I've heard that when tattoo artists are in training, they practice on oranges before they permanently ink someone's skin. Good idea.
In the world of landscape design, your parents' yard is your practice orange. Better to mess up their garden than a stranger's. Thankfully, I designed a very Southern traditional landscape for my parents' Victorian House (circa 1900) so I don't cringe every time I pull in the driveway. It has matured into a lovely garden (mainly because of the sweat equity that my sweet mom and dad have put into it over the last ten years!).
Are there things I would change about it? Absolutely. But as my friend Nathalie Dupree says, "Life is not perfect."
Side of house with 'Natchez; Crape Myrtle, Loropetalum, and 'Gulf Stream' Nandina:
Front of house with Boxwood, Tea Olive, Iris, Spiraea and Gumpo Azalea. When I get around to updating it, I'll remove the Gumpos and add in a coarser texture. And I want to remove the Tea Olive at the corner, too.
Other side of house with Chinese Fringetree, Southern Indica Azalea, Loropetalum and Hydrangea. When the Blue Hydrangeas bloom, they are spectacular against the soft green house.
Thank God the house is gorgeous and the yard is full of mature Oaks, Pecans and Dogwoods. Having these elements to work off of made my novice design look a lot better than it really is.
Thanks Mom and Dad!