RENEGADE GARDENER

The lone voice of horticultural reason

Don’t buy a house without gutters.

It happens more and more each day. Hip, puerile, egotistical architects exhibiting the kind of ignorance that comes only from too much formal education believe that they’re the next I.M. Pei, and design houses without gutters. Gutters, you see, destroy the look and lines of their immaculate residential manifestations.

Far too many building architects have no concept of, or appreciation for, landscaping. (The same also can be said of a percentage of landscape architects, but don’t get me started.) I’ve landscaped houses without gutters, and it’s infuriating. I would like to introduce all designers of houses to an important concept: rain.

Rain falls on roofs, and without gutters, creates a drip line that rings the house. A drip gully is more like it, for the power of water dropping to the ground in sheets during a heavy storm washes away mulch and decimates shrubs. In some cases I have witnessed, water from roofs without gutters has washed away perennials, and removed nearly all the soil around trees and shrubs.

You also get flooded basements, and in various portions of surrounding yards, great pools of water, prized by mallards in spring. Never build a house based on a design that lacks gutters. If you buy a house without gutters, you will have them added within three years. Ben, a young man on my landscaping crew last summer who had spent the previous summer working for a gutter installation company, says two.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener