Today is a rarity here in Turks and Caicos; a grey, overcast, cool day perfect for landscaping and an opportune time to finish a few last touches to a major summer project at Fleur de Lys Villa. A year ago I blogged a few before-and-afters showing just how far the villa had come over the course of five years. Take a peek there and one can plainly see how a house in the Caribbean is simply not a home until you have a yard. I sincerely hope that our landscaping mistakes and naivety (introduced in this post) can act as a learning tool for others who are in the same predicament, or are about to sink their shovels in on their own project.
Villa before the finished entrance in 2007. A change of mind on the driveway placement lead to unnecessary clear cutting in the front.
Courtyard in 2009
If you do hire a landscaper, do your homework! Inquire with a client they don't include in their portfolio, someone you may know who has a project similiar to yours. Take an evening to google the species on their estimate and make certain if you find any negative characteristic, ask the lansdcaper if those possibilities are applicable here in the Turks and Caicos. Request drawings and reasonable projections for what your yard will blossom into 5 years from now, 10 years, and even 20 down the road. If we would have had this foresight, we never would have allowed an olive tree to be planted in the courtyard. For three years we watched her grow from a skinny little stick (as shown in the 2006 image above) into a gorgeous Shady Lady. This lady and her neighboring tabebuia friend pictured above, had the courtyard looking absolutely beautiful, that is if you swept it every hour on the hour! That's right, these two were quite the lookers but what mess makers! They shed so much that the spa, the prized water feature and focal point of the courtyard, was kept under cover for the last two years, creating an eyesore versus the serene sight we intended. We thought of how much time we had spent sweeping, digging leaves out of the gutters, carefully raking the planters so as not to disturb the delicate peace lilies and other plants, and knew that something must be done.
2008, native stone replaced the impractical grass
After weeks of brainstorming possible solutions, we looked around at the covered hot tub, the leaf littered courtyard, the native stone buckling from the expanding roots of both the Schefflera and the mahagony (which had also begun to shed daily in the pool) and we decided with very heavy hearts, to make some very big changes.
September 2011, in the middle of the transplant