County Ag Report: Designing Gardens & Outdoor Spaces, Part 2

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 8:07 PM EDT
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[Claire Ackroyd, Landscape Designer & Author | Orono, ME]

“A long time ago I decided that the world was too difficult, and too complicated, and too angry, and ugly out there. And the way to survive was to have a space to retreat into.”

Claire Ackroyd, local Mainer, landscape designer, and author, describes her philosophy and perspective on personalized backyard, outdoor spaces, and gardens and how they can be a place of retreat and respite from everyday life. The design itself is key in creating a calming space to escape to and enjoy.

“Simple is always better. I think the best design is design that does the most with the least. One bit that is often missing, is a sense of enclosure – you know a sense of privacy, of intimacy, which is what the design sites like to call it. You’re within a space and you’re not exposed to the world around you.”

Once you plan out an area of enclosure for your outdoor space, Claire recommends sectioning off your garden based on function and purpose.

“I like dividing up spaces sort of different – you know, the department of eating and drinking, and the department of growing vegetables. Also, the traffic patterns between spaces. And so, sort of getting everything in the right place is fundamental. It’s all part of the place you’re trying to make – a place that you and your friends, and neighbors, and family can enjoy being in.”

And as Claire mentions, outdoor living and enjoying your backyard space becomes an integral way of life, leading to a growing gardening lifestyle for many.

“The business of creating outdoor entertainment spaces – you know, the patio, the deck, the fire pit, the lights, the shade – gradually leads people into gardening. You’re wanting to not fail. And you’re learning about soil building. And one thing leads to another, and you know, we are building – we’re building a garden culture that really didn’t exist before.”

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