Archive for the ‘Garden Design’ Category

Happy Friday! Every year at this time The Garden Conservancy organizes tours of gorgeous private gardens all over the country. I’ve been attending these tours for about 6 years now and I always walk away inspired! This Sunday is the Pasadena (California) tour so I thought I would share some ideas from a gorgeous Pasadena estate I toured several years ago.

I loved this custom-made trellis (above) and how it framed the entry to the home so beautifully.


They also added this gorgeous climbing rose, ‘Eden’ from David Austin Roses, which highlights the entry to the home even more.

For a bit more drama they added two lollipop Gardenia trees on the front porch — very pretty.


Cafe lights are fabulous because they always add a festive mood to any garden.

Whether squared or rounded, shaping your shrubs is always a good idea.

Here’s another example of a big statement made with exterior lights — love these over the outdoor dining area.

Click here for more information on The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Garden Tours.

Have a great weekend!

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Not only are Agaves extremely easy to maintain and have an excellent sculptural quality, they also add drama to any garden. They grow best in Mediterranean and Southwest climates, but can also be grown in containers in colder climates as long as they are protected in the winter. Agaves are incredibly versatile and look gorgeous in many different garden styles from Mediterranean to traditional. They are possibly one of my favorite plants to add to a garden.

via C Home

Agaves look fantastic planted with ground cover like sedum or simply planted in gravel, as in the above photo.

 Scott Shrader Design

 Scott Shrader Design

 Scott Shrader Design

I love the contrast between the blue agave and the dark green boxwood.

via Elle Decor

They are also very fun in containers

via Casa Cook

I bring them indoors as well

One of the most impressive things to see is when an agave flowers


Some of my favorite Agaves to use in a garden or in containers —

Happy Thursday!

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Recently, I’ve been posting BEFORE + AFTER photos of a California Cottage that I just completed in Reseda, CA. Today, I’m sharing the transformation of the backyard.


It took almost a week to clear the overgrown brush, two dumpster trucks to remove it and almost another week to dismantle the chain linked fence with the 40 + year-old ivy intertwined between it.

It was a debate whether or not to keep the pool, but with temperatures reaching 100 + degrees here in the San Fernando Valley, we decided it would be a worthwhile bonus.




I decided to keep the design very simple. The pool would be the main feature, then I added a bocce court and low-maintenance plants. I added ‘Blue Gem’ Westringia around the bocce court with boxwood and iceberg roses at the back steps and around the pool equipment. When matured, they will disguise the equipment nicely.


 As with the front yard, we removed all the old concrete, which took up most of the backyard and replaced it with sod and blue flagstone. 



‘Blue Gem’ Westringia line the bocce court.



Happy Friday!


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One of my favorite places to visit here in Southern California is the Desert Garden at The Huntington in San Marino. The garden has one of the largest outdoor collections of cacti & succulents in the world with more than 2,000 species.

An amazing Cereus xanthocarpus

Golden Barrel Cactus + Agave Parryi

Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe)

Golden Barrel + Cleistocactus


My favorite — Agave Parryi

Torch Aloe


Some of my favorites to add to the garden….

Have a great Thursday!



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 Happy Monday! The Reseda project is done! Today I’m sharing before + after photos of the front of this sweet California cottage.



Although, the home needed extensive work on the interior, I knew after walking around the property that the exterior was going to be the bigger issue. The home was hidden behind years of overgrowth, the pool had ivy growing in it and the backyard was one large concrete slab.

In order to soften up the exterior, I eliminated all the concrete and replaced the pathways with pieces of large blue flagstone. I painted the entire home ‘Milk Glass’ by Dunn Edwards and added black accents to give it a clean classic look.

I also moved the the porch light from the back wall, where it was hidden, to the ceiling to add extra charm from the street.


Sometimes I debate whether or not to keep existing plants but whenever I come across an old rose bush that has remained prolific, even through so much neglect, I know it’s a keeper. This hybrid tea, Mister Lincoln, flourished despite its neglect and the fragrance is amazing!



  Design elements + my favorite go-to plants for a cottage-style garden.



Next time, I’ll be posting the before and after photos of the backyard —  and with 40 + years of overgrowth it turned out to be quite the transformation.

Have a great week!


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Currently I’m searching high and low for exterior paint inspiration for a bungalow project that I’m working on and came across this gem. Take a look…

By using dark shingles and painting the porch white it really brings the focus to the porch. The baby blue accent on the shutters adds a touch of softness and color — perfection!

I love how the arches on the porch frame out the light fixtures and hydrangeas perfectly!

Love the hydrangeas in black planters!

All photos via Lissy Parker

Have a great Wednesday!!

~ Shannon

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Situated high on a cliff with gorgeous views of the sea is the botanical garden, Santa Clotilde. It was designed by Nicolau Rubio i Tuduri in 1919 and was claimed to be the most important private garden of 20th century Spain.


The garden is reminiscent of an Italian Renaissance style with manicured shrubs, statues and beautiful fountains.

It’s a gorgeous garden with Italian cyprus, agaves, cactus, purple & white Agapanthus, ivy, oleander and many more lovely plants.

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