What kind of gardener are you?

Designing a garden can be lots of fun, but it can also be overwhelming.  Not only do our personal preferences come into play, but unlike our interiors, we have to think about the fact that mother nature may have different ideas. We may want lush rose bushes in the front of our house, but if it’s mostly shaded, it ain’t gonna happen.

Just as we all have preferences with our choices for the inside of the home, the outside can and should reflect our personal style as well.  Our color choices are virtually unlimited, but just because they are doesn’t mean we should go crazy and end up with a chaotic space that just doesn’t feel cohesive.  Cohesive doesn’t have to mean overly manicured or planned down to every square inch. It does mean that maybe we should limit our color palette choices to a few select hues, and then maybe add in some unexpected touches so the space doesn’t feel contrived.

There are a few styles of gardens and I’ve taken the liberty of categorizing them; dramatic, zen like, playful and romantic.  But just as in decorating your home, there is plenty of opportunity for eclectic spaces that combine two or even three styles.  Here are a few examples along with some palette, plant and accessory suggestions to help you on your way to planning your dream space.

This first garden is a good example of romantic, but it also has a definite zen like vibe with the beautiful lily pond feature.

garden designs


This jaw dropping, dramatic pergola definitely puts this space over the top (no pun intended), but the water feature and lush flowers create a romantic atmosphere.

romantic gardens, romantic garden designs


These next two gardens are wonderful examples of dramatic styles. Contrasting, bold colors and impeccably maintained plantings are hallmarks of this style.



This zen like space is also dramatic. While it doesn’t have much color, interest is definitely present with beautiful trees and foliage.

formal garden design


I don’t know about you, but I’m expecting a Hollywood star to come walking into this garden any minute.  Looks very ‘Muholland Drive’ to me.


Now here are a couple of spaces that are actually attainable for us average folks!  Very simple, low maintenance and serene.

zen garden



Guess I don’t have to tell you what style these are?  I’m gonna anyway.  Playful, whimsical and a bit of romantic come into play here.

garden designs


garden designs


I think this is my favorite!  Maybe it’s the cute little barn I’m drawn to, but I find this garden to be a combination of all of the above…well planned, colorful, whimsical and a teensy bit dramatic.

rustic garden design


Now I want you to figure out which of the above is your favorite, and then check out some of the suggestions for the kinds of color palettes you may want to consider and appropriate plantings.

If you’re drawn to the dramatic garden style, you’re a gal who loves to hang out on her chaise lounge, sipping martinis and wouldn’t be caught dead without her sunglasses.

Dramatic Palettte:  Red, deep purple, hot pink

Plants to consider: Red roses, giant leaf coleus, bird of paradise, calla lily, hollyhocks

Accessories: Mirrors, candles, chaise lounges

Love to daydream, stroll through your garden arm in arm with your Prince Charming? Romantic styles suit you best.

Romantic Palette:  Greens, pale pink, white

Plants to consider: Ivy, ferns, peonies, hydrangeas, white azaleas, rhododendrons, narcissus, lemon trees

Accessories: Urns, statuary, fountains, stone walls

Do you enjoy meditating and sleeping in late?  Want something uncluttered and simple?  Zen is for you.

Zen Palette:  Green, gray, white, plum

Plants to consider: Juniper, bamboo, cypress, japanese maple, waterlillies, hostas, sage, fountain grass

Accessories: Small bubbling fountains, boulders, sand garden, spiritually inspired statuary, stone bench

Your world is your playground, and that includes your garden.  You’re a social butterfly, and your garden reflects that.

Playful/Whimsical:  Orange, yellow, lime green, hot pink

Plants to consider: Nasturtium, black-eyed Susan, Dahlias (orange/hot pink), sunflowers, poppies, coneflower

Accessories: Mobile, wind chimes, birdhouse, hammock brightly colored umbrellas and chairs

I would love to know which style is your favorite!  And remember, it’s a perfect time to start planning for next year’s garden!


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  1. Hey Doreen! I just want to say thanks for stopping by my blog earlier today. I’m not sure how to make my blogger account open to more than just signing in to Google. But you should go into blogger and get your website address in there and also set it up for people like me to be able to reply to your comment (it’s set up for no reply right now).

    Great garden inspiration!!

  2. Thank you for pinning Kayla! And I agree Leanne. I think you’re a girl after my own heart.

  3. Wow, these are all so beautiful! My husband and I are thinking about redoing our backyard pretty soon, so I’m pinning this so I can refer back to it later.

  4. Hi Doreen,

    Beautiful gardens/photos! Great eye candy. I think my favorites are the last three photo’s, I just love a cottage garden. I agree the barn is great.

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