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Creating Beauty

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Why create beauty?


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April 6th, 2009

It’s a question that is especially timely today given our feelings of uncertainty due to the global financial crisis, climate change, the tenuous state of imbalance we have in our relationships with the natural world or any number of things that give us a feeling of “dis-ease”.

When times are in a state of flux and change we instinctively turn to that which is beautiful. It’s more than a diversion – it’s a need.

We experience a very real pleasure in sensing expressions of unity and harmony. The more complete this unity and harmony, the more complete our pleasure and sense of well-being.

The harmonious relationship of the parts…

The degree of evident harmony or unity of the various elements of our personal properties is a measure not only of the pleasure induced in us, but also of what we call “beauty”. For beauty, by definition, is the evident harmonious relationship of all the parts of a thing or a place observed.
The absence of beauty we call “ugliness”. Ugliness results from a sensed lack of unity among the parts of a thing or place or the presence of one or more incongruous elements. Since that which is beautiful tends to please and that which is ugly tends to disturb, it follows that a visual harmony of all the parts of a landscape, in the communities where we live, or on our personal properties, is desirable.

Order and beauty is the essence of life. It has an elusive and magical quality. It is a phenomenon that occurs at a given moment or place when and only when all relationships are harmonious.

Sanctuary, simplicity and meaning in our lives

In these times of uncertainty when we seek sanctuary, simplicity and meaning in our lives creating beauty, and taking the time to appreciate the beauty that is around us, is something we can do for ourselves to bring harmony in our lives.

By creating beauty, through the simple act of planting a tree, or growing seeds of plants of your favorite colours, whether in your garden or in a container on your balcony it could help us to change how we look at and interact with the world around us. In some small way it may actually help to heal the planet.

Go ahead, get growing! Create a beautiful garden, no matter how small. It will make you feel great. If that isn’t a good reason for creating beauty, then what is?


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Hey, money does grow on trees!


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January 29th, 2009

If you own a home, you are now eligible for the Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC). That’s right, if you spend at least $1,000 you are entitled to a maximum credit of $1,350 on amounts up to $10,000. ($9,000 x 15%). Wow! I like the sound of that.

As a landscape architect, I’m excited about this, because it means my clients can save and make their precious dollars go further when making improvements to their properties for such projects as:

• Building a deck, a fence, or a retaining wall
• Planting shrubs, trees, ground covers or laying new sod
• Building a patio with natural stone or concrete products
• Installing a low maintenance planting scheme
• Installing a traditional or rain water saving irrigation systems
• Creating water features, small ponds  and dry streams
• Installing garden lighting
• Or any number of other landscape features

The tax credit applies both if you do the work yourself and if you hire a GST-registered contractor (as long as it is not a family member).

Your savings from the tax credit can be used to retain the services of landscape and garden designers (like my design studio!) who have the expertise to help you make a plan that will maximize the effectiveness of your landscape capital investment – and ensure you enjoy your garden for years to come.

Thinking of selling your home?

You can use the program to enhance the curb appeal of your property by making it more attractive for sale in this challenging housing market. Did you know, realtors and industry analysts say that spending 4% of the value of your home on beautiful landscaping can increase its resale value by 12%? This is backed up by studies at the University of Guelph, Laval University, Clemson University and the University of Michigan , which found that consumers value a landscaped home considerably higher than its base price.

For maximum payback, put your money up front. A front yard is the first thing that potential buyers see and it leaves a lasting impression. A beautiful front yard gets more calls and showings. Not only that, but homes with a beautiful front garden and described as “beautiful” sell in 15% less time and at a higher price as poorly landscaped properties. (Source: Professor Paul Anglin, U. of Guelph)

Those who choose to take full advantage of the HRTC program have the potential to increase the value of their home by as much as 12%. With the average Canadian home valued at approximately $250,000 a $10,000 landscaping project could translate into an increase in value of $30,000. When you factor in the HRTC that is a whopping 346% return on your renovation investment. There is absolutely no better investment today!

Perhaps money does grow on trees…

Get the detailed info you need about the Home Renovation Tax Credit program at:
http://www.budget.gc.ca/2009/pamphlet-depliant/pamphlet-depliant3-eng.asp
Then give me a call!

Check back soon to Creating Beauty™ as I will summarize recent studies that show how smart investments in landscaping will increase your property value.
Landscaping makes sense…dollars and cents!!!


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