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Home Step 2:Path to Your Unique Garden Style
Step 2: Find A Path to Your Unique Garden Style PDF Print E-mail

Landscape Design Idea - Stone Walkway

This is the seed from which the stem, leaves, flower and fruit of your project will grow.

You’re not starting from scratch?

It doesn’t matter if you...

  • already have a mature landscape you want to refurbish
  • are halfway through your project
  • are starting with a blank canvas

...you’re not going to have a landscape that you can truly feel at home in unless you tap into your personal garden vision.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the saying...

...“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. This holds true for creating your ideal landscape or garden.

Undoubtedly you’ve visited a home or garden and had the thought that this is very well done, but you wouldn’t want to live here. This is because...

...that particular view lacks an emotional connection to your unique sense of what is beautiful.

So, how exactly do you figure out what you love?

We’re going to give you the keys to paradise right here.

There are several doorways to your personal haven. Choose the one which makes you feel most comfortable.

Close your Eyes. Envision the most beautiful place you've seen in nature.

The technique of visualization has been used effectively for everything from cancer recovery to goal achievement, from stress relief to finding an open parking space. And it works every time for uncovering the special place which resides deep inside you and...

...makes your heart sing.

For many, this picture derives from times when they were in nature and felt really happy and loved. Often this occurs when we are children.

Which brings us to our next possible way to uncover your garden vision...

Think about the most wonderful times you’ve experienced in nature.

Screened Porch with Landscaping Pond  

A client of ours in North Carolina had fond memories of experiences he’d had at a stream near the home where he grew up (sort of like James Taylor in his song, ‘Copperline’). We helped him recreate the stream and located it next to his screened porch, so on steamy summer days and nights he can hear the rippling water without being pestered by the humongous bugs that live down here.

We chose our own home and property based on our personal aesthetic of a place that reminded us of our happy childhood summers in the north woods. Our home has a cabin atmosphere and our backyard has a pond stocked with fish (although neither of us fish – we just like watching them jump after those bugs scooting across the water).

Our house is in a meadow surrounded on all four sides by tall pines. At night we can watch the moon come up through the pine needles just like we did as children.

Guess we’re just a couple of kids at heart.

Landscape Design Idea - Swimming Pool  

Others experienced their ideal spot as an adult on vacation or perhaps on a honeymoon. One of our favorite projects was refurbishing an old swimming pool in northern California to look like a tropical lagoon reminiscent of the ones the owners enjoyed on their vacation trips to Hawaii.

Another way you can learn about your garden style is to...


Look at pictures or take tours of gardens

Visit our Landscape Pictures Photo Gallery to begin gathering ideas.

Landscape design photos are a wonderful way to get ideas for your ideal garden. Imagine having over 4,200 landscape photos at your fingertips! You can also use them to communicate your vision of your landscape project to garden professionals. Learn more...

Magazines and books are also wonderful resources.

We think that Martha Baker’s book, Garden Ornaments, is indispensable for the person who is looking for their ideal home garden. Not only is it filled with beautiful pictures of basic and unique landscape styles, but it also has ideas for carrying your style through to the garden accessories.

We also like Gardens in the Spirit of Place, by Page Dickey. This book has over 150 pictures of gardens that are bound to bring back a happy memory or two of happy childhood times or places you’ve visited. From the woodlands of the east coast, to the farmlands of Wisconsin, to the Texas Hill Country, Ms. Dickey explores gardens from many areas of the USA.

Note what you like and dislike about each style in a journal. After awhile you’ll see a pattern forming.

To learn more about your style patterns...

Look around your home

Observe things like:

  • Have you decorated your interior rooms in an open, more spare fashion or are they intimate and cozy? This also will be your preference for your outdoor rooms.
  • Have you chosen a casual or a more formal feeling with your furnishings? Perhaps you’ve mixed the two. This can be repeated outdoors.
  • Notice your artwork. We once had a client that we were working very hard for to determine the style of railing for their deck. After many suggestions, we finally noticed a railing on a bridge in an Asian painting they had in their living room. When we pointed it out to them they said, “That’s it!”

If continuity in design is important to you, it is especially important that you consider the interior of your home and bring elements of it to your exterior.

And we can’t end this section before we mention that old primary law of physics – opposites attract! You dream of the rugged mountains and your spouse is drawn to Parisian parterres. It happens a lot.

This gets more tricky, but when blended correctly, opposing styles turn out to be the most dynamic – much in the same way as a black background enhances a light painting.

And you can always let one partner have the front yard while the other takes the rear. Just be sure to tie in the two areas in some way, like repeating a form or color.

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Spend a little time with this step. You won’t be sorry.

You don’t want a formal French landscape like your neighbor’s if your favorite place to be is in a tropical rainforest. Make sure you have a clear picture of the scene that makes you happiest before you go any farther.

You’ll know when you’ve found it because you’ll smile when you start thinking of how you can bring that experience into your yard.

Hold on to your dream now as we introduce a little reality and you learn how to...

read more . . .