Garden Designers Roundtable ~ First Impressions

Today I’m joining my fellow Lords and Ladies of the Roundtable in exploring the garden design topic of First Impressions.

The advice for ensuring your garden makes a good first impression is quite similar to the advice on making a good first impression that you probably received from your mom, and of course your best friends, way back when…when you first started dating.

Some of those kernels of truth, planted in your mind long ago, can be dusted off and applied to your garden to make sure it’s ready for a blind date from a surprise visitor…or two.

Dress Appropriately and Be Yourself

A sure way for your garden to make a positive first impression is for it to compliment the style of your home. It should enhance and support your home, not overwhelm it.

Incorporating a mix of regionally appropriate native plants is a simple way to add a sense of color, style and identity to your garden. Once you have the plants in place, start to add a few accessories that give visitors a sense of who you are.

Like your lucky scarf or favorite pair of shoes, adding touches to your garden that speak to your interests, favorite colors, or even the fact that you can’t seem to throw anything away (yes, now we call that re-purposing), adds a touch of flair and whimsy and makes your garden much more inviting.

A few well-placed accessories are a great conversation starter.

Get a Haircut

Just like with any big event, grooming decisions for your garden play an important part in how it looks and feels. It can be difficult to know how and when to prune  your plants properly. But proper pruning can really help rejuvenate a garden and is essential to keeping it healthy and vigorous.  Buying a book or two on pruning woody plants and caring for perennials is a good investment.

For pruning trees and shrubs, I like The Pruner’s Bible by Steve Bradley since it has easy to understand illustrations on formative, routine and remedial pruning. And for caring for perennials so they look their best, I turn to The Perennial Care Manual by Nancy J. Ondra and The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tarcy DiSabato-Aust.

FIrst impressions...a great barber but probably wound a little too tight for me.

Nerds Make Great Boyfriends

Remember back in high school, it was the jocks that got all the attention. You know the type…well-built, flashy and sometimes more show than substance. Plants are the same way.

If you look beyond what everyone else in the neighborhood is growing, and instead do some research and find appropriate native plants for your garden, you’ll be rewarded with a plant that is good for the environment and, like the nerd in high school, will mature into a fine specimen with a little understanding and TLC.

Chionanthus virginicus

Chionanthus virginicus...a nerdy native plant for southeastern US gardens

Don’t Give The Milk Away For Free

Admit it ladies, we’ve all heard, or uttered, this piece of advice. Regardless of how you feel it applies to dating, it is certainly worth keeping in mind when you are designing your garden.

A little mystery and intrigue, that hey-I-wonder-what’s-around-that-corner sense of wonder that you get when you can’t quite see the entire garden at once goes a long way to making a lasting positive first impression.

Even if your garden is small, adding a fence and gate or a curving path can arouse some curiosity and have your guests wanting more.

Think of a slightly opened gate as your garden's equivalent of a come-hither look.

Want More?

For more looks at First Impressions, check out posts from other members of the Garden Designers Roundtable:

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

Shirley Bovshow : Eden Makers : Los Angeles, CA

30 thoughts on “Garden Designers Roundtable ~ First Impressions

  1. Pingback: First Impressions! « Garden Designers Roundtable

  2. Hi Debbie,
    Loved your ‘dating game’ approach to the front garden!
    I was back in high school immediately, nervously screwing up my courage to ask for my first date!
    Seriously loved and agreed with all your points.
    And ‘re-purposing’ I didn’t know the word, but it is part of my vocab now!
    Best
    R

  3. Pingback: Garden Designers Roundtable: First Impressions — J Peterson Garden Design

  4. Pingback: Garden Designer’s Roundtable – First Impressions « Personal Garden Coach

  5. I LOVED your unique take on this topic Debbie! It was a fun and entertaining read. Oooh hold on- I there is a Nerd at my door! LOL
    Thank you for the fun!

  6. Great post Debbie. Sometimes looking at our gardens from a different perspective (like dating! I wouldn’t have thought of that) is all we need to shake ourselves up. Love the photo of the chionanthus, I’ve been eyeing this tree up recently for my own garden.

  7. Pingback: Curb Appeal: Five Inexpensive Front Yard Enhancements | Eden Makers Blog

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