You know we love before and after posts, where you see something with possibility come to life with careful planning and creativity. Ben Page, principal of Page|Duke Landscape Architects in Nashville, has spent a lifetime perfecting this idea. His thoughtful designs not only bring new, green life to garden spaces in the very literal sense, but they restore a sense of peace and tranquility in the midst of busy lives, too. In the May issue of flower magazine, Ben said something that has been echoing in my head about the importance of spending time in the garden, and it’s making me rethink the empty pots on my back patio:
After a challenging winter, a little dirt under my nails and something green at my back door might be a good antidote for this new season. Using a couple of Ben’s big signature projects, as well lots of smaller ones to demonstrate, here are some key elements Ben says everyone — from the pro to the gardening-challenged — should keep in mind when starting any spring landscape spruce up.
Note: All photos today were taken by John Chaisson and are courtesy of Page|Duke Landscape Design.
These first four photos show what a complete landscape redesign can do for the exterior of a home. Wow, right? But aside from the enviable end result, what I want you to notice is that the focal point in Ben’s plan makes it easy for your eye to have a place to rest. Establishing a focal point is key to making the garden landscape feel complete and harmonious.
Those are big projects, to be sure. But what about smaller-scale improvements? Here are things he suggests:
Container gardens really are an easy way to add interest, color and texture to your landscape design, not to mention they are DIY-friendly projects that don’t require a professional. Ben recommends clustering pots together, as shown in this photo below. He also recommends using large pots (the one in the center of the photo is 30 inches tall) so that you don’t have to water everyday.
Other elements to consider:
Bottom line, regardless of the gardener’s level of expertise, Ben says, “you must get your hands dirty,” and accept failure as part of the process if you want to achieve satisfying results.
- Learn more about Page|Duke here: pageduke.com, and see more wonderful project photos on Instagram here: instagram.com/pagedukeland.
- And, if you’re ready to tackle your own garden path, here’s a post from SB Louisville last spring on how to do it yourself: styleblueprint.com/louisville/diy-garden-path.
Those who know me, know that I’m gardening-challenged and plagued with black thumbs, but I’m ready to have a go at life in the slow, garden lane and see what I can grow. Thank you, Ben, for these inspired ideas!