Robert Redford is known for his environmental causes and a deep connection to nature. However when my friend and I had lunch earlier this summer at the Sundance Resort in northern Utah, it took me awhile to adjust to what I experienced. And then to really see what was there.
Here are 4 ideas I learned of what it means to work with nature.
Design to Blend With Nature
The buildings are all single story, faced with weathered wood, much in the style of architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. They completely blend with the natural surroundings. In fact the small outdoor restaurant is very cozy, blending right into the aspen forest. Native mountain flagstone is under your feet and in the meandering wall surrounding the eating area.
While the resort itself is tucked into the side of the mountain, the immense plantings of trees and other native plants, blocks any sound from the freeway just a few miles away. You feel totally immersed in the natural experience.
Throughout the resort, small pathways are paved, yet they appeared to have been there for hundreds of years. They head in many directions giving you a sense of discovery whether you’re headed to the restaurant & store, other outbuildings or to a meadow and through the underbrush. Directional signs are strategically placed and yet unobtrusive.
Use Water to Your Advantage
Small waterfalls create a lovely entry directly from the small parking lot. Water takes you immediately into the Sundance experience. Streams are everywhere, crossed with small, worn-wood bridges almost disappearing into the branches of trees next to them. There’s nothing like the sound of a small waterfall to take your consciousness into another place and to create lovely microclimates for wildlife and plants.
Over 200 parking places in the Sundance parking lot were replaced a few years ago with trees and landscaping. Robert Redford wanted to minimize the ‘shopping mall experience’ of the Resort. We need a certain amount of hardscape in the form of courtyards and patios for our own living spaces. Consider how it will blend and be enhanced your trees and other plantings. Make the hardscape a part of the environment you are creating, not THE environment.
Remember you can create your own oasis with thoughtful design. Careful placement of trees and plants in conjunction to your home can create the feeling of blending with whatever your natural surroundings are. Use your plantings to block sun, direct or block wind, create a private space or a play area.
Instead of planting grass there are many other types of plants to be used that are much more waterwise and will give you that natural feeling. The most intriguing idea I saw were the carefully maintained ‘weeds’. I was always told that weeds are just flowers growing in the wrong place. Throughout Sundance the abundant weeds were carefully edged and maintained as part of the undergrowth to the trees. They blended nicely with the native plants and wildflowers and create habitat for wildlife.
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Dedication to Conscious Living
You can easily create your own beautiful gardens and landscape using many of these ideas whether your yard is large or small. Be conscious of how you want to spend your time outdoors and what you want to feel when you are outside. Look at your yard from every window of your home and decide what you want to see. Then create that space.
“To us, Sundance is and always will be a dream. What you see, smell, taste and feel here is a dream being carefully nurtured. ” – Robert Redford
For design consultation or workshops, contact me here: https://tovasgarden.com/tova-roseman-live/
In sync with nature,
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