As we approach this incomparable time of year, when all things display their uniqueness and rebirth, we ourselves are able to start anew. For many, it’s the best time of year for cleaning and preparation for the year ahead. Creativity may be at a new height as the days become longer and we are surrounded by nature at its finest.
Botanical gardens such as Cheekwood can provide inspiration for your own garden getaway. (Photo provided by L. Smith)
Garden spaces should provide an area for living easily. The backdrop may be simple or grand. The setting may be large enough to resemble a park, or as small as a courtyard. In determining the vision for any outdoor space, many become overwhelmed at what the end design should be and how to select the appropriate components to achieve the desired look.
To me, a garden space is just like any other space that can evolve and reflect the homeowner. The space may allow for creativity or solitude, privacy or entertainment, play or meditation. It may be a color burst of various flora, or it may be simple enhancements in only one color against a green canvas. I recommend beginning the design of the garden space with end in mind. Unlike the design process of a room, the results are not instant, as the components will grow and develop, creating a new and developed space over time.
A well-evolved space can be achieved when a methodical, well-defined plan is put in motion. Many professionals are available to help with this process if you are intimidated by the task. They may also relieve your stress if you are within the evolution of a space and don’t know what to do next. I find guidance from many types of professionals in the garden business, from simple plant combination recommendations at local greenhouses to comprehensive garden design plans from landscape designers and architects.
I always recommend the design process for garden spaces by defining the following:
What is the size of my space?
What is my budget for this season? Ongoing development?
What exists? What may be pulled or added?
How much time will I spend on maintenance and care?
How much sun versus shade does my space receive? At what times in the day?
How will I use the space?
Will I need to build a structure?
Will I need furniture?
Following this thought process, allow some time to vision your preferences and style. I think some of the best designs follow the characteristics of the home, offering a glimpse of the style of the homeowner and elements seen inside the home. Some of the best gardens allow people to express themselves even more than in their home design. The garden provides a relaxed way to infuse meaningful points of interest from the past, such as a garden gate, a birdbath or an old watering can. My spaces are full of treasures that invoke memories of my past and are so special. Using collected pieces or inspirations from travels are also ways to create unique spaces. Coastal influences or Asian trees and water features are always interesting.
I also encourage people to set aside time to revisit and study areas they may love. So many inspirations may come from the details you never noticed until you intentionally made photos or notes as you discovered them. Of course the Antiques and Garden Show is an amazing point of inspiration each February. I always find time to visit, studying the artistic garden designs and learning from the exceptional lecturers. Our family also frequents the local historical homes and gardens for fun, educational outings. I never leave Cheekwood or any of the homes that are true Southern treasures without ideas on garden space design and plants.
One resource that provides information on local soil, plants and hints for garden success may be found by visiting the UT Extension office or visiting online at utextension.Tennessee.edu. This is an excellent resource to ensure choosing the right plants for the right setting.
Many publications and beautiful books are excellent resources for the design process, as well. The photography in garden design books is amazing and allows for understanding the elements as the vision unfurls. These photos are essential for me as I work within spaces to communicate the style and depth of any space.
The good news resulting from intentional and reflective garden design is there are few errors. If planned and well executed these spaces you create will truly be your very own and may be enjoyed for many years. As with most things in life, the more time and energy you invest, the more you will receive.
For more information, contact Lori Sain Smith at Daffodilly Design, Lori@daffodillydesign.com