I'm not a landscape designer. I'm not a flower, shrub, or tree gardener. I garden for fruits and veggies.
So I reached out to an expert for help with landscape design for the church. We're at the final stage of a 2-year project to remodel and renovate our old church building. Landscaping is our final(ish) step.
One thing I learned on this project was that for elements of design--inside or outside--the best thing for me to do is explain the feeling that I want our guests and members to have. I told the man helping us with design that I want our building and grounds to feel comfortable and put people at ease. That's the same approach we took inside. We didn't want to be modern or trendy. We wanted the focus to be on the people and for guests to feel at ease. Going to a church is hard enough for our guests.
We could go with an office approach with rocks in the beds, boxwood shrubs, and a couple of pots. And that would work and be better than we have now. But people will see the outside of the building, see our lobby, get coffee before the service and see the auditorium long before I ever preach, so the design of our gardens and building is important.
Our designer picked out things I've never heard of and is pairing and designing some things I never would have expected. But I'm excited to see where it goes and how it turns out. It feels a lot more creative and whimsical. He even picked out decorative grasses to line our office walkway since he found out I like prairies.
I can't quite see where some of this is going to go. Landscaping isn't like painting. We won't see the result for 1-3 years--some of it has a 10 year horizon. But I'm excited to see if we can do for the landscaping what we did for the inside of the church.
As we talked and dreamed of how the gardens would grow, I was reminded of the term church planting. We plan it, plant it, care for it, and then have to wait.