Tips: Landscape Professionals

Apr 05, 2010

Landscape Designers and Landscape Architects from the Garden Design Advisory Board provide tips and ideas for starting an outdoor project, designing for small spaces, and improving curb appeal.

What is your tip for helping people determine what they’d like to do with their outdoor project when they don’t have a vision?
* Ask yourself what use do you want to encourage. Is it an intimate space for you, or a space to facilitate social interaction? In your mind’s eye, immerse yourself in this new use. What other examples of this use have you found to be memorable? Define those elements that will build character and identity.  -Paul R. Broadhurst

* Look through indoor/outdoor design magazines like Garden Design for ideas, cut out lots of pictures you like or print them from the web and drop them in a folder. Hire a good designer, hand over the idea folder to them showing them exactly what it is you like about the images, then make them earn their keep and devise a solution for you.  -Gary Gragg

* Our company motto is “Home is the vacation you take every day.” I ask clients to think about life experiences and places they’ve been. Is there a hotel, destination, friend’s home or other place that was a truly memorable experience? I ask them to describe their feelings about those places and why they were so special and comfortable.  -Paul Keyes

Best advice for small spaces?
* Let the hardscape be bold and simple, the planting will soften it. Be brave!  -Katie Spitz

* I design small spaces as if they were rooms, factoring in flooring (i.e. hardscape), furnishings, decorative, and ornamental objects, giving them punch with color and texture. When possible, I  “borrow” from attractive elements located outside the property’s perimeter to expand the sense of space.  -April Palmer

* When designing for a small space choose two or three elements that are most important to you. Do you want to grow herbs, flowers, or vegetables? Do you want a place to sit and relax? Do you need a place to dine or entertain? Are you interested most in the view from the house?  -Judy Nauseef

* Designing on an angle helps elongate the space. Not being able to see the entire garden at once adds interest and depth.  -Allison Kuzniar

What is a tip for improving curb appeal with low upkeep?
* Spotlighting a tree or door does wonders for curb appeal.  -Eric Groft

* Consider something colorful that doesn’t require deadheading, like a large pot with a spectacular, low-maintenance plant in it for any-time-of-the-year appeal.  -Vanessa Gardner Nagel

* Consider using evergreen plant material as the backbone of the garden design, so that when the all the deciduous plants have lost their leaves in the winter, there is still a visual interest to the planting design from the street.  -Jane Hansen

* Always keep your property well maintained. Do your research and use plant material that will look good year-round. The right choice of plant material (i.e. drought-tolerant species) can be much less maintenance-intensive than lawn, so don’t hesitate to reduce your lawn by as much as necessary to increase other types of garden plantings.  -Janet Rosenberg


Want more? Meet the esteemed members of the Garden Design Advisory Board and check back regularly for tips, product recommendations, and more.