Showing by category: Garden Designers Roundtable

We all tend to collect our memories somewhere - scrapbooks, journals, photo albums, memory quilts, recipes or family movies (just to name a few).  But for many of us, our gardens are what carry us through the years, bringing back fond memories through sight, scent, touch and taste. Personally, I can't help but think of my grandmother whenever I see a towering delphinium.  And the sound of palm fronds 'clapping' in the wind instantly transports me to one of my favorite beaches in Hawaii.  In fact, just last week I was at a client's garden, picking some of her Concord read more
There's something alluring about beautiful plants that have a bite to them. In fact, I just attended a fascinating talk by desert-designer-extraordinaire Scott Calhoun, who believes our fascination with plants that make us bleed is akin to the Stockholm Syndrome - ha! While I don't go out of my way to design gardens that will intentionally impale or poison people, I also don't go out of my way to avoid plants that might have potential for pain.  Just like lots of people I know, sometimes the most fascinating characters have a prickly or acidic side to them.  All you have read more
I've been wanting to write about this garden for a long time, and have finally found the perfect opportunity with today's Garden Designers Roundtable topic 'Focusing on the Details'.  (Warning:  lots of photos for this one!) While touring gardens last year with Debra Lee Baldwin, she insisted I meet her good friend, Jim Bishop.  And, if I was really lucky, I might even get to see his garden.  Thank heavens it was my lucky day.  Jim Bishop is pretty amazing - he's not only an incredibly talented garden designer, but he's also the President of the San Diego Horticulture Society. read more
The natives are coming, the natives are coming!    Each passing year brings more and more native plants to our California nurseries, and I couldn’t be more pleased. In response to this growing demand, even the smallest nursery these days seems to have a section dedicated to native plants. However, there are some clients who are still a little hesitant whenever I suggest using a native plant for fear their garden will begin taking on an different aesthetic, look ‘too messy’, ‘too grassy’ or ‘dead in the summer’. While it's true that some native plants go dormant in the summer ( read more
As a landscape designer and garden writer I see lots and lots of gardens. And while I’m a huge fan of personalizing your garden with whatever art captures your heart, lately I seem to be drawn to selectively placed, oversized sculptures. I think this is because my own life is so hectic right now, and I crave the calming effect  these sculptures have on my whirling and tired brain.  My favorites are those larger-than-life sculptures that are strategically situated in the garden, without distraction from nearby plants, structures or any other elements. (more…) read more
Welcome to the Garden Designers Roundtable, where designers from around the world participate in monthly discussions about all things gardening. The topic for this month is Texture. As many gardeners already know, gardening appeals to all the senses.  Not only do our eyes visually benefit from our creative efforts, but equally important are a garden's tastes, delicious scents and gentle sounds.  The sense of touch, while equally important, is often ignored.  Why?  Many gardeners aren't exactly sure how to use texture in their gardens.  Sure, anyone can plant a soft and touchable Lamb's Ear along a border, but  I'm talking read more
In this month's Garden Designers Roundtable, we have the honor of writing about our own personal gardens. While this may seem like an easy post to write, it’s actually been quite difficult for me.   How can I possibly share my garden with you in a way that conveys all that it means to me? While trying to think about what I'd write I was suddenly overtaken by the need to lie down on my soft and comfy patio sofa for a while to take a nap  help me think. As I lay there with my eyes closed, I could read more
The topic for this month's Garden Designers Roundtable is Garden Travel/Best Gardens.  While I immediately thought of the many beautiful gardens I've seen on my travels, there's one that I've recently had the pleasure of visiting, and one that I can't get out of my mind.  It's a private garden here in Northern California, created by Jarrod Baumann, a most talented young landscape architect with his firm Zaterre Landscape Architecture. (more…) read more
I've been wanting to write about this for a long, long time - my Top 10 things NOT to do in your garden!  Having designed gardens for over a decade, I've seen a lot of crazy things; some funny, some not so much. Please join me today, along with the rest of the Garden Designers Roundtable, as we discuss the topic 'Reality Check - don't do this'!   (more…) read more
Sure, it's tempting to title this post Deer-Proof Plants or something of that nature but truth be told, deer will eat just about anything when they're hungry.  And not only that, they're some of the craftiest animals around when it comes to sneaking into your garden.  The second you leave your gate open, they let themselves in and prune your roses to the ground. Instead of fighting this constant, never-ending battle with deer I've found it much easier to accept them as part of the landscape and to design gardens around them. Yes, it can be done! Please join my read more
The topic for this month’s Garden Designers Roundtable is From Here to There, which I'm interpreting as pathways.  This is a most excellent topic as it’s one that seems to overwhelm most of my clients.   While most people have a general idea of the style of garden they want, colors they like, etc. they’re not sure how to go about designing pathways and choosing its material.  Traditional or non-traditional?  Formal or informal? Flagstone? Brick? Decomposed Granite?  Mortared? Loose-set?  Ack!!! Here in California, with our laidback lifestyles, casual pathways are what most of my clients want throughout their read more
Let me state up front that I'm not a hater when it comes to lawns.  There, I've said it. If you have a lawn and you or your kids actually use it, then it's okay in my book.  Especially if you don't have unrealistic expectations that you need to saturate your garden with chemicals to keep your lawn weed free and in tip-top shape at all times. However, in California's Mediterranean climate where water is such a precious commodity, planting a lawn where it'll never be truly enjoyed just doesn't make sense.  Why waste valuable water and energy when you read more
Garden Designers Roundtable – Favorite Landscape Plants
The topic of this month's Garden Designer's Roundtable is sharing my favorite 'must have' plants with you.  Easy!  I grabbed a pen, sat down in my comfy chair and began to list my favorites.  Time ticked by and after awhile I realized I had at least 50 choices so far, with no end in sight.  I clearly needed a different approach or this would be the longest post in history. So instead, today I'm going to tell you about one of my favorite colors to use in the garden (and why) and share some of my favorite plants within that read more
