Making a space a home with holistic landscape design

Making a space a home with holistic landscape design

House. For each and every human being you question, you will likely find a unique this means of the term.

For Katherine Wilcenski, property is a put where 1 feels taken treatment of by the environment it should be nourishing, inspiring, innovative and secure.

As a holistic landscape designer, it’s Wilcenski’s career to make others’ spaces truly feel far more like dwelling — and she uses her awareness of integrative wellbeing tactics and ecological structure to do so.

Wilcenski makes sustainable landscapes that are restorative to both people and the atmosphere. From rewilding houses to installing edible landscapes, she facilities each of her types about her clients’ most popular methods of interacting with mother nature.

“We experience the rewards — bodily, emotionally and psychologically — of a wholesome and ample ecosystem,” she defined. “The target is to assistance our clientele develop a place they can intuitively connect with that will ultimately improve their wellness and the ecology all around them.”

For additional than 10 yrs, the Cutchogue native has worked as a land- scape and backyard garden designer. Previous 12 months, she established her possess holistic landscape layout organization known as Solstice Garden Co. She functions on household and commercial assignments across the North Fork, turning backyards into pure refuges and livening up retailers like Tulsi Square with her plant styles.

Like houses, what goes into the making of a holistic landscape is private — it’s extremely dependent on the place and people who use it. Wilcenski shared some vital options powering holistic layout and how she’s included them into her individual dwelling.

Constructing A Secure HAVEN

When I first achieved Wilcenski in her property in East Marion, she was sitting down in a wood rocking chair, barefoot, sipping coffee under a sugar maple tree.

A protected put to sit, she advised me, is a person of the initially features she considers when developing someone’s residential space.

(Credit: David Benthal)

“I think which is selection one — a place that you come to feel shielded in and lined from the sun,” she claimed. “Hopefully you have some variety of watch that is inspirational or engaging.”

She’ll frequently perform close to the pure overstory, like the trees in her yard, to produce this cozy place. Guarded by the shady sugar maple, a bluestone patio overlooks a grassy, picturesque meadow that wraps around the perimeters of her lawn. It is furnished with generally purely natural elements: wooden chairs and log benches, handcrafted by her boyfriend. The chairs encircle a small, metallic fire pit — she tries to highlight elements like these in her layouts.

“Fire and water, I imagine, are very vital,” she spelled out. “It’s sort of primal in a way to sit close to the hearth and have a consume.”

Getting an out of doors house to share a food with others also can help build a comforting setting and a deeper link with the pure entire world. Behind the patio is a picket, six-seat eating home desk she found at a thrift retail outlet, topped with an antique candelabra and potted plant. In lots of of her types — in which it can make perception — you will uncover salvaged or antique pieces combined with greenery. At Lumber + Salt, an antique store located in Jamesport, she sells her plant materials in one of a kind, upcycled vessels.

“Besides the obvious environmental positive aspects of employing upcycled supplies, I love the tale the pieces carry, their uniqueness and the cultural soul they increase,” she mentioned. “I discover it [to be] really philosophically comforting to interweave human artifacts — in a feeling — with an inten- tionally ample and ecologically regenerative area.”


Wilcenski grew up in a loved ones of generational farmers and landscapers, surrounded by the pure splendor of the North Fork. Now acquiring a place of her possess, she sees the natural beauty in remaining capable to check out wildlife, like turkeys and deer, from her backyard.

“I feel it is really a responsibility of property owners out listed here to consider interest in the ecological wellness of this area,” she mentioned. “If you don’t … you drop what you originally invested in.”

Holistic gardeners like Wilcenski normally increase indigenous vegetation and other species that will deliver habitat to wildlife and endorse biodiversity in the place. For some, this might suggest rewilding their backyards — the act of planting and then stepping again to permit Mom Mother nature just take around. For some others, it may imply incorporating indigenous plants or other helpful species into a back garden.

“I like to make positive to involve early and late season flowering crops to assistance lengthen the food resource for pollinators,” she reported. “Milkweeds are terrific for monarch [butterflies].”

Fall is an best time to start planning for a pollinator-pleasant yard and there are a wide variety of genera good for attracting pollinator bugs like bees. Wilcenski’s favorites are goldenrod, eupatorium, asters, as very well as a species named verbena bonariensis. There are many early flowering bulbs that also help pollinators — muscari, crocus, galanthus and hyacinthoides, to name a few.

Wilcenski also pays consideration to preexisting situations like soil wellbeing. Soil, she stated, is the “foundation of a healthier backyard garden, a balanced ecology and a healthy world.” Possessing nutritious soil makes certain that vegetation will be ready thrive and therefore will bolster the biodiversity of the area. Incorporating a h2o source in a backyard structure, like a birdbath or a pond, is a different way to assistance wildlife.


The overarching target of holistic gardening is to produce a place that not only heals the ecosystem, but the people dwelling in it.

“You have to believe about what means you’re most most likely to engage bodily, tactilely, centrally with your setting,” Wilcenski discussed. “Would you be the form to cut bouquets, choose some herbs to make tea or walk around and harvest apples?”

Edible landscapes and foods gardens can give bodily nour- ishment, when other crops offer medicinal attributes. When the season’s appropriate, Wilcenski fills two flowerbeds on her property with crops of distinct textures, fragrances and works by using. Tomatoes, carrots, chives, shishito peppers, parsley, kale and even a watermelon were being a portion of this year’s foodstuff bounty. She grows calendula for lotions and infused oils, lemon balm for calming the nerves and echinacea for immune process guidance. There’s also tulsi basil, a medicinal plant normally identified as “holy basil.” “I like to put it in my drinking water refreshing in the summertime or dry it and make tea in the winter season,” she discussed. “It’s uplifting.”

Exterior the picket flower beds is an edible landscape of pear trees, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, concealed in basic sight. “You can fundamentally incorporate distinctive sorts of shrubs and perennials that have edible attributes into your landscape,” she reported. “Edible landscaping can be nearly unnoticeable to somebody who isn’t knowledgeable of distinct plant species.”

(Credit rating: David Benthal)


Though the colder months are not generally connected with gardening, there are means to join with a home’s pure surroundings extended immediately after the gardens have been set to mattress.

“I like to deliver plant substance inside, like diverse kinds of at any time- inexperienced cuttings, pinecones, berries, and possibly make an arrangement,” Wilcenski mentioned. “You can even boil h2o on the stovetop with fir and pine needles — that will launch the oils within and then it will fill your room with this Christmasy scent.”

She also freezes herbs from the backyard garden or dries them to use for tea and herbal smokes for the tumble and winter season.

“I think aromatherapy is seriously terrific, especially in the cooler months when every thing variety of goes dormant outside the house,” she said. “Just having that sensory connection is truly beneficial.”

No matter of time of calendar year, such as some plant content within the property — like snake plants or potted herbs — is visually and physiologically worthwhile. “It can also support to improve the air high quality in your property,” she explained. “To have that accountability to take treatment of it and are inclined to it is seriously nourishing to oneself.