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Enhancing what you have: DIY garden renovation ideas

by Timber Press on November 2, 2017

in Design, Gardening

This ingenious DIY wall is high enough to divide the garden and patio area into a room separate from the driveway, adding a pop of color visible from both sides.

There might be a lot about your landscape you find less than Pinterest-perfect. While not as exciting as starting from scratch, adding enhancing touches with color and artistry is a quick, affordable way to transform your garden and add more personality to your yard.

To get ideas and inspiration, start collecting pictures of gardens and landscape features that appeal to you from books, magazines, and online resources (Pinterest and Houzz are excellent for this). Visit the websites of landscape designers and view their portfolios. You will be sure to garner ideas from their various projects. Also take pictures around your neighborhood or city, or on your travels, when something catches your eye. Keep a project folder at home for these ideas and inspirations or create an idea board to which you can tack your pictures. All of this will help you stay inspired as you work on your own landscape.

Long, streaming, waterproof ribbons add a burst of color to an otherwise drab pergola.

Adding elements of artistry to your landscape is a quick and easy way to enhance your surroundings. A standard arbor or pergola in your back yard, for example, can be transformed with the simple addition of long ribbons, creating a tactile experience at either or both ends of the structure. For sitting areas, exchanging old, uncomfortable chairs for new ones that are beautifully designed and, perhaps, cushioned, would not only enhance the visual experience of the space, but also add comfort and a desire to lengthen the experience of sitting there and enjoying it.

Spruce up the entrance to your kitchen garden by adding an arbor decorated with plates.

This homeowner’s love of pink and green inspired her choices of color.

Color, of course, is a huge component of artistry. How much color you introduce to your landscape and where you apply it will depend on your personality, taste, and comfort level. Fences, gates, and walls are often quite pedestrian, but for someone of an artistic nature, the design possibilities are limitless. What color are the doors of your home? Or your gates? What about the color of the house trim? Remember that all of these are part of your landscape and that is what everyone will usually see first.

I visited a property in California where the homeowner’s favorite color was blue, so much so that the entrance gates, the screen door of the house, and a garden room door were all painted the same shade of blue. Those painted doors really left an impression on me as a visitor.

The blue entrance gates of this California property are very welcoming.

The blue of the entrance gates is repeated in the color of the screen door at this otherwise drab house.

What about adding color to other elements of your house? I once encountered an absolutely striking chimney that was painted yellow on a weathered, gray shingle house on Long Island, New York. Or consider painting your steps and railings with colors that exemplify your personality. We rarely see brick houses that have pink railings and risers with forest green treads, but if those are colors you love, why not? Then paint the porch furniture the same color as the treads or risers and pick cushion fabric with similar colors. When choosing furniture, think about coordinating the color with window frames, house trim, or even the color of the house itself. Color echo is a very effective tool.


Bobbie Schwartz is the owner of Bobbie’s Green Thumb in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Her landscape signature is the use of perennials, flowering shrubs, and ornamental grasses to facilitate color and interest throughout the year. She is a certified Member and Fellow of APLD.



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