The Best Garden Ideas

Garden shows are good for sparking the imagination and getting us to re-imagine our garden spaces. The Yard, Garden & Patio Show wrapped up on Sunday. As one of the OAN staff working on the show, I took a few minutes on Sunday to snap photos of the things I was most inspired or intrigued by. Here’s just a few. If you attended the show, let us know what most inspired you.

I’ve tried—and failed—to design a container with year-round interest for my front door step. I’m thinking I should just make the investment and buy something a professional has created. These two containers by Dennis’ 7 Dees caught my eye. One has the rich warm tones I love; the other great texture (I’m not wild about spiky plants, but this could change my mind).

I love woodland ecosystems and have been intrigued by an emerging trend: stumperies. This display designed by the ever imaginative Laura Crockett for Landscape East & West’s booth, takes stumperies to a new level. Water dripped ever so gently from the fern island, which was raised just a few inches from the geometrically-shaped pond.

Speaking of water, there were many water features at the show, from the biggest dramatically lit, still pond to the simplest bird bath. These two fall somewhere in between. All Oregon Landscaping does wonders with concrete in this feature, adding color and texture with a unique concrete casting method. Their plant selection and green wall design enhanced the display. On the simpler end of the spectrum is the rock that, instead of bubbling out the top of the rock, has the tiniest of rock ledges to create just enough trickling water to distract the ear and pull me to its location. It was created by Bo Lassiter Stonescapes.

Fire pits and fire places continue to be all the rage for outdoor living. Created by Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping, this is a blend of both: laid stone creates the enclosure but leaves natural openings for air circulation, and gravel, pebbles and rock create the hearth. [A word of caution about open air fires: the smoke can aggravate asthma so please be considerate of family, friends or neighbors that suffer from the disease.]

Stone plays an important role in defining space. It also helps us slow our journey and contains our garden beds. But these two uses of stone add drama. Enviromax Landscaping & Design combined different stone texture and shape in their showcase garden. The floating rectangular blue stone was flush with the water causing those that stepped across to wonder at their expectation that the stones would sink or tip. Talk about forcing awareness of one’s surroundings! Kristine Hanson and Autumn Leaf Landscaping stacked drilled rounded rocks to create a striking sculpture.

Fencing doesn’t have to be relegated to the periphery of your property. Landscape designer Kristine Hanson designed this moongate to create a multi-dimensional effect, which focuses attention on the beautiful glazed container. It could also work to emphasize a special piece of garden art or specimen plant.

Stone isn’t the only material to keep an elevated garden bed in place. Barbara Simon and Dinsdale Landscape used architectural salvage to elevate and add interest to this garden space. That and the beautiful woodland lantern added a mysterious element to their design.

Imagine using panels created by Gina Nash on gates, pergolas, fences as art, rain barrels, screen doors, etc. These whimsical carrot panels were created for the Incredible Edible Garden making the garden space very special indeed.

I’m heading to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show for more ideas.