Making a space a home with holistic landscape design

Making a space a home with holistic landscape design

House. For each and every man or woman you talk to, you will possible obtain a various that means of the term.

For Katherine Wilcenski, home is a place the place just one feels taken care of by the surroundings it should really be nourishing, inspiring, innovative and safe and sound.

As a holistic landscape designer, it’s Wilcenski’s job to make others’ spaces come to feel additional like residence — and she utilizes her expertise of integrative overall health methods and ecological style and design to do so.

Wilcenski makes sustainable landscapes that are restorative to both humans and the surroundings. From rewilding houses to installing edible landscapes, she centers each and every of her patterns all-around her clients’ desired techniques of interacting with nature.

“We enjoy the positive aspects — bodily, emotionally and psychologically — of a wholesome and plentiful ecosystem,” she described. “The intention is to help our clients produce a space they can intuitively join with that will ultimately strengthen their well being and the ecology close to them.”

For far more than 10 many years, the Cutchogue native has worked as a land- scape and yard designer. Past calendar year, she founded her possess holistic landscape structure enterprise termed Solstice Yard Co. She is effective on household and commercial assignments throughout the North Fork, turning backyards into pure refuges and livening up stores like Tulsi Sq. with her plant models.

Like homes, what goes into the generating of a holistic landscape is private — it is highly dependent on the room and individuals who use it. Wilcenski shared some vital functions driving holistic layout and how she’s incorporated them into her very own house.

Making A Risk-free HAVEN

When I very first met Wilcenski in her dwelling in East Marion, she was sitting down in a picket rocking chair, barefoot, sipping coffee underneath a sugar maple tree.

A harmless put to sit, she informed me, is just one of the initial factors she considers when designing someone’s household space.

(Credit history: David Benthal)

“I assume that’s amount one — a spot that you truly feel shielded in and protected from the solar,” she explained. “Hopefully you have some variety of watch that is inspirational or engaging.”

She’ll typically perform all-around the natural overstory, like the trees in her yard, to build this cozy spot. Guarded by the shady sugar maple, a bluestone patio overlooks a grassy, picturesque meadow that wraps around the perimeters of her yard. It’s furnished with mostly organic materials: wood chairs and log benches, handcrafted by her boyfriend. The chairs encircle a tiny, metal fireplace pit — she attempts to highlight things like these in her patterns.

“Fire and drinking water, I assume, are quite crucial,” she spelled out. “It’s sort of primal in a way to sit around the fire and have a consume.”

Obtaining an outdoor space to share a meal with others also can help build a comforting natural environment and a deeper connection with the purely natural planet. At the rear of the patio is a picket, six-seat eating area desk she discovered at a thrift retail store, topped with an antique candelabra and potted plant. In several of her types — where it can make perception — you are going to locate salvaged or antique parts combined with greenery. At Lumber + Salt, an antique shop positioned in Jamesport, she sells her plant content in special, upcycled vessels.

“Besides the apparent environmental benefits of applying upcycled components, I really like the tale the items carry, their uniqueness and the cultural soul they incorporate,” she mentioned. “I discover it [to be] very philosophically calming to interweave human artifacts — in a feeling — with an inten- tionally abundant and ecologically regenerative room.”


Wilcenski grew up in a family members of generational farmers and landscapers, surrounded by the natural splendor of the North Fork. Now getting a room of her very own, she sees the beauty in remaining able to view wildlife, like turkeys and deer, from her backyard.

“I believe it’s definitely a responsibility of householders out in this article to acquire fascination in the ecological health and fitness of this spot,” she explained. “If you do not … you get rid of what you initially invested in.”

Holistic gardeners like Wilcenski often improve indigenous crops and other species that will present habitat to wildlife and market biodiversity in the spot. For some, this may well mean rewilding their backyards — the act of planting and then stepping again to enable Mom Mother nature acquire around. For many others, it may well mean incorporating native plants or other effective species into a yard.

“I like to make guaranteed to include early and late period flowering vegetation to aid increase the meals source for pollinators,” she claimed. “Milkweeds are great for monarch [butterflies].”

Fall is an suitable time to get started setting up for a pollinator-friendly back garden and there are a selection of genera excellent for attracting pollinator insects like bees. Wilcenski’s favorites are goldenrod, eupatorium, asters, as well as a species identified as verbena bonariensis. There are a number of early flowering bulbs that also aid pollinators — muscari, crocus, galanthus and hyacinthoides, to title a couple of.

Wilcenski also pays awareness to preexisting problems like soil health. Soil, she stated, is the “foundation of a balanced back garden, a healthier ecology and a balanced planet.” Having wholesome soil guarantees that vegetation will be capable thrive and therefore will strengthen the biodiversity of the place. Incorporating a water resource in a yard style, like a birdbath or a pond, is yet another way to assist wildlife.

NOURISHING THE Physique AND Intellect

The overarching intention of holistic gardening is to build a house that not only heals the surroundings, but the persons dwelling in it.

“You have to assume about what means you are most very likely to interact bodily, tactilely, centrally with your atmosphere,” Wilcenski explained. “Would you be the type to minimize flowers, decide some herbs to make tea or wander all around and harvest apples?”

Edible landscapes and food stuff gardens can provide physical nour- ishment, when other crops present medicinal qualities. When the season’s appropriate, Wilcenski fills two flowerbeds on her property with plants of distinctive textures, fragrances and utilizes. Tomatoes, carrots, chives, shishito peppers, parsley, kale and even a watermelon were a section of this year’s food bounty. She grows calendula for lotions and infused oils, lemon balm for calming the nerves and echinacea for immune technique help. There’s also tulsi basil, a medicinal plant if not known as “holy basil.” “I like to put it in my water clean in the summertime or dry it and make tea in the winter,” she described. “It’s uplifting.”

Outdoors the picket flower beds is an edible landscape of pear trees, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, hidden in simple sight. “You can basically incorporate unique varieties of shrubs and perennials that have edible homes into your landscape,” she mentioned. “Edible landscaping can be practically unnoticeable to a person who is not mindful of unique plant species.”

(Credit: David Benthal)


Even though the colder months aren’t usually related with gardening, there are strategies to link with a home’s purely natural surroundings prolonged after the gardens have been put to bed.

“I like to convey plant substance inside, like distinctive types of ever- environmentally friendly cuttings, pinecones, berries, and possibly make an arrangement,” Wilcenski claimed. “You can even boil h2o on the stovetop with fir and pine needles — that will release the oils inside of and then it will fill your place with this Christmasy scent.”

She also freezes herbs from the backyard or dries them to use for tea and herbal smokes for the slide and wintertime.

“I believe aromatherapy is actually great, especially in the cooler months when anything form of goes dormant exterior,” she said. “Just obtaining that sensory connection is definitely handy.”

No matter of time of yr, which includes some plant content inside of the residence — like snake crops or potted herbs — is visually and physiologically worthwhile. “It can also assistance to make improvements to the air high quality in your home,” she discussed. “To have that obligation to acquire treatment of it and tend to it is genuinely nourishing to oneself.