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Using inspiration to design or update the garden


Photo By: Courtesy of Laxmi Natarajan
Photo Courtesy Of Laxmi Natarajan

Find inspiration for garden design from a number of sources, including a color, a favorite flower or a photograph.

Some of the most fabulous garden design inspirations present themselves at the oddest moments and from unintended sources.

Many things can spark your inspiration: an object you come across, a favorite flower, a colorful frame, a scene that appeals to your sensibilities while strolling through town, travel memories or a photograph that catches your attention while flipping through a magazine.

The challenge for many is to translate that inspiration into something tangible and practical that can be incorporated in the garden.

Sources that I rely on for design inspiration are museums, art galleries, bookstores, fabric stores, magazines, art shops, nurseries, farmers’ markets, nature with all its different possibilities, and flower and garden shows – the list is endless.

Following are a few easy design steps to turn that inspiration into garden solutions.

• Find a visual inspiration. A photograph, picture, swatch of fabric – any object that captures your imagination – is very helpful.

• Ponder the emotional feel of the inspiration. Take a look at your inspiration. Say it is a picture of a room that really appeals to you – think about the mood and your emotional connection to that picture. Is it peaceful? Happy? Modern? Quaint? Rustic? Choosing a mood or emotion to build the design around will refine your design choices.

• Examine the physicality of the inspiration. Note the physical aspects of the inspiration, including the dimensions, colors, lighting and texture, furniture and architecture. Identify elements that catch your attention and list the many details you spot in the picture to see how the elements work together to creating the scene.

• Define the scope. In terms of functionality, space, budget and time, defining your scope is important. Take time to list your requirements for the garden, breaking the project down to palatable sizes.

• Review practical considerations. Once you have developed a plan, it’s time to map out your space. For example, if you have a 10-foot-by-10-foot area for a reading or relaxation nook, you could create an arbor with a swing with blue bench seats covers and throw cushions that feature an eye-catching pattern. The flowers and beaches you loved on your Hawaii trip could turn into cushions with bold prints and a tiki bar with an umbrella to re-create that memory in your garden this spring. A serene Buddha would invite a Zen feeling.

• Create from inspiration. Figuring out the do-it-yourself spring projects versus those that require professional help for design, construction, irrigation and planting is critical to ensuring success. Consider hiring a garden coach/professional designer/consultant to offer advice that could take your inspiration to the next level, but most of all follow your heart and instinct. Spring is the time to let imagination fly free.

Laxmi Natarajan is a garden and flora designer at Bagicha Garden and Flora Design and a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. For more information, call 703-9756 or visit www.bagicha.com.

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