Gardening on the Brain

Today's beautiful weather has got me thinking more about our garden. The previous owner of the house was a gardener so we are lucky to have lots of bulbs flowering already around the yard. There are also lots of bushes that will start to flower soon. The lawn doesn't look like much, parts are more moss than grass, which is fine with me, and other parts are mostly weeds. I ordinarily wouldn't mind this either, my feeling is usually "as long as it's green..." but large areas aren't green. I'm not sure what sort of weed has taken over the lawn closest to the driveway, but apparently it dies off early, greens up late and is very sparse leaving large patches of bare dirt. Not an acceptable weed in my book.
Anyway, last fall I signed up for a gardening class through our town's parks and recreation program. During the class I had laid out a rough "master plan" for the backyard. I really want the garden to really fit with the age and style of the house. I'm sorry if I offend anyone here, but I can't stand these Home Depot/ HGTV suburban style landscaping and gardens. I find them to be completely bland and generic. They never look "right" for where they are. The worst ones seem to have an uncomfortable looking bench in a spot where no one in their right mind would ever sit. Why?! Most (but thankfully not all) garden books seem to promote a similar style of garden design with windy swooping paths and curvy garden beds. This isn't my thing at all. Maybe if your house is on 5 acres in the country this sort of style could work, but in a small, boxy urban or suburban lot, it just looks forced and artificial. My taste tends towards hedges and more formal patios. At least in areas close to the house. I think it looks great when things are treated formally near the house but the formality breaks apart the further away you get. Since I couldn't find much inpiration in current books, I started looking at reprints of old books that we had in the office. There was theis great book called "Distinctive Homes of the 1920's" which has a few great renderings of gardens of the era.
This is an English style garden appropriate for the Tudor Revival style of the house. It's a little less formal, but still structured. The rendering at the top of this post is Georgian style garden that goes well with the formality of the house. I find it funny how both of these houses are apparently the only ones in the neighborhood. With my yard I'd like to incorporate a patio (not a deck another one of my pet peeves) with room for a table and chairs for a group as well as a grill. I'd also like to fit a vegetable garden. I'm planting a temporary mini garden this year (unfortunately it's not actually planted yet), but I'd like to make it work better with the rest of the yard next year. I have a plan drawn up, but it's fairly technical looking and not very pretty. As soon as I color it a bit to make it more readable, I'll post it. Any suggestions for sources of inspiration are greatly appreciated.


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