Our new book, Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces, made its debut this past week and Susan Morrison and I are thrilled that our fellow Roundtablers will be writing their own thoughts about vertical gardening today. Since I've already written about many different aspects of vertical gardening in Garden Up!, I thought I'd do something a little different.  Today, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite photos and concepts that never made it into our book. (more…) read more
The name of the garden is 'Paradise (to be) Regained..borrowing Thoreau' and is described as "…a generation who's looking for paradise in a shrinking world…this garden uses the power to reclaim and re-characterize what is left behind." Since I have a 15-year old daughter, I instantly tried to look at this garden through a teenager's eyes. When I came home I showed my daughter the photos, and asked her to pick out her favorite parts of the garden, and this is what she loved: (more…) read more
  Remember when having a vegetable garden meant a collection of raised beds, or a few tomato plants in a pot?  Instead of banishing them to out-of-the-way areas, these days, edibles are everywhere in the garden – mixed with ornamentals, scrambling out of recycled containers, and clambering up apartment walls. This topic of this month's Garden Designers Roundtable is Edibles, and I'm thrilled!Especially since Ivette Soler, fellow GDRT blogger, has just written the most amazing, inspiring and detailed book on the topic: The Edible Front Yard. Today I'm going to show you some of my favorite edibles to mix in read more
This month's topic for the Garden Designers Roundtable is Inspiration, and it took me all of 2 seconds to figure out what I'd write about. Without a doubt, Mother Nature (the grandest Garden Designer of them all) provides me with endless inspiration. To see classic design principles perfectly implemented and naturally occurring fills both my heart and soul. / Sometimes, when stumbling upon something particularly awe-inspiring, I just pray that I'm able to take it all in so I can later translate it into a garden setting.  I truly feel that we, as garden designers, strive to copy what Nature read more
As we head into fall, with winter on our heels, it might seem odd to write about ‘Dining Alfresco’ (the topic for this month’s Garden Designers Roundtable discussion).   While cozying up indoors this winter, why not make plans for creating an outdoor area in your own garden next spring? Entertaining large gatherings, or just enjoying a quiet moment for yourself, with a little creativity and planning there's bound to be a style that right just for you. . When designing gardens, the request for creating an area to entertain is always at the top of a client’s ‘wish read more
In this month's Garden Designers Roundtable, we discuss how to create a garden that's inviting to wildlife - creating a 'habitat garden'. I think it's safe to say that for the most part, those of us who love gardening appreciate most aspects of nature and get a little thrill when discovering hidden bird nests in our window boxes, see a baby fawn with its mother, or hear an owl in the distance.  In addition to enriching your soul, by creating a garden that caters to your area’s habitat, you’re enriching the surrounding wildlife as well.  The faster society read more
. This topic for this month's Garden Designers Round Table discussion is 'Underutilized Plants', and is one that's very important to me as a Garden Designer.   As a designer, I definitely have my list of 'Faves' that I like to plant whenever possible.  Why are they my favorites?  It's usually a combination of reasons - they thrive in our area, have long bloom times, are deer resistant, they're low maintenance or have gorgeous foliage.  In a nutshell, they're tried and true and won't disappoint. (more…) read more
'Containers' is the topic for this month's Garden Designers Round Table post.  Choosing and planting containers is one of the most fun topics of all to write about, as it's a great way to inject some personality into your garden. . This is especially important for people who have an established garden - one that's already beautiful and 'done'.   I hear this request from many people who have just purchased a new home.  They end up calling me NOT necessarily to re-design their garden, but because they're not sure how to go about making it 'their own'.  Creative containers read more
This month's Garden Designers Round Table topic is The Focal Point.  And to simply illustrate a perfect focal point example, I've chosen the Bullseye. Why is this small dot a focal point, anyway?  When you think about it, the combined mass of the concentric circles is so much greater than that one little dot.  And visually, there's so much more going on with all the circling lines than the one little dot.  Why is it then, that the one dot is the first place your eye rests? The reasons are simple: 1) the dot is a different color than it's read more
Color is the topic for this month's Garden Designers Roundtable discussion - and once again it's a MASSIVE topic full of endless possibilities!   How on EARTH can I narrow down such an all-encompassing topic such as this? I've decided to write about the most important color in my designs - Maroon. Or burgundy. Or dark purple.  Whichever term you prefer. (more…) read more
What is the 'Garden Designers Roundtable'?  First started in December 2009, a small group of us thought it would be fun, as professional landscape designers, to each write an article on the same topic (Do Designers Practice what they Preach), but each written from our own point of experience from different parts of the country. It was an idea that was very well-received, so we wrote about another topic (Celebrating Regional Diversity), expanding our group with a few more designers.   Realizing this was so much fun, we decided to make it a monthly event, inviting 12 designers from our read more
This month's Garden Designers Roundtable topic is "Celebrating Regional Diversity". I LOVE this topic - embracing that which makes each of our regions unique and how we celebrate it through garden design. My client base is in Northern California's 'Silicon Valley' - an area typically defined as stretching from San Francisco down to San Jose. (more…) read more
Whenever I begin a new design, at some point early in the design process I like to invite the new client to my garden so they can 1) get a first-hand look of my own, personal favorite style of gardening, and 2) identify the plants they like/dislike for their own garden.  It's also a great way to get them excited and to start thinking about the details of their project. And while I do take pride in showing my garden to others, I've been noticing that I start to make excuses before the client's have even stepped out of their read more