Thursday, 2 October 2014

Organic Landscaping:
Better than “Man-made;” more than “Nature’s Way”

Image Collage by PeapodLife: Organic Landscaping in Bloor West Village, Toronto

“If a landscaper says they want to fill your garden with manufactured stones,
you may as well tell them to use plastic plants and Astroturf.”
~ PeapodLife  

Some may be under the impression that PeapodLife only does indoor ecosystems. Not so. We specialize in all manner of organic landscaping, from decks and patios to gardens to chemical-free pools and ecosystem ponds.

What we don’t do is “industrial landscaping,” with cookie-cutter approaches such as pre-fabricated stones which are completely lifeless. There’s a reason why the expression, “on the face of the very living rock” exists. Anyone who works with stone in any meaningful way knows that stone is alive.  Not in the way that plants and animals are alive, but they are alive nonetheless. They have energy. They have character: a face, a body, a right-side up and an upside-down. If a landscaper says they want to fill your garden with manufactured stones, you may as well tell them to use plastic plants and Astroturf.

Industrial, commercial landscaping has an overly polished, mechanical feel…like the so-called living walls of PeapodLife’s competitors…which feels like plants being forced into some manmade design schema. It becomes a kind of artificial expression. Real plants, fake rocks, a completely contrived, disconnected, disingenuous landscape.

Real stones, consciously arranged and interconnected make all the difference. Since they are interconnected, they reflect the interconnectedness of all things. Since interconnectedness is foundational to nature, they act as cornerstones. Since they are alive, they bring a garden to life:

Image: Front Yard Garden by PeapodLife featuring Rhododendrons and Real Stone

Just as ancient peoples built their incredible stone structures and monuments without mortar (even bridges that still stand today!), creating “the perfect staircase” is not about pre-fab anything, or super-expensive single pieces of rock “perfectly cut.” No. Working with stone means just that: working with the stone! Let the living pieces of stone guide you into beautiful, organic expressions of “nature’s perfect staircase.” 

Image by PeapodLife: Front Stone Staircase

If done properly, the hewn stone staircase or pathway integrates flawlessly into the surrounding garden, appearing as though it belongs there, as if Mother Nature herself intended it to be there, as if they appeared there on the landscape organically…the effect is subtle, deep and profound. It’s a feeling that is not altogether aesthetic…it reaches beyond the 5 physical senses.

Image by PeapodLife: Real stone staircase winds through backyard rock garden and leads to deck patio.

So is that “organic landscaping?” We’re sure you’ll find many approaches and definitions on the Internet, and frankly, we could care less what others’ think. What matters to PeapodLife is this: working with nature to help it achieve its highest expression, so that it can freely give back all it has to give. 

Just as indoors, it’s about creating a space of love; for in the final analysis, love is the underlying quality of all of nature: true beauty, selflessness, sacrifice, harmony, oneness, etc.

Many interpret these words to mean “letting nature do its thing” in one specific way…
Image Collage by peapodLife: Wild Gardens 

And if you like wild gardens and wild gardening, more power to you. But this is not the only way in which nature expresses itself. It is the most common way, to be sure; and largely free from human intervention—except perhaps for some forethought, selection of plants, etc.

But nature is capable of expressing itself in ways which are uncommon, require human participation / cooperation, and which result in gardens and landscapes which are not just beautiful, they make you feel special just by being there.

If we likened it to the most common of all activities in nature, sex: there is the physical act of sex with a purely physical goal (either the creation of a baby or the enjoyment of physical pleasure or both). It requires no particular connection whatsoever apart from the physical.  Basic fornication. It’s as common as can be. An industry, in fact.

Then there is making love. And at the risk of sounding cliché, anyone who has ever experience this latter expression of that most natural function, sex, will attest to the difference between the mere physical act with mere physical goal(s), and intimacy which transcends the physical…an act of union which is transformed and transforming. It is much less common these days…and certainly something the sex-related industry knows nothing about and cares even less for. It is interested only in pleasure.

Image Collage by PeapodLife: Sex versus Making Love

And that’s where landscaping and gardening—like all things—are today. At one end is the manufactured, industrial approach which organizes nature into man-made eye-candy; and on the other end of the spectrum is the wild approach which creates “all-natural” landscapes which certainly look and feel as if they are completely devoid of human participation. The former is an expression of human mechanicity, the latter mechanical nature.

Then there’s the middle way…the way of lovemaking. When landscaping and gardening are no longer about creating something of aesthetic pleasure; rather, they are an experience…a labour of love for the expressed purpose of co-creating of a space of love. It’s neither cramming nature into human “design,” nor is it letting nature run amok to sow its wild oats however it sees fit.

Organic landscaping and gardening, in PeapodLife’s view, is about making a conscious connection with the very heart of nature itself—which is love—and allowing that deep connection to inform and unfold itself through a conscious co-creative process.

Image: Backyard Garden by PeapodLife with integrated sprinkler system

To make a physical space requires a physical act. To make a space of love requires a process of love-making. Most anyone who loves gardening, loves cooking, loves painting, loves just about anything creative should get this on some level, especially those who do it for the pure joy of it—not for a living.

At PeapodLife we are blessed with the good fortune of being able to offer you our joy for—and mastery of—creating beautiful natural spaces of love, even as in this case—featured in photos throughout this article—on a relatively small front / backyard in the heart of Bloor West Village.

We want you to be able to experience nature beyond the five senses…feel special just by being in your garden. All that (and more) is how PeapodLife practices organic, conscious landscaping.

Note: This garden was freshly planted and is still in-progress. Still more to come, including moss and more features. Stay tuned for updated photos.

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