"For us, the plants are the last step," notes David. "ICEAlity is first established using a relationship between a house and its surroundings, creating spaces in which people will want to spend time and relate with those surroundings.
For 35 years, their "people-friendly" designs for outdoor living emphasize views and other pleasing elements, shade, and stress-free maintenance. But they are also friendly to the animals and environment.
The ARK in Berea Garden has an area of plants indigenous to Ohio and is officially designated as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Do Try This at Home:To evaluate your yard, the Jakupcas recommend standing with your back to the door you use most, usually a side or back door.
"Identify existing fixtures that you can use as anchors to link the doors of your house to the surrounding landscape as you develop your garden," says David.
Then take a folding chair and spend time in various places around the yard to see which lend themselves to outdoor living, he says. "Note the feeling and mood of each, its existing trees, views, and sunlight."
Sit and Smell the Roses:"Why plant perennials only to walk past them?" asks David. Instead, place sitting and other activity areas right in the middle of them. That way, you create an extra "room" where you can eat or read the newspaper, and the plants' appearance and fragrance become part of your experience.
Expanses of field or lawn also qualify for David's "room-with-a-view" effect. He mows a curving, eight-foot-wide swath from their gardens' edge into the woodland that is used as an outdoor art studio. A similair artists refuge is further back where a small circle is mowed out from the woods around a bench shaded by small trees the couple planted. "Instead of spending your time and money cutting grass you can sit and relax and have great place to watch the sunset," he says, "and see lots of bird activity."
Another sitting area is easily sculpted into the wildflowers at the edge of the treelawn." Benches are an easy way to enhance outdoor-living space when their design and materials fit a setting's mood, says David "They draw people to them and emphasize the best views on your property and its surroundings."
"Always provide some kind of external support for all types of seating," reminds Renate, "such as shrubs, or anything that keeps your back from feeling exposed."
Gardens For the Body: In a relatively small space there is an abundant natural garden. Apple, Cherry, Black Walnut and Plum Trees provide shade and food. Concord Grapes Vines and blueberry bushes provide privacy and food. Herb, Fruit and Vegetable plants, tucked into the yards nooks and cranny's provide color, texture and food. "Planning a Urban Garden for food production eliminates much of the dull, tedious, and repetitious yard work that is wasteful and non-sustainable", said David, 'The expense in money and time put into having a nice grass yard is something that is gone forever".
Rooms without Walls: The couple's inviting outdoor "living room" nestles under the shade of a circle of trees. After dark, up-lights on the trees accentuate the overarching branches that provide the area's living "ceiling." The "floor" was constructed from a simple two-inch-deep sand foundation overlaid with pebble stone. The Jakupca's reclaimed another area in their garden from space many might never think to use and that is the back of an outdoor sculpture. Using its rustic rock exterior as backdrop, they shaped this east-facing location into a patio sheltered by apple and black walnut trees. There is a concord grape arbor whose simple design includes growing support fashioned from live whute pine trees. They've also used these rough-hewn barn boards for a deer barrier and privacy fence.
The ABC's of Planting:Once they've built their outdoor-living spaces, the Jakupcas choose all plants according to a property's physical characteristics and a hierarchy that begins with trees and then adds shrubs and perennials.
"Gardens need all three," says David. "Trees provide vertical structure against the sky as well as a 'ceiling.' Shrubs define and enclose space and add fragrance. Perennials, which bring the highest maintenance, are detail plants that provide color and leaf variety, from the smallest, used for edging, to the drama of tall grasses."
"Once you've defined the spaces where people will be, very often, the plantings you want to have there will simply suggest themselves," David says.
ARK in Berea
|ARK in Berea Eco-Museum|
How did the plain green lawn become the central landscaping feature in America, and what is the ecological cost? https://longreads.com/2019/07/18/american-green/