March 22, 2012

GARDEN DESIGN......Master Course Introduction

Having been in the design business; garden/exterior/interior...and what-ever-else-i-can-put-on-my-plate, .... for 23 years, I thought it would be fun to take you through garden design process.
 I will be guiding you as I would a client. Principles can be gleaned from this series wether you are re-doing your grounds, starting from scratch or dressing up a bed or two.

Here is my Geneva, Il. shop, Scentimental Gardens, as we found it. I had to have driven past this building thousands of times, really.......but, I never "saw" it. 
Dark, overgrown yews, blah.

All the lawn and all the yews were removed, walkways were added, fencing, flowers.......Oh yes, and painted. Please note I would never recommend this color scheme to a client, but to gain attention on a busy street, it does the trick!

So where do we begin?
Always with the exterior of the home, always.
Potential clients are surprised when they call and one of my first questions is "What is the architectural style of your home?"
It matters. It sets a tone for the direction of the design. It's existing colors matter and certain architectural elements matter. And that is the key; the home and the garden should blend and compliment one another.

The home above does not have a defining architectural, we can give it one. This home and garden could go Cottage, Nantucket, Arts & Crafts, Tudor, to name a few.
Being "Exterior Stylists", we can explore how shutters, lighting, new windows, a door, and such, can transform a home, should that be desired. Let's look at some distinct styles and their complimentary gardens

Shingle. Originating in mid coastal New England. The grounds say beach. There may not be a beach but the gardens reflect the typical setting

French. The lamps, the stone, and the colors are reflected in the containers and the plantings. Always keeping in mind that this is a more feminine style. In other words......NO ORNAMENTAL GRASSES!
Cottage. The grounds are informal and seemingly haphazard, multiple containers, and the path to the door is equally informal and color appropriate
Pueblo. Indigenous plants found in the southwest, including deep colors, otherwise the home would fade. The crunch of gravel, the steppers blend with the stucco. Nothing formal should be present here. 
Southern Colonial. Colorful, the sound of water, the lighting is appropriately sized, formality and informality. Another example is studying the lines of the home. See the elliptical curves on the windows? Those curves are repeated in the hardscape and planting lines
An excellent example of a well done design;
-the front door is the symmetrical focal point.
-the bit players are perfect; shutters and containers match.
-back to the containers; their style replicates the door. The boxwoods repeats what is in the ground
-the lanterns are again perfect in size
-the brick......and the mortar, yes even that small detail, blend with the homes colors.
 What garden style do you like? Here is an example of tailored informal.


Source: via Debra on Pinterest

A blend; formally sheared boxwood and a relaxed style of flowers

Colors? All one colored flowers

An all green garden

Riots of color
You are mad about pruning? Then I could plan this for you! Take a look at the shutters and door, they exemplify the varying shades of green. The pea gravel path goes with the brick

List your favorite plants. Shrubs, trees, flowers, groundcover.........
When is the bloom time? If everything blooms in mid-summer only, there is a problem.
Source: via Debra on Pinterest

Grasses.......And think about your hardscape choices. What do you like? What would compliment your home by repeating a stone or color on the ground?
In the rear garden how will you use your space? Would you envision decking? Entertain frequently?
Seeking an intimate conversation area

Do you envision your space to be a "living" area?

Containers......oh the possibilities! Again, the size, color & style and the type of plants should be complimentary. If a container worked at your last home, it may not in your new home.
Multiple containers? (say yes) Where can we place them? The possibilities are fun and creative

And lastly, the accessories, those items that reinforce the style, that reflect your personality, that sets your garden apart...........stay tuned.........

If I can ever be of assistance, we can come to your home, irregardless of where you live (New Zealand would be lovely!) and/or we can provide a design and assistance on line.
Want to come? We would love to have you join us. Click the link below for information



  1. What a good blog you have here. Please update it more often. This topics is my interest. Thank you. . . Evergreens For Sale

  2. nice post, keep up with this interesting work. It really is good to know that this topic is being covered also on this web site so cheers for taking time to discuss this!

  3. I must say I love these older homes. We dont have many of them here in Tennesse where we live. :-)
    Shade Perennials

  4. Thanks for sharing this amazing article. Only a professional Landscaper can provide you amazing Design.


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