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MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin

Welcome to our blog! Written by staff at MMWD, “Think Blue Marin” explores all things water in south and central Marin—water supplies, conservation, new projects, watershed management, and more.

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Jul 08

New Challenges

Posted on July 8, 2016 at 9:47 AM by Ann Vallee

by Christina Mountanos, Water Conservation Specialist

Last week my Landscape Architecture teacher handed out our latest assignment: using our newly acquired drafting skills to design a complete landscape. We were given a simple plan showing the entryway to a building and a nearby street. Fooled into thinking this would be easy, I was surprised to find myself immediately stuck, staring at my blank page for a long time, unable to come up with anything that seemed “right.” And I wasn’t alone—most of the class struggled immensely with where to begin, overwhelmed by the feat of starting from scratch. Given our collective experience with plants and irrigation, we laughed at how challenging such a seemingly simple assignment could be.

Landscape design
 The author's in-progress assignment
Nearly all of us showed up the following week still with empty papers in hand. Two of our creative classmates, though, had somehow managed to complete the assignment, one even creating a shamelessly gorgeous design! As we gathered around to admire his work, and discuss his process, I was surprised to find my mind opening up to things I hadn’t thought of before. Seeing examples of soft lines and curves, for example, freed me from my tight, geometric way of thinking. We all nodded at his logic and the wheels in our heads began to turn. Our teacher pointed out a lesson to us: Sometimes we learn the most not from classes themselves, but from our fellow classmates.

Designing and planning a new landscape can be difficult! If you’re struggling with how to design (or redesign) your current garden, sometimes the best way to come up with solutions is to look to your friends, co-workers, and neighbors for inspiration. One great place I’d encourage you to begin looking is MMWD’s Marin-Friendly Virtual Garden Tour page. The gardens we’ll be featuring are charming, creative, and showcase many Marin-friendly practices, all designed to conserve water, save energy, and reduce waste. Some of the gardens I personally visited for the tour belonged to homeowners who bravely faced (and conquered!) the challenges of successful landscape design all on their own!

Of course, once you finish designing your landscape, you’ll want to learn how to water it efficiently, too. So here’s something else to check out: This month and next, the Urban Farmer Store is offering a class titled Learn How to Make Every Drop Count! Sign up for July 13 or August 3 in Mill Valley, or choose from other dates in other parts of the Bay Area.

Happy designing!

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