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The Home Front: Down-to-earth | Vancouver Sun


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Including Earth and Aquatic Elements in Outdoor Entertainment this Summer.

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Rebecca Keillor Water feature from Alchemie Landscape Architecture. Water feature from Alchemie Landscape Architecture. Photo from alchemy /.jpg

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When someone is described as down to earth it usually sounds like a compliment – equally grounded. In the air or fleeting … less. There seems to be a bit of general acceptance that connecting with the earth is a good thing, which is why people may love to chat outside when the weather permits.

People often love the smell of the earth, says landscape architect and master gardener Janis Matson of Shoreline Landscape Design, who also teaches horticulture at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. And she and her colleagues have seen a real surge in the number of people growing their vegetables in Vancouver during these COVID months.

“It’s huge, absolutely huge! Flowers were secondary. I touched the base with a couple of my kindergarten friends and it was just insane. Absolutely everyone has their own little vegetable garden this summer and is trying to create green spaces because they can’t travel, ”she says.

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Water feature from Alchemie Landscape Architecture. Water feature from Alchemie Landscape Architecture. Photo from alchemy /.jpg

Something else that Matson says she has noticed over the past few months as the barter of seeds and plants is increasing, with people wanting to stay home and make their homes more interesting. Even on their shifts, she says, they swapped plants and got the kids in the building to plant vegetables.

Containers are perfect for this, says Matson, and when it comes to growing things, the bigger the container, the better – a tomato takes an 18 by 18 inch container to produce well.

When it comes to landscaping, people are just as drawn to water as they are to the earth, says Matson.

“Water elements have been huge, simple, for the past ten to fifteen years. From the smallest recycling gurglers and bubblers to large water features, people love the naturalness and the sound of water, ”she says.

Matson says she’s a huge fan of natural boulders made from river rock, like Pemberton basalt and driftwood.

“I find anything that represents a bit of nature and brings it personally into the garden, and I just find it comforting and enjoy it more than something that is made,” she says.

Something that people often don’t consider when installing water features is maintenance, Matson says, like cleaning the pump regularly so it doesn’t clog and if you have a pond and young children, consider fencing.

Connection with the earth through indoor plants. Connection with the earth through indoor plants. Photo by PHOTOGRAPHER OSKAR FALCK AB /.jpg

“A young child can drown in six inches of water,” she says.

Size matters when it comes to water features, says Matson. People often opt for water features, which – because of the price – are too small and dwarfed by other elements in the garden such as fences.

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Positioning is also important, she says. You don’t want to put a water feature right under a tree or you will clean the leaves forever.

“It’s the same as the right plant for the right place, the water feature has to be the right feature for the right place,” she says.

Bringing some of this beloved earth element into the home is also good for the soul, says Heena Saini, commercial PR specialist at Ikea. This year Ikea launched its air-purifying curtains which, according to its own statements, “actively reduce air pollutants”.

“From a trend perspective, we can see that plant styling has become very popular! The main tip here is to find a room that has plenty of light, like there is in a living room, and curate the area from there. Use a mix of hanging planters, plant stands, or even a blank mantle to create a focal area. Again, adding plants will instantly improve the calm and feel of the space! “Says Saini.



Robert Dunfee