April 16, 2015


When I am approached by a publisher to review a book they typically provide a single copy that I review and give-away. Frances Lincoln Limited provided two, one for you and one for me,
 am I ever glad. 
Author Ian Hodgson wrote THE book that every gardener will want....and need, including this landscape designer.
 This book presents more than 300 of the best garden designs of the last ten years from 50 top garden designers, the top British designers. But Mr. Hodgson also sought out the work of lesser-known designers whose innovating designs deserve wider recognition. As a fellow member of the Society of Garden Designers (British), he is in the company of the best of the best

The process of garden design requires many thousands of small decisions in pursuit of the most appealing solutions for outdoor spaces and this tome makes that complex process simpler by offering  step-by-step considerations that are both doable and within your budget constraints
One is guided effectively and imaginatively through the process

 Outdoor Rooms
 Planting styles

 Adding Art
 Ideas for children
Supporting wildlife
 Imaginative mulch. With all the cones that drop here makes this within my realm of possibility
 How to do all of the above and so much more by yourself or how to hire a garden designer

 All you need to do to win is be a subscriber and leave a comment, a random generator will choose a winner.

Trust me, this should be in every gardener's library, the how to's and the inspiration photo's are fresh and exciting. Thank you Ian Hodgson!
Had to include today's photo, my beloved Cooper enjoying a spring day


April 7, 2015

What should a Landscape Designer "SEE"

It's a new season, our 26th,  the calls are coming in for new landscape designs and those seeking to freshen their existing landscapes.
Over the years our skills have been honed and our procedures with a new client fine tuned. For me it all goes back to two elements; the details and listening skills. 

We would love to be your landscape firm but that is not always feasible, be it distance, costs or a multitude of reasons.......this post is intended to bring our approach to you

I begin the design process with many questions via a six page survey. Seeing my position as an interpreter, pulling out what my clients like, dislike, hopes and dreams. Bridging those desires with good horticultural practices makes for a successful design

What is your architectural style? 
Favorite colors?

         What plants do you like?

These are all good questions to ask yourself

No. 1  What is your homes architectural style?
        Does your home have a distinct architectural style? Examples include Tudor, Cape, Revival, Traditional, Georgian........  If not, would you like to steer your home into a particular direction? 

             Why is this important?
                                A home and it's gardens should exist as one cohesive unit. We can learn from the history of particular styles and their original sense of place.

Examples;  Georgian homes have straight lines and more formal tendencies, they are symmetrical. All ornamentation should follow in that vernacular. The same for plants. Great materials include boxwood, ivy and topiaries
                   Google 'Georgian Gardens' for further clues

                   A Cape Cod styled home is just the opposite; exuberant, informal, asymmetrical. 
                   Plants include shrub roses, ornamental grasses, hydrangea.......

Belgian;  simplicity, muted color ways
No. 2  
Look out strategic windows. How can those views be framed?
 No. 3
Do you favor symmetrical or asymmetrical?

No. 4
Formal or informal?
Or a mix of both?
No. 5
What are your favored color schemes? Least favorite?
No. 6
List your favorite plants
     -are they specific to your zone?
     -are they properly sited?  ex: sun, shade, partial

No. 7
Are you willing to mix foliage colors or do you prefer all green gardens?
Other questions to ask yourself
-are there any views to conceal?
-borrow and enhance?
-any issues; drainage, sinking, needed renovations ...
What extras are you interested in?
  fireplace...seating area...  containers...lighting...fountain....
When we have amassed all of the above information, and much more, we present a 3D pen and ink rendering. This format versus a blueprint beautifully conveys a landscape, a garden, at maturity.
Funny story......I was in England telling my friend Angela how we transformed our yard and how much I loved it. As horror slowly spread across her face she stopped me and asked why would you have a YARD at home? 
Sensing a translation blunder, I inquired further......
In Britain, a YARD = DUMP. Ever since I refer to my GARDEN

In summary, hone in on the details, ask yourself these questions and source inspiration images. A portrait of your loves will begin to emerge. 

In need of inspiration?
My pinterest pages are chalk full.....take a look

And many many more, follow me HERE.....

OR.....drop me a line, we would be honored to assist, local or long distance  Debra@scentimentalgardens.com


April 4, 2015


Blessings on this Easter and Passover season. Thank you for being a part of 5th and State
With gratitude,
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