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Designing a yard? Here are some landscaping tips from a Boise expert

Kecia Carlson, of Madeline George Garden Design & Nursery in Boise, designed the home’s landscaping. When working on a project, Carlson emphasizes “style and sustainability,” and considers everything from grade and water runoff to plant placement.
Kecia Carlson, of Madeline George Garden Design & Nursery in Boise, designed the home’s landscaping. When working on a project, Carlson emphasizes “style and sustainability,” and considers everything from grade and water runoff to plant placement. kgreen@idahostatesman.com

Kecia Carlson, founder and owner of Madeline George Garden Design & Nursery in Boise, worked on the landscape design of Chris and Ann Vonde’s new home in the Boise Foothills.

Carlson’s emphasis on “style and sustainability” encompasses a complete design of the exterior aspects of the home, including plants, vegetable beds, edibles, cutting flowers and pollinators. Carlson considers everything from a play area to how to take advantage of the grades and the water runoff, the use of a more drought-tolerant combined fescue and what kind of irrigation system to use.

“Every piece of the entire exterior landscaping has been thought about,” she said.

Planning a garden is much more than perusing a seed catalog or local greenhouse.

“People really underestimate what an impact you can have in your exterior environment when you start moving across these multiple levels of the soil, the watering, the plant material, the organization of your beds, putting shade trees in the right position and putting the vegetable beds in the right area,” Carlson said. There are many different elements in play to bring your landscape “into harmony and flow, but also have it be aesthetic and functional.”

Here are some tips she recommends for your home landscaping:

▪  Define a theme within your garden to help you create a harmonic aesthetic or style. Then work with the “plant palette that resonates with that.” Let that theme guide your plant selections.

▪  Always consider the style of architecture of your home.

▪  Understand your sun and heat exposure. Keep in mind that rocks and concrete can also play a role in this area. Be aware of how little humidity we have around here and use some drought-tolerant species for that sustainability you’re looking to achieve.

“Sun exposure, coupled with the arid climate and the heat of the day, can really zap a plant,” she said. “That’s one of the things people underestimate when they’re designing their garden.”

▪  Check out the Idaho Botanical Garden, especially the waterwise entrance garden along Old Penitentiary Road, the BLM Firewise Garden and the Lewis & Clark Native Plant Garden, for ideas.

For information about Madeline George, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway in Boise, and to learn about free Saturday classes, call 995-2815 or go to www.madelinegeorge.com.

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