Even though it may be some time before Brooke is able to come home—hard to estimate at the moment—when he does we’ll face a dilemma: he loves the garden next to our house, but won’t be able to get to it. After all, the deck it three or four feet above the garden, and at the moment he couldn't even get to that. Then to get to the garden itself you have to go down a set of stone steps: it won’t be possible to navigate these in a several-hundred-pound power wheelchair, and even if you could get down the steps you couldn’t drive around on the grass. So here’s the challenge: design a way for Brooke in his chair to get down into the lower part of the garden, keeping in mind the various constraints: the grade for a path can’t be greater than a certain number of inches per feet, there has to be stable paving of some sort, there have to be spaces for eating and entertaining, there has to be room to relax and smell the roses, and of course that means there have to be roses somewhere. And there’ll have to be other flowers and plants as well. Maybe even whatever attracts birds and keeps the quail we now have still coming. So are you game to rise to this challenge? It’s a contest. Our architect friend (who designed the extension to our living room) has agreed to judge the contest (along with Brooke, of course, and the friend who's initiated the garden project and another who’s said he’ll help with the gardening), and we’ll put together the stats—garden dimensions, elevations, locations of the various existing steps, decks, trees—and lob them out to you shortly on the blog. It's a bit of a challenge to make this garden accessible and still have it be a garden--
Of course, this is a contest without a prize—except the pleasure of seeing one’s design or part of it come into being. And there will be reverse prizes for all contestants—not only might you see some features of your design incorporated in the final plan, but you get to bring something instead of taking winnings home: we’d love to have you come and bring a plant or two to plant together with Brooke: he’ll be the gardener, you be the hands that put the plant in the ground. So it won’t be just Brooke’s garden, but everybody’s, and of course it will be wonderful to have you all sit in it eventually and enjoy it with him.