I have said time and again that environmental engagement is about building a relationship with our natural world and that the relationships we work on the most, the ones that are most challenging, are also the most rewarding. A house is not an investment one should enter into lightly—because of obvious financial reasons and also the intangible psychological investment.

I think about this place all the time.

I worry about her when I'm away. Did she flood, did she overheat, did someone break in? I love my house, but I need to ease up on our relationship for a bit. So I leave you with this wisdom from Low Maintenance Landscape, a local landscaper that I called for help before deciding to focus on my home's interior.

The following questions, excerpted from the company's Landscape Design Questionnaire, can help you assess your yard needs well before I do:
  • What will be the primary uses of your new landscape? Entertainment? Active recreation? Curb appeal? Increase resale value? Romantic places?
  • What kind of atmosphere would you like to create in the landscape? Cool? Quiet? Inviting?
  • What characteristics would you use to describe your dream garden? Lush? Colorful? Self-sustaining?
  • What are some functions and needs of your landscape? Shading the house? Privacy? Erosion control?
  • How much time do you presently spend in your garden relaxing and working? How much time would you like to spend outdoors in a landscape that fits your needs?
May your home be everything you need it to be,


Simran Sethi is an award-winning journalist and associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications. For more information on Sethi, visit and follow her on Twitter @simransethi.

Keep Reading:
Water-saving tips for your lawn and garden
The time is now! Shop your local farmer's markets
A new way to think of how we use (and waste) water


Next Story