Design is paramount in landscape construction. Ever hear the term, “form follows function”? It means that you cannot sacrifice functionality, spacial qualities and unity for “looks”. If it looks good but is not practical or functional, then the design doesn’t work.
Design principles that may seem elaborate and complicated are simple and effective, if done correctly. Space, color, texture, light, water, shapes, sound, conceal/reveal, relationships and scale are some of the main principles of landscape design. A solid design can be dramatic, it can be vibrant and it can be ALIVE. You can influence people’s emotions. A talented designer can lead visitors on an experience as they explore a landscape. You can use trees to manipulate the vertical and overhead plane to give a backyard space a sense of entry and to make it appear much larger than it really is. You can partially reveal a feature in the yard to peak interest. Curiosity is a great motivator for exploration.
Light and water breathe life into an outdoor space! It’s dramatic, it’s vibrant and it can even be emotional. The unique thing about using these elements is the landscape changes with the time of day, changes in seasons etc.
I feel very fortunate to have studied under some of the nation’s finest landscape architects at Utah State University. Craig Johnson, John Ellsworth and Vern Budge are a few of them……. Jerry Fuhriman is another.
I felt I had good relationships with all my professors. I worked hard and scored well on my tests, projects and typically did well in critiques and when I defended a design to the jury. Except with Jerry Fuhriman….. Time after time, I walked out of his classroom, red faced and fuming after receiving a sub-standard score on a project I had worked very hard on and felt I had deserved an “A”. It was a very frustrating time for me. But I now know that Jerry had seen something in me. He saw my abilities and my potential, probably more than I did. He pushed me, he criticized me, he even teased me.
The best advice Jerry ever gave me was “Keep-It-Simple-Stupid”. “Monson, less is more! Remember that!” Sometimes landscape designers out smart themselves by doing too much. Too much color, detail, small scale, large scale, the list goes on and on! It causes chaos.
Jerry’s advice evolved into, “give it a KISS and get back to me”, one day in the studio during a design critique. Something in my brain clicked and I fully understood what Jerry was trying to teach me…..he was not only teaching me design principles and to KEEP THINGS SIMPLE and not to over think things. He taught me to trust my instincts. He was at the same time also teaching me to adapt not only to what a professor or a design jury is looking for, he was teaching me to adapt to different clients and their varying individual needs. He was teaching me professional life lessons.
Jerry and I eventually became friends outside of the design studio and the classroom. He and his wife, Sue even had me do some work for them at their home in Cache Valley. I remember sitting in their home telling them about my son Andrew when he was born over 4 months pre-mature and discussing with them his potential health issues. We were all humbled at that time at how fragile life is.
Well, Andrew is now almost 14 and we don’t live in Logan any longer, and now we have 5 children. Life has certainly changed from the long days (and nights) in the design studio cranking out a project that was due in the morning.
We really miss all our Logan friends. We see the Fuhriman’s less and less as time rolls along, but the relationship and the life lessons learned remain. In fact, I just found Jerry on Facebook by chance WHILE I was gathering my thoughts for this blog entry……it made me smile! Life as well as business, is about building relationships. Even though you might not see friends or dear family members doesn’t mean you love them less. In fact, absence does make the heart grow fonder.
KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID! Fine words to live by!