Sprout Some Ideas

Recently, one of my employees asked me the best resources for learning about landscaping. He wanted to know where I had learned everything that I knew to get to the position I am in today. The easy answer is that I went to Purdue University and earned a degree in landscape horticulture with design. I know that my education plays a large role in my success, but my experiences and the resources I have found over the years are really what have helped to inspire and guide me since college.

Books and Magazines
There are many great books and magazines that offer information on virtually any topic you want to learn about. I handed my employee a stack of gardening or landscape magazines and told him to start by looking at them. They cover a wide range of topics and profile many great projects from around the world that can spark a small idea or inspire an entire project.

I love getting catalogs from various plant and seed companies each year that profile some of the newest and most poplar plants with pictures and information.

Houzz and Pinterest
The websites Houzz and Pinterest have become a great resource when quickly researching ideas for a client. Simply search by keyword to bring up thousands of pictures and ideas.

I always take pictures of what inspires me on my travels, and I try to work these new ideas into projects. 

Hit the Town
Visit local landscapes, greenhouses, and garden centers. There are many great places in our area that offer a wide variety of plants and products. 

Just Ask
If you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask.

Lectures & Seminars
Keep your eyes out for presentations to attend. The local master gardeners regularly host informational programs on various topics that pertain to our local landscapes. The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville, Tenn., and Yew Dell Gardens in Louisville have regular programs.

Trial and Error
Like with anything, practice makes perfect. Not all of my ideas have worked out, and the only way to know is to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. Creating and caring for my own home landscape helps me learn more than anything.

Brian Wildeman is a landscape architect at Landscapes by Dallas Foster Inc., 825 Canal St. He can be reached at 812-882-0719 and dallasfoster.com.

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