refreshing an established garden

tools of the trade

today i gave a lecture to the tamu women’s club garden interest group (GIG) called “refreshing an established garden.”  it’s been a while since i’ve lectured, but it went pretty well… until the ceiling-mounted projector at the library (yes, THAT library) went caput about 2/3 into it.  no bother… i engaged the audience in a little q&a while we waited for an intern to rescue us from our technical malady, but eventually i just turned the laptop around and continued on the small screen.

i found it coincidental that the garden designer’s roundtable (#gdrt) was blogging about the same thing today – renovation and restoration – so even though i’m not a participant in that group, here’s a few tidbits that i shared during the lecture.  i was even able to use some of the images i took in dallas at the garden writers association conference (#gwadfw), so consider this post an introduction to what i promised earlier.

gardens have structure.  work with what you have:

a dallas garden with many existing structures (plants, hardscaping, art)
a yard with little structure; starting from scratch!
work with existing structures, vegetation and topography

evaluate the space for your needs and find ways to bring your personality outdoors:

a comfortable outdoor seating area, dallas garden
a peaceful meditation garden in oak cliff

incorporate your treasures, collections and found objects:

antiques to yard sale finds

bring in a new color palette:

edibles add color and texture
pumpkins give the dallas arboretum a punch of harvest flavor
textiles and stone collections add sparkle to this dallas garden

and reconsider tactile elements:

hardscaping elements are also auditory elements...
...and planted elements to soften the edges

considering these elements help refresh an “established” garden from this:


into this:

and this:


into this:

remember that all renovation projects take time…  probably more than you’d ever anticipate.  but in the end, if you’re able to bring your own sense of style and personality into the mix, it is well worth the effort.  users of the space will see and appreciate it… hopefully for years to come.

a grove of copper beech trees, planted by olmsted, erie county botanical garden (#buffa10)
turtle creek pump house in dallas

7 thoughts on “refreshing an established garden

  1. If you ever need more before and afters, you know I have a lot. I agree it is well worth the effort even if only for your own gratification.

  2. Wow, looks like I missed a lot on the Tuesday tours in Dallas! I love your before and after shots and the way you structured your talk. Very powerful.

  3. Wish I could have been there–doing a major refresh, with quite a bit of digging, out front. Hooray for technical improvisations. I bet they loved you.

  4. Look at you go, Woman! You are fast becoming the garden expert in your neck of the woods. I really wish I could have been there. I’m impressed with your ability to handle the technical difficulties! I’m also impressed with how your own garden has changed- what a transformation! What an inspiration!

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