Whether they specialize in urban gardens or suburban masterpieces, landscape architects have their hands full these days. The mad rush to transform Hamptons potato fields into weekend Xanadus has design diva Edwina von Gal busy working on more than fifteen projects and designer Helmut Lang calling in landscape architects to add dune-shaped hills before the checks cleared on his $15 million abode. To join the ranks of green-thumb masters like von Gal and Signe Nielsen -- or simply learn how to make your bland front lawn a bit more like a blooming country garden -- start with an Introduction to Landscape Design from the New York Botanical Garden, which has more than 600 classes a year. Carol Chamberlin explores the principles of symmetry, balance, and scale in one or more simple design projects. There is a class devoted to texture and color, and one on how to run your own business. "A lot of people confuse landscape design with garden design," says Chamberlin. "Garden design is just a portion of the landscape. It's the icing on the cake, the décor."
"Introduction to Landscape Design," three sessions, Mondays beginning September 13, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; $66. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx (718-817-8747).
good morning, glass
Glass is no longer the poor man's crystal, given the likes of Tiffany designer Elsa Peretti and Dale Chihuly, whose glass chandeliers can go for $1 million. If your artistic ambitions run this way, UrbanGlass offers classes to get novices accustomed to working with the material and basic vessels before embarking on more personal and creative techniques. "Glassblowing involves working with a partner, and one of the most important things to learn is working and communicating with that partner," says instructor and sculptor Michael Krumrine, who adds that glass is experiencing a renaissance, especially since the modern furnace allows people to work in their studios. UrbanGlass also offers classes in stained-glass-window design and goblet-making.
"Beginning Glassblowing Part I," twelve sessions, Saturdays beginning September 25, 6 to 9 p.m.; $625 plus $50 registration fee. Other class days and times available. UrbanGlass, 647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn (718-625-3685, extension 237).
The distressed look is appearing on everything from boutique walls to reproduction country furniture. And it doesn't require talent at wielding a brush, says Inez Foose, instructor of the New School's decorative painting class. "Even if you're only good at finger painting, you can do this." Foose structures her hands-on workshop so that students get a sampling of various surface finishes, from crackling and faux (wood, stone, marble) to stenciling and gilding. You'll walk away with sample boards, with which you can start a portfolio, and seven different decorative techniques, which you can apply to anything that catches your eye.
"Decorative Painting," seven sessions, Wednesdays beginning September 29, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.; $210, plus about $100 for materials. The New School, 66 West 12th Street (229-5690).
Fine, you want to be the next Adam Tihany. But before you can design modern triumphs like the Time Hotel or Jean Georges, you'll need some training. In Parsons's introductory interior design course, you'll learn scale-drawing, problem solving, and color theory while completing a project from conceptualization to presentation. And don't be deterred if you can't draw. "I've had lawyers, bankers, all sorts who had no drawing skills at all," says instructor and architect James Collins. The final project, a room designed by the student, can be presented when applying to certification programs or for a job, Collins points out. "One of my students got a job from his neighbor after showing him his board."