Some Ingredients of the Good Life (When it Comes to Landscaping)

  • Arbors (grape, wisteria, honeysuckle, rose)
  • Window seats (ours had a very popular old cotoneaster)
  • Courtyards (I especially love the kind with bright stucco walls in pink, white, or tawny)
  • Attached greenhouses or solariums big enough to grow papayas at least—a place for winter tomatoes and vegetables as well as ornamentals, also hard-to-get tropical fruit like lychee, granadilla, pitahaya, and fragrant tropical flowers like stephanotis, plumeria)
  • More space devoted to trees and garden than to house and pavement (the exact opposite of the current trend).  People in the 19th and early 20th Century had much better taste in this regard than we have now; no matter how huge the house, it was always (almost), even in town, surrounded by enough land to make a harmonious overall picture, at the same time providing the family with fresh fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, outdoor shade, and general pleasantness.
  • Lots enclosed by hedges and vines rather than bare fences
  • Gardens and orchards, the more geared toward food production and the more bird/butterfly-friendly, the better.  
  • Making your place more enjoyable to others (human and otherwise) automatically makes it more enjoyable to you.