5.29.2014

ANOTHER BIG (but long overdue) CHANGE


affiliate mobile Oh, how our lives evolve.  My current adventure is finally switching over to a full website.

The biggest reason I felt compelled to make this change was to have the ability to share my illustration portfolio (which is a little limiting on my blog). My double life of garden design and illustration needed to merge a tad bit more...and now I can successfully do that. I'm hoping you'll be able to use my garden design and graphic resources easier too.

For those on my email list, you don't need to do anything.  When I write my next post you'll automatically get that via email from my new site....so just sit back and enjoy.  For those reading my blog through other means, please take note of my address here:


If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know.  I'll continue to tweak it so we can both continue to learn about garden design in fresh ways.

PS. I'm working on a fun, crafty garden design post as we speak (you'll need scissors and color pencils).  I can't wait to share it with you on the new site soon!

If you're stopping by to check out THE LUNCH BOX PROJECT those illustrations begin way back in January 2009.  You can start here.


If you're interested in more articles like this one, plus would like to receive a free copy of my theme garden eBook, please sign up for email updates here.

5.19.2014

SPRING TINTINNABULATION

Yes, I had to look up that word too.

TINTINNABULATION: The ringing or sound of bells (www.dictionary.com)

A few days ago I asked readers on my Facebook page to shout out their favorite (non-garden) words, so I could happily reconnect those words to the garden.  This is a great way to stretch your creativity (try it).

Many great words popped up, but this one intrigued me, plus made me think of my favorite bell-shaped spring flowers: Lily of the Valley, Virginia Bluebells and Daffodils.  It also made me realize how many bell-shaped flowers exist...crazy!  What are your favorites?  Big thanks to Foy from Foy Update for suggesting it.


While we're ringing in this lovely spring I wanted to give you a quick heads up on one of my big projects.  In the next couple of weeks I'll be revealing my new website.  It will be expanding this blog a bit and hopefully help you be able to sift through all my posts and tutorials a little easier (so they can be a resource for you). It will also fold in my illustrations a bit more.  I can't wait to show you!

I'm also working on a fun garden post to help you think (and create) your garden in three dimensions.  If all goes well, that will be my first post on the new site. My time is in competition with spring weed-pulling right now, but I'm attempting to stay on track! To those in the US, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!


If you're interested in more articles like this one, plus would like to receive a free copy of my theme garden eBook, please sign up for email updates here.

5.04.2014

SIZING AN OUTDOOR PATIO

Every year this question ultimately comes up in my landscape design studio: "How large should I make a patio for a certain number of people?" I found a handy document from Concrete Network with their suggestions, then put my own graphic spin on it below. If you also have suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.


UDPATE on 5.17.14: While discussing this on LinkedIn, John Welch of 3G Design brought up some additional important points related to this topic that I wanted to share:

John writes...The dimensions suggested...seem about right as far as accommodating tables and chairs is concerned. This is not necessarily the whole story, however. I always try to be generous and allow for a couple of extra places and I try to make sure there is clear access to and from the house (if the terrace adjoins it) unencumbered by furniture. Ideally you would be able to walk around the table too without stepping off the paved area or being crushed against a wall.

The other factor to consider is that of proportions. Tiny terraces look odd next to wide, high facades and conversely huge expanses of paving can look out of places against more modest dwellings. Clever design can only do so much to ameliorate this. So, there are aesthetic as well as practical considerations. I also like to place at least a narrow band of planting between house and terrace to soften this transition between horizontal and vertical surfaces. There may, of course, be budgetary restraints which can limit how big an area you can pave and what you use as a surface treatment.

Well said John.  Thanks!


If you're interested in more articles like this one, plus would like to receive a free copy of my theme garden eBook, please sign up for email updates here.

4.23.2014

GEUMS ARE GEMS

I discovered this flower only a few years ago and now cannot imagine living without it.  In early spring it pops out like orange polka-dots all over my zone 5 sunny perennial border.  The foliage is wide and round giving much needed coarse texture to the garden.  The flowers balance above about 12-18". There are many different cultivars, so I may be creating my own sweet little geum collection soon. Be warned that it does not transplant well.  My greedy side wanted more, so I attempted to divide and move them around, but only lost some in the process. I guess that is a a good reason to go plant binging shopping again.



If you're interested in more articles like this one, plus would like to receive a free copy of my theme garden eBook, please sign up for email updates here.

4.15.2014

SUCCULENTS ON THE FRONT PORCH

Over the last couple of weeks I've been participating in an online illustration class...Make Art that Sells by Lilla Rogers. I'm always looking for fun ways to improve my graphic communication skills, so am excited about this class and how I can explore additional methods to teach garden design.

