End of a Long Journey

About three years ago I embarked on a new journey … that of becoming certified in landscape design. The journey took a full year longer than I had planned and hoped, due to work, family, and general life responsibilities, but that’s all in the past now. I finally reach the end of this long journey.

It involved teaching myself computer aided drafting, following twenty-five in-depth lessons on site and level surveying; developing concept, hardscape, and planting plans; designing all aspects of a residential property including fences, walls, steps, water features, garden structures, habitat gardens, vegetable gardens, border beds, lawns, low-maintenance plantings, and native plantings;  delving into landscape design history and, among other things, honing my knowledge of botanical terminology.

For one lesson I designed a garden as if I were a female settler at Plimoth Plantation. For another lesson I designed a butterfly and herb garden.

I became lax on blogging about the lessons simply because of time constraints, but the lessons marched on.

There was the border planting in front of a brick wall, with both summer (top drawing) and winter (bottom drawing assuming all perennials are cut back) views. (For unknown reasons when converting to a jpeg for posting here, the drawing lost its sharpness, but it still shows the general design ideas.)

border planting in front of brick wall-summer and winter views


The working drawings, both plan and elevation views) of a pergola.

pergola drawings


The fence lesson that gave me the chance to design a garden fence for espaliered fruit trees.

espalier style fence


Plus, there were many full property design lessons too large to show here in any meaningful detail. Living and working in a rural section of Connecticut means there are very few small properties to practice design skills upon. As my instructor noted in her assessment of my final project, “I think you have designed more acreage than any other student to date. Large properties are a lot more difficult than average-sized ones and this last assignment shows that you are very capable of handling the task. The design, presentation and documentation were all excellent.”

Am I an expert? Not by any means, but, I have a lot more knowledge and understanding of what it takes to design beautiful and functional landscapes, and … I fulfilled a long desired goal … and this makes me happy.

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18 comments for “End of a Long Journey

  1. Frances
    February 17, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Hi, Joene — Congratulations! This is my first comment, but I’ve been reading your blog for a few months. What a wonderful feeling of accomplishment you must have! I started the Anna Gresham program in early December. In fact, some of your posts convinced me that this certificate program is the right one for me. Please keep us informed about your progress as a professional landscape designer. Your beautiful drawings are inspiring. I am so happy for you!

    • February 17, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks, Frances. Best of luck with your lessons and thank you as well for being a regular reader.

  2. February 17, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Congrats on completing this! I remember the first posts about the coursework. They were fascinating to read and to think about what the challenges were and how to design for them. It’s so much more than just putting plants in the ground. Well done!

    • February 17, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      Thank you, Laurrie. I now look at all gardens through designer eyes.

  3. Sue
    February 17, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Congratulations on an outstanding achievement!

  4. February 17, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Congratulations, Joene! It was long road but hopefully well worth it.

    • February 17, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Debbie, you appreciate the level of work involved. Thanks for the moral support.

  5. February 17, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Congratulations! I wish you the best with all of your future design projects. I often wish I had the knowledge and skills you now possess. Again, Congratulations!

  6. February 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Congratulations, Joene! I remember some of your early posts on your landscape design lessons, including one where you learned to use the CAD tools by plotting your own property. It must feel very good to have reached this milestone.

    • February 17, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      Jean, it does feel good to have completed the course. Now I look forward to applying my skills… thanks.

  7. February 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Congratulations! What a wonderful accomplishment and now you can embark on a new journey! I was not sure I wanted to go back to school several years ago and my father in law said “If you take one class at a time, one day you will be done. If you take no classes, you will never be done.” He was right and when I finished I was so thankful I had started, however long it took. It does not matter when you go back to school-what matters is it makes you happy. Congrats!

    • February 19, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Diane, learning new things as an adult is always a bit more challenging, but also more rewarding, don’t you think?

  8. February 17, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Congratulations! I am glad you are following your dream!

  9. February 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Big congratulations on you, Joene. I admire your sticktoitness and your talent. The garden-design world is enriched mightily.

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