November 30, 2011
Unfortunately, I’ve been stuck inside sick lately, so garden design is about all I can do. Viewing the garden from the inside out is a good design reminder. Yes, a garden should be fragrant and beautiful and experiential when you’re in it. But, it designed right, it should be equally delightful to someone trapped in bed in need of some earthly healing. Fortunately, for me, I’ve got rooms with garden views that — even in on a bare, wet, wintery day — brighten my outlook no matter how crappy I feel.
Need tips to get a better outlook on your garden? Consider these simple ideas:
- Attract Wildlife: Build good soil that worms and beetles love, and you’ll have birds scratching away for them. Add in a water feature, birdbath or dish stone, and they’ll come to bathe and drink. Provide berry-filled bushes like Cotoneaster, and once those berries ferment, the robins will provide hours of goofy, drunken entertainment. Plant fall and winter bloomers like Arbutus unedo and Witchhazel, and you may see hummingbirds year-round.
- Don’t Block Your Views: Remember to think about how big a plant will get as it grows. Don’t plant a big shrub right by your picture window, or soon enough you won’t be able to see your picture view. Instead, build your privacy by planting bigger things further from the house.
- Balance Privacy and Light: While you may want a big, full, leafy garden in spring and summer to provide privacy at times when you’re in the garden all the time, remember that you may want some spaces open in winter to allow in light. Keep this in mind when mixing evergreens and deciduous plants in the garden. A well-placed evergreen will give you winter interest but not block views or precious winter sun. A poorly placed one may leave you in the dark all winter long.
- Art & Structure: A well placed, freeze proof container, a beautiful stone or even some all-season furniture can give the garden substance and an inviting sense of place even on a frigid winter day, viewed from the warm comfort of your favorite reading chair. In summer, when perennials are tall and the garden is full, these artistic elements may disappear from view, hidden by glorious foliage and flowers. But, that’s okay. Forgetting them during summer will only add to your appreciation of them after the leaves have fallen, the perennials go dormant and the snow sprinkles them with crystalline highlights.
Every home and garden has its own set of special challenges. There may be other things you can do to make sure your garden is as equally beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to schedule a Garden Mentors session or buy a holiday gift for someone else to figure out how to make your garden as appealing as possible — from every viewpoint, every day of the year!