about the space you’ve created together. The result is a landscape that will keep harmony in your relationship as well as in your garden.
Your designer may bring you up-to-date on new landscaping options that can solve some of your disagreements. With many landscaping elements, it’s no longer a matter of either/or. If one person wants a gushing waterfall and the other a relaxing trickle, a secondary pump can be added. That way they can have it both ways: calm and relaxing or wild Niagara. Other elements can accommodate both tastes as well. An outdoor fire can provide a warm, relaxing ambiance in an elegant outdoor living room, but it can also blaze into glory when the guys come around. A spa can gurgle or gush. If one of you wants outdoor sound but the other doesn’t want to see speakers, remember that speakers can be integrated into decorative faux rocks that blend in to naturalistic surroundings. There are all sorts of beautiful and functional compromises.
Masters of Design award-winner Scott Cohen is president and supervising designer for The Green Scene, a premier outdoor design and construction firm based in the Los Angeles area (www.greenscenelandscape.com). His work has been regularly featured on HGTV. To see more of his designs, visit Designers' Portfolio.