Category Archives: Garden Design

Looking for ideas

I always look for new ideas and applications of materials while traveling.  Observation, sketching, and copious photographs while traveling should be obligatory for any designer at all times but especially while traveling; who knows when you will be able to get back to have a look at a brickwork detail or new use of a material.  I took this first picture in Milan in front of the Armani cafe (who else to look to for design ideas than Giorgio). I had seen really low and tight boxwood massing used by Russell Page and once I saw it here I knew I had to put it to use.  It is now an application that I use often.  It is akin to using the boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) as a groundcover.  It is perfect when you want evergreen structure and formality in a design without compromising or hiding the architecture.  It is almost liking creating a pediment to frame the architecture.  I use bare root liners that I purchase from a wholesale nursery but boxwood cuttings are extremely easy to propagate and this could be accomplished by a homeowner as a great experiment in propagation.  I find it works best if you let the plants root and establish for at least a year before pruning.

This was taken as we were still installing the liners two years ago.

This is two years after the installation.  The bottom still has a little bit of filling in to do but my intention is to keep this clipped very tightly.

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Filed under Boxwood Care, Garden Design, Travel

Chelsea Flower Show

I found some great and inspiring pictures of Chelsea that  I wanted to share.  If you’re reading this then I know you agree it is important to always look for new ideas and inspiration; no matter what you do.  I have gotten ideas from newer, less experienced designers that were amazing, and of course, I always look to those that are really making a name for themselves and have produced great work.  So, here is some inspiration…..DSC02726.JPG












Filed under Chelsea Flower Show, Garden Design

Hidcote Manor Garden

ScanHidcote has to be one of the most inspirational and studied gardens in the world.  While studying Garden Design it was one of the first gardens that I look to for inspiration.  It is England’s premiere example of an Arts and Crafts Garden.  Hidcote’s own web site will give you even more photos to study for inspiration.  The information below was provided by Wikipedia.

Hidcote Manor Garden is a landscape garden located on the outskirts of the small village of Hidcote Bartrim, near Chipping CampdenGloucestershireEngland and owned by the National Trust.

Created by American-born horticulturalist Major Lawrence Johnston, it is often described as one of England’s great “Arts and Crafts” gardens with its collection of raretreesshrubs and herbaceous borders.

Johnston’s mother, Gertrude Winthrop, purchased the Hidcote Manor Estate in 1907. The estate was located within a part of England with strong connections to the then-burgeoning Arts and Crafts movement.

Johnston soon became interested in turning the fields around the estate into a garden. By 1910 Johnston had begun to lay out the key features of the garden and by the 1920s Johnston had twelve full-time gardeners working for him.

The garden was acquired by the National Trust in 1947.

Johnston’s influences in creating his garden include such luminaries as Alfred ParsonsGertrude Jekyll, and others. In 2007 a garden designed by Chris Beardshaw that drew its inspiration from Johnson’s Hicote was constructed at theChelsea Flower Show.

The garden takes the form of a series of outdoor “rooms” of various characters and themes created by the creative use of box hedgeshornbeam and yew and stone walls. These rooms, such as the ‘White Garden’ and ‘Fuchsia Garden’ are linked together, and some by imaginative vistas and furnished with topiaries. Some have ponds and fountains, and all are planted with flowers in bedding schemes. They surround the 17th century manor house, and there are numerous outhouses and a kitchen garden.

The property is close to Kiftsgate Court Gardens, which is built on the edge of the Cotswolds escarpment overlooking the Vale of Evesham.

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Filed under Garden Design, Hidcote Manor Gardens

Pattern Books


In my design work I am always looking for examples and inspiration.  This can take a lot of time and effort and to be able to find it all in one place is rare.  Many years ago while in Charleston I ran across a book simply called Fences. I was intrigued.  It was beautifully bound and illustrated with many examples of fences, gates, post and finial options; I was in love and had to have it.  I later discovered that he had completed four pattern books the other three of which I have also purchased now.  These cover the topics of Brick Pavement and Fence-Walls, Garden Houses and Privies, and Gazebos and Trellises.  Mr. Peter Joel Harrison has done an amazing job on all of them.  They are extremely well researched and amazingly drafted.  These are a must for any designer or if you just have an interest, you can spend hours looking through these.


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Filed under Garden Design, Garden History

Villa Lante

This is a great video on Villa Lante in Italy.  This is an amazing garden that must truly be visited to understand its breadth; however this is a great overview of the property.

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Filed under Garden Design, Travel

The Reach Garden

These are photos of a project that we installed two years ago.  The main thing I want to illustrate to you with these pictures is how a lot of the color is pulled away from the house and the “foundation” plantings have been kept very simple and clean.  I think it is very important for the house to be able to show off it’s architecture.  I try to keep a light hand near the house typically focusing on evergreens near the house.  This makes sure that your structural plantings are doing their job of grounding the house year round while still allowing the architecture to stand on it’s own while working with it’s lines.  I have designed everything on the outside from the drive and walks to lighting and plantings.  There is a before shot included below so you can see what we were working with when the project started.

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Filed under Garden Design, My Garden Design

A Man Named Pearl

This is a preview for a documentary that came out this past year.  It is a wonderful story and an amazing garden.  Watch the trailer and if you want to purchase the movie click HERE.

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Filed under Garden Design, Pearl Fryar