Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pretty is as pretty does

I just read a column in a Florida newspaper asking for entries in an "Ugliest Subdivision Contest." One of the criteria was that the subdivision had to have terrible landscaping. So I got to thinking about what constitutes terrible landscaping. Is it puny trees? No trees at all? Brown grass? No grass at all? Often I see new housing divisions (sometimes filled with million-dollar homes) that have no landscaping at all. They might have lawns, but zero trees. What's the reasoning there? Sure, once the owners move in they can hire professionals to plant color, and shrubs and install patios and pathways, but these neighborhoods never have trees, and the new owners rarely plant them, unless they're small ornamentals.

These places contrast sharply with the older neighborhoods in my area where century-old homes sit on tree-filled lots on wide streets that used to accomodate streetcars going downtown. These houses themselves are worth a lot less money-wise than the brand-new ones, but the total package is a lot more aesthetic in my opinion. Why? Because of the big trees and the natural landscaping. I'm sure many of those homeowners complain about roots from the old trees pushing up their lawns, and squirrels moving the foundation of the old house, but I can't help but thing they'd still prefer their lots to the brand-new neighborhoods with no landscaping. — Stephanie Ricca

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