The essential element of the Pocket Woodlands design is a raised soil bed to enable rapid root establishment - vital for healthy and long lived plants. However, by creating this landform we immediately add the 3rd dimension of a vertical land shape which is an all-season feature. Frequently lot grading is designed to be close to level, with only slightly sloping landform to direct storm water to the lot line between properties. Additionally, the construction process which prioritizes the use of large-scale machines to regrade the land around new houses and streets further compacts both the sub soils and the added topsoil as it is laid down. But, when we add various heights of berms of new and un-compacted soil to our homes landscape we create form rather than flat – which immediately feels like an un-manicured design with original features, as well as showing that it is a cared for landscape that is of visual interest in any season.
Now that we know that this new landscape has the added benefit of having soil which is plant friendly then we can select plants which will enjoy being planted close together (3’ for trees and less for shrubs and perennial/groundcover groupings). Knowing this we can choose many different plants with different features and seasonal interest (eg Planting both Conifer trees and Deciduous on the same raised bed). Also, a young (3 to 5yrs old tree) is much less expensive but when planted 3’ higher on the berm, and with other trees and shrubs nearby there is an immediate effect of maturity of the design. And the plants grow quickly because of the benefit of their foliage meeting and so creating shade for the soil resulting in a longer growing season as the stress due to summer heat on the roots is moderated dramatically. Additionally happy roots have greatly reduced watering needs caused bythe baking heat of summer. Rapidly growing plants then also add to the 3 dimensional benefit which creates such seasonally interesting and evolving landscapes - and quickly!
The uniqueness and natural impression that these elements give to our newly created landscape immediately give a sense of maturity. Maturity then introduces us to the 4th dimension of time. The experience of time adds many healthy and caring emotions as we experience entering into each feature of the design. Often, we simply stop and absorb. How we experience time and its effect on our design choices is another chapter!