About The Sensible Gardener

First, we want to thank you for your interest in the Sensible Gardener.com and to welcome you to our site. We hope that you will find the answers for which you are looking, not to mention a bit of inspiration.

What, may you ask, is the difference between this site and other landscaping or gardening sites? The name of the site says it right off. Sensible. We want this little virtual environment to be sensible.

And what, may you also ask, do we mean by sensible? A few things, actually.

  • The senses: Both gardening and the garden can be a special adventure, a special place for the senses. You get down on your knees, you dig down into the soil, you smell the perfumes of nature, you give life, nurture and help to grow. Thus you create a special place that bears your mark. A place that appeals to the senses.
    • Sight: Landscaping is not only bringing together a collection of plants, it is a metaphor representing the world as the landscaper sees it, or would like to see it. It brings beauty to those who see it, and beauty brings inner peace. It is a form of art therapy. Of course, commercial landscapers may not agree on this with sensible landscapers, and it’s too bad for them and their clients.
    • Smell: What’s the smell of June? If you live in North America, maybe to you it is Linden. And what’s the smell of November if you live in Australia? Perhaps the sweet perfume of Brown Boronia. Have you ever been to a coastal area where wild rose bushes abound? Going back to these memories, I bet you remember the smell of the roses and salty air. Smell is a strong sense, directly linked with emotions and memory.
    • Hearing: The sound of birds singing as they search for food in your trees and bushes. The sound of water flowing in a fountain, cascade or water garden.
    • Touch: You dig in the soil with your hands and immediately feel grounded. You lie down on fresh grass and immediately feel relaxed. You let your baby crawl around on your organic lawn.
    • Taste: Yes, even taste. I still remember the sweet and sour taste of those cherries my father would pick from the tree he had planted next to our house.
  • Reason, as in making sensible choices: Gardening is based on botany, which helps you determine how to grow which plants in which conditions. The Sensible Gardener.com wants you to understand the best ways to grow the healthiest plants in the best conditions. This site is also dedicated to intelligent, sustainable gardening. We want this to be a meeting place where people can find and exchange ways to create and maintain beautiful landscapes using earth friendly methods and products.

The aim of the Sensible Gardener.com is to bring together the senses and reason to help you create sensible landscapes and gardens.

Landscaping draws from architecture and the visual arts. You wouldn’t know this, looking at the work of some landscapers who limit themselves to digging holes and planting trees and bushes. We believe landscaping is much more than that. We think you can find inspiration in the work of true landscapers, be they professional or not, and that this can help you choose the right shapes and colors for you, as well as bring the whole thing together.

We hope that you share the vision of the Sensible Gardener.com, that you will visit often and that you will find answers to your questions.

Nicolas Gendron, aka Nicolas the Gardener

6 thoughts on “About The Sensible Gardener”

  1. Hi Nicholas,

    We have lived in our property from new for 27 years & never had a problem with the back lawn. I maintain it by regular mowing, scarifying & aerating & the good condition was commented on by neighbours & friends.
    Last year however the lawn became sodden & was completely destroyed & we were left with huge areas of mud patches. We enlisted drainage specialists who confirmed there was nothing wrong with our drains & were at a loos as to what to do. In February we had the whole of the lawn area dug up & additional plastic drains installed plus gravel & new top soil before having new turf laid. To our utter dismay this new lawn is now starting to show exactly the same signs as before ie. it’s very wet & the grass is being replaced by mud patches. We are desperate to find the cause & solution & have no idea who to contact for advice so any help you can offer will be much appreciated – it is particularly frustrating since for 27 years this has not arisen.

    Many thanks,

    Mary & John Heapy

    1. Hi Mary and John,
      This is strange. If the change was not gradual but rather sudden (three years ago, you saw nothing coming and then two years ago it just happened), the only thing that I can think of is that something was changed somewhere not too far from your property. Was there a major construction or landscaping project in your area? Did you get in touch with your local authorities to ask about it?
      The other possibility may be that climate change has something to do with it. Maybe the problem was slowly creeping up on you, but you didn’t notice it because it was happening below ground. Did you notice any trees or shrubs that started looking less healthy a few years ago? Since their roots are deeper in the ground, they would have started feeling the extra water before you started noticing it.
      With climate change, rainfall patterns are changing all over the world and many towns and cities have to dig up older pipes to replace them by larger ones, so that the excess rain can be evacuated. Locations where the old pipes are still in the ground often can’t deal with all the rain and so soils become wet.
      So, once again, if you haven’t already done so, get in touch with your local authorities. Try as many levels as you can. Sometimes, elected officials tend to bury their head in the sand when it comes to climate change. And I’m not saying anything about those who pretend the problem doesn’t exist.
      Good luck,

  2. HI Nicholas,
    My question has to do with standing water as well. We live north of Dallas where usually the backyard grass is dry and “crunchy” because of the heat. So dry that we had an area in the back corner of our foundation that was crumbling. We had someone look at it and they added a “shelf” at the soil level. Our house also has a 35-45 degree slope on the same side for drainage (all the houses do, in the exact cookie cutter way). Grass refuses to grow on either side of the house, no sun and again almost all the houses are in the same boat. We tried to plant another type of grass, I hated it, where it did grow it looked like the roots were vines and thick blades of grass, very tough. But it didn’t fill in the slope so my father had a lawn service put in a 4-5ft long slab of stone and concrete to square part of it off, but put in a drain. I found out they did not ensure the sprinkler system wasn’t affected, oh I saw red. It’s been a few years and it’s slowly getting worse. I can’t tell if it is the sprinklers or the fact that the drainage has shifted since the middle of the backyard is now like a little rollercoaster. Right off the porch it’s very shallow (you step down about 4in, its not level, like it should be) with standing water the length of the back porch (6ft wide), then you walk out past that and you step down and the grass is dry, then it goes back up higher than any point and it’s very dry. Our lawn service came and fertilized so I set the sprinklers, last time was Nov, all worked but the backyard. But they worked in Nov.
    Is this aeration, broken sprinklers, poor drainage, or all of the above?
    My dad said we have to call a plumber for the standing water because it’s the pipes, i laughted and said a landscaper or sprinkler systems company. We sound so ignorant, uh.
    I’m at a loss where and how do I start? I’m disabled and they are in their late 70’s, I’m so concerned about money.

    1. Hi,
      You problem seems to be a tough one. If you say that your yard has moved and looks like a rollercoaster now, I imagine that your drainage system must be partly non-functional. House and yard drains use gravity to drive water away. If the piping is not straight, the water can’t escape. I’m not telling you what to do, but I would ask maybe two or three companies that install yard drains to run tests to see if the drink is in fact still functional. This can probably be done free of charge.
      Good luck,

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The right plants in the right locations with the right conditions