Clients hire me to take things away. 

and why I would live in a black house. 

Clyde Oak
Clyde Oak
Oct 10, 2013 · 2 min read

I’m asked all the time to help people with their various landscape design projects. Most of the time they don’t really want my help. It’s too hard. I help take things away and all many want is to add. Our solutions to most of life is to add more. Education — more money. Food — bigger portions (i’m from Texas, we can’t just have one bowl of chips). Kids — more activities. But why? Could it be that the solution is within what could be subtracted. What if I worked less? Would this allow me to focus more? The secret is:

The more taken away the more gained.

As a Landscape Architect I’ve learned the more plants added equals less impact. I’m sure this sounds crazy to some. This is really difficult because the ones you choose are really important, requiring much study. In the picture above there are only 3 plants. That’s it. It’s a very simple space but we could all sit there for hours.

It’s easy to be simple when your starting from scratch but rather difficult when the landscape already exists. Taking things out is hard because we become so attached. “I can’t take that tree out,” but why? “I don’t know. I just can’t.”

We treat our lives like this. We have such a hard time detaching from things even though we can’t explain why they are important. Or most often it’s an excuse we give ourselves of why something should be important. It’s just emotionally difficult to remove ourselves from habits or things we’ve done for an extended period of time.

Like why the hell should we be checking instagram every 10 minutes.

We have a house in Asheville, NC. It’s an old 1927 brick bungalow complete with old windows and cracking mortar joints. Both of our boys were born there so it’s always been a special place for us. We’ve been thinking about painting the brick for a long time. The house is structurally fine but the imperfections in the brick/mortar drive me crazy. It’s gutsy to paint the brick on a historic house which is probably why we haven’t done it yet. But painting the brick would surely take the focus off all the imperfections. Sounds crazy but maybe black is the right color. It would erase all details and make the landscape more important — The Perfect Garden.

but it’s hard to take things away.

    Clyde Oak

    Written by

    Clyde Oak

    the voice of the new American farmer @clydeoak www.clydeoak.com