The images below highlight our last project using succulents as inspiration. I imagined this being a front porch, with mismatched antiques, surrounded my containers of succulent plants.  Now I just need a glass of iced tea!



If you're interested in more articles like this one, plus would like to receive a free copy of my theme garden eBook, please sign up for email updates here.

4.05.2014

PLANTING DESIGN TIPS

Though I officially learned planting design in college, I didn't begin my real education until I began creating my own garden. These are a collection of tips I've learned over the last twenty years in both capacities. 


If you'd like more information on some of these tips please check out these posts:

Drawing Tree Forms
Make Your Garden Pop with Texture
Texture in the Garden

I hope to expand on additional tips in the future...so keep a look out for those.

I'd love to hear your planting design tips too. Please share one in the comments below.


If you're interested in more articles like this one, plus would like to receive a free copy of my theme garden eBook, please sign up for email updates here.

4.01.2014

PLANT BINGE SEASON

Spring brings the urge to plant binge (I'm an admitted plant addict). 

How many times have you entered a nursery center with looking as your only goal, but leaving with handfuls of plants?  The worst case is at the end of the planting season when everything is marked down to pennies.  How could you not purchase a few more goodies for the garden?  I fall into this category often, but I do follow a few personal rules.




1. Try to buy at least three (or more) of one plant.  Though you may not have a destination in mind yet, at least there will be a nice grouping for the final design (and it will look like you planned it).

2. Try something new.  If you're only paying 99 cents, why not try a new plant?  If it doesn't do well, no biggie.  My garden is filled with sale (and even free) plants that no one else wanted or recognized.  I now have some amazing plants that I would have never dreamed up on my own.

3. Is there a season you're lacking great color?  Late summer or fall perhaps?  Try to find plants that fill those gaps.  Don't let the lack of bloom in the nursery distract you - just because it's not blooming at that moment, doesn't mean it's not fabulous. Read the tags and grab the beauties others missed. 

4. Pick up those small, special plants (less than 12" tall).  These itty bitty plants are perfect for the front of your border or tucked in small spaces. Buy as many as you can. It's so much fun spreading these out along the front of a planting bed to pull it all together (what? a sale item creating a cohesive design?).

What other hints do you have?



If you're interested in more articles like this one, plus would like to receive a free copy of my theme garden eBook, please sign up for email updates here.


3.29.2014

GARDEN INSPIRATION


As you may know, I enjoy exploring garden blogs. I even keep a board of them on Pinterest.  Once in a while I love pulling out a few for extra inspiration. Since it's spring and we're aching to get outside (at least those of us in the cooler parts of the world) I encourage you to start dreaming.  Here are four to get you started:

I not only enjoy finding inspiration from blogs, but also from you. A couple of months ago I shared a survey to get feedback on possible topics I could cover on my blog.  For those that didn't participate, I'd love your thoughts. Here is a link to that survey once again: GARDEN DESIGN SURVEY.


If you're interested in more articles like this one, plus would like to receive a free copy of my theme garden eBook, please sign up for my email updates here.


3.19.2014

DRAWING TREE FORMS

There are three design elements to consider when creating a planting design: form, texture and color.

Each plant you choose encompasses these characteristics in different ways. Though you should consider all of these it is important to know that form is the most consistent, then texture and finally color. 

A good planting design should start with a strong composition of forms in elevation (standing in front and looking straight on). Trees, shrubs, and perennials all have forms. Below are only some examples of tree forms. Additional ones, not included below, are vase-shaped, weeping, and irregular. 

To design in elevation it's helpful to also be able to DRAW in elevation. I've included a video below to show my simple technique, so you can begin the joy of designing right away. 

A design hint: Take a photo of your house, throw on a piece of tracing paper, then try drawing some of these plant forms on top to see what combination might work for your landscape. Don't forget to layer them too (some tall plants in back, then medium and smaller plants in front).  Enjoy!






If you're interested in more articles like this one, plus would like to receive a free copy of my theme garden eBook, please sign up for my email updates here.

3.16.2014

THE GARDEN AS ART

While I'm working on my next tutorial (hopefully out later this week), I'd thought I'd share another surprise. Several of you have asked about whether I planned to sell garden prints in the future...specifically my tutorials.  I've finally pulled some together in both digital and hard-copy format.  These are perfect for tacking up on a studio wall as reference or for a uniquely framed {educational} garden print.  Click on the links below to find out more:
(print these out yourself)

(these are a high quality print that I sign and send to you)


If you're interested in more articles like this one, plus would like to receive a free copy of my theme garden eBook, please sign up for my email updates here.