Absolutely Alabama: Cole-Tyson Studio in Jefferson County

Absolutely Alabama: Cole-Tyson Studio in Jefferson County

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WXTX) - Spring time, warm weather, and working in our yards and gardens all seem to go together.

A young couple shows us how a little space, a little planning, and a few hours of playing in the dirt can earn a remarkable garden that is Absolutely Alabama.

"So frequently people say I'm sorry I don't have much land for you to work with and it's exciting to think about the intimacy of a small space and how well it can be designed with the right elements," says Andrew Cole-Tyson, co-owner of Cole-Tyson Studio in Jefferson County, Ala.

Most of us in one way or another like getting our hands dirty, but sometimes we're just not sure how to go about it.

"Yes, in small spaces you can have ways to interact with the land that is very positive and it doesn't require a thousand acres of land," says Andrew. "One of the things I was fascinated with was how we use space and how we use time and how our land can be productive in such a way that it can increase our quality of life."

Ashley is Andrew's wife and partner, and they share a similar small town background.

"Growing up we always gardened and my mom and dad still garden," Ashley says. "They've got 12 and a half acres, and my dad grows everything under the sun."

"This particular family gave us a laundry list of items but they didn't tell us how to arrange them so we studied sun angles," Andrew says. "We studied space. We studied costs, soil type, all these different things and eventually that's where this idea of appropriateness comes into play is that we were able to arrange them on a piece of paper to show them what this thing could look like and they said will you begin to build it?"

Everything flows together, including the rain collection system.

"What's interesting is that it actually provides water for the irrigation system," explains Andrew. "On the back side of it there's a pump and match the plants such that we can minimize how much water we use. But also you have a little bit of screening from the blackberries and then in its right season you'll have the ability to harvest the blackberries."

Andrew also gave us an explanation about the history of the bike house.

"Yeah once again with the design, the way we started it was one of the several things that they specifically wanted," Andrew said. "We didn't know where they wanted it, they wanted us to determine that so we have intentionally put it here in the front where when they ride their bikes off the street they can get it have easy access to it. Once again it's kind of like our mobile office. You know the size of the space is not near as important as the use of the space."

Andrew also talked about the purpose of their business.

"It's been 60 years, I dunno more, since it was so common that we really participated in our landscapes in this way and so there's full generations of people that just don't know what to do," explains Andrew. "One of the things that we immediately that we set out to do with the whole business is to encourage people how to interact with their own landscape."

Now, Andrew and Ashley will tell you maintaining what you've helped create here is going to require some work.

It's also going to require slowing down and enjoying a creation, yours and theirs, which is Absolutely Alabama.

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