Introducing our new Designing Landscapes columnist, James Young

By James Young

When was looking for a landscape designer to write a column for their publication, they were looking for the best and brightest, a shining example of style and know-how, a person worthy of representing this fine city and publication. Instead, they got me.

Let’s face it: I don’t look like a designer, and I’m no style maven, stereotypical of the public notion of designer. Designer: a tastemaker for the community. Me: I admit to wearing lounge pants well into the afternoon when working at home. Lounge Pants is what J. Crew calls them. I call them Very Advanced Pajamas; my VAPs. I like to get me my VAPs on.

Why should I be writing about landscaping? Well, I do have a different perspective than your typical landscaper profile. For one, I used to be an engineer for Boeing. That’s a deficiency to being a garden hipster, but beneficial, I think, if you want to read something fresh and different in this field. If you’re wondering about the public definition of engineer, they are the necessary analytical people who examine and design all sorts of structures and devices to make them work, and work safely. Therefore, you never invite them to parties because they’ll ruin them with their diagnostic and judicious nature.

YOU:  Welcome to my party, James! So nice to see you! Would you like to start with a cocktail?
ME:  Alcohol gives you cancer.

I run both the construction and design side of my landscape business, Blue Wheelbarrow Landscapes, and even take care of some gardens. That gives me insight into landscaping from opposing angles. My wife, Licia, also helps me run the business. That’s another opposing angle. And last but not least, I am also the proud owner of a garden. Not to be confused with an owner proud of his garden.

To sum up, these are all feathers in my writing cap. That is, if I wore caps. That would be stylish. I envision a French beret. Black, of course.

By the way, I like to say “take care” of landscapes instead of “maintain” because it has a better connotation. “Maintain” is something you do with an old Ford to stave off the inevitable day when it breaks down beyond repair. Kind of like crazy old Uncle Jake. “Take care” implies you actually have an emotional connection, some nurturing is involved, and there is a brighter future ahead. So let’s take care of our landscapes to maintain our sanity.

I hope to write about wide-ranging landscape topics that are helpful to My Edmonds News readers. Maybe it will be design tips in one article, then a homegrown mint julep how-to in the next. And as you can see above, I might just write about weird linguistic things.

What topic should I start with? I’m taking suggestions right now. If you don’t give me one, I’ll start coming up with some on my own. Hmmm, ‘naked gardening’ sounds like a winner. You have been warned.

Send your suggestions to  Fashion advice would be very much appreciated as well.

James Young is the owner of Blue Wheelbarrow Landscapes in Edmonds.

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