Category Archives: Local Business

The Home Front: Down-to-earth

Water feature by Alchemie Landscape Architecture.

When someone is described as down-to-earth, it usually sounds like a compliment—grounded, equally so. Up-in-the-air, or flighty… less so. There seems to be a bit of universal acceptance that connecting with the earth is a good thing, which is perhaps why people love entertaining outdoors, weather permitting.

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

“It’s huge, absolutely huge! Flowers have been secondary. I was touching base with a couple of my nursery friends, and it was just nuts. Absolutely everybody has their own little veggie garden this summer and are trying to create green spaces because they’re not able to travel,” she says.

 Water feature by Alchemie Landscape Architecture.

Something else Matson says she’s noticed, over the past few months, is an increase in bartering for seeds and plants, with people staying home and wanting to make their homes more interesting. Even in her strata, she says, they’ve swapped plants and got the children in the building involved in planting vegetables.

Containers are perfect for this, says Matson, and when it comes to growing things, the larger the container, the better — with one tomato requiring an 18-inch by 18-inch container to produce well.

When it comes to landscape design, people are as attracted to water as they are earth, says Matson.

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

Matson says she’s a big fan of natural boulders from river rock, such as basalt from Pemberton, and driftwood.

“Anything that depicts a little bit of nature and brings it into the backyard, personally, I just find it soothing and enjoy it more than something that is manufactured,” she says.

Something people often don’t consider when installing water features is the maintenance involved, says Matson, such as regularly cleaning the pump, so it doesn’t clog up, and if you have a pond and small children, considering fencing.

 Connecting with the earth through indoor plants.

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

Size matters when it comes to water features, says Matson, with people often opting for water features that are too small — because of price — that are dwarfed by other elements in the garden like fences.

Positioning also matters, she says. You don’t want to put a water feature right under a tree, or you’ll be forever cleaning out the leaves.

“It’s the same thing 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 that beloved earth element indoors is also good for the soul, says Heena Saini, Commercial PR specialist at Ikea . This year, Ikea released their air-purifying curtains, which they say “actively reduce air pollutants.”

“From a trends perspective, we’re seeing the plant styling has become super popular! The key tip here is to find a space where there’s ample lighting like a living room and curate the area from there. Use a blend of hanging planters, plant stands or even an empty mantle to create a focal point area. Again, adding plants will enhance the tranquillity and feel of the room right away!” says Saini.