Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pull out the Pencils and Paper – It’s Design Time!

With the cool, cloudy weather and a busy daytime schedule, I continue to be ‘twitchy’ to get into the garden to do SOMEthing – anything really. So when in doubt, I get my sketch stuff out!  My next area of focus is going to be my “Southwest Garden” – giving gardens names helps me to mentally ID the area and environmental needs (i.e. ‘sun’, ‘shade’, swampy, etc. etc. - back to the OCD thing). 

As I’ve mentioned before – I am a “visual” person. I get lost in words, but am spot on if I can see something as simple as a single photo (BIG shout out to digital photography!). So… this is how I combine my “inside tools”, when I can’t go play w/ my ‘bucket o’ garden tools’!

As you can see, I live in a typical suburban neighborhood. I love sitting out in the warm months – especially in the morning, reading with a cup of coffee. I’m a ‘Taurus’ (if you are into that) which essentially means I love peace n quiet! And I do! I enjoy people tremendously – but need time to recharge my batteries, alone and in quiet. That’s probably why I’ve learned to love gardening so much. It has those kind of ingredients!  Visual screening is going to be an integral part of my plans.

Now my design concept is very rudimentary, but it serves the purpose. On the OTHER hand, I was just watching an episode of “Jamie Durie’s – The Outdoor Room” on HGTV this morning. ----[Hi, I’m Shyrlene! I am an HGTV addict.]---

If you get a chance, check out this episode:

I am in awe of someone that has such mad design skills! I am more than happy to be inspired by such creativity! (Of course winning LOTTO would certainly go a long way to buying any and everything!) I love the idea of using ‘yard art’ – I even recently was ‘brainstorming’ in my garden journal recently:

So now as the weather slowly starts to turn, time to get out the shovel & spray paint to notch out the SW Garden. That and start ferreting out all those dandelions! Happy ‘almost’ April! (Woohoo!)


  1. Shyrlene, I am so impressed by the idea of taking a photo and then sketching on top of it. Why has that never before occurred to me?!? (To cheer myself up about this, I'm reminded that when Darwin published The Origin of the Species, one of his colleagues read it and then said, "How incredibly stupid of me not to have thought of that!" Great ideas seem obvious once someone points them out to you. Thanks!)

    I am a recovering HGTV addict. Did you ever see Matt James's "Urban Gardener" show when it was on? I always loved what he did with those relatively small urban spaces. -Jean

  2. Thanks for sharing your design process. Adding a sense of enclosure and privacy is challenging on a typical suburban lot. Your solution looks great. (BTW, I'm not a fan of those HGTV shows.

  3. Jean - Thanks for the ultimate compliment! In all fairness, my degree is in arch/interior design - so using tracing paper was a tool of the trade (before CAD). If I can't be in the garden, drawing/sketching is the next best thing! :)

    Ms.McG - it's good to hear your feedback! My dream is to go in our backyard one day and feel like I'm in a sanctuary, without feeling like I'm in a fishbowl.

  4. Hi Shyrlene,
    What a great idea to trace over an existing photo with tracing paper. I can use this method to help some of my clients "see" what I'm suggesting to them. Would love to learn CAD, too.

    You are like me with the brainstorming. I'm keeping all my notes in a three ring binder nowadays to keep up with them. Love the stickie notes, too. Couldn't live without them.

    I did some catching up on posts I've missed and want to encourage you with your dream garden. It may take a while but you will get there eventually. Like you say, if you had all the money you needed to have someone else come in and do it for you it would take the joy of designing and planting and waiting out of it. I'm like you ... need my quiet, reflective time ~ alone time ... but love to be around people, too.

    My back garden was empty when we moved here (26 yrs ago). It has taken me ten years of intensive gardening to get where we are today... and not finished yet.

    I so enjoy your writing and your thought processes.

  5. I have done the same thing with drawing on top of a photo. It really helps to visualize things. However, I sort of rebel against graph paper and rulers. It reminds me too much of high school geometry.

  6. Love your approach to designing this new corner of your garden ... such a smart idea! Your design will certainly transform this part of your garden.

  7. Hi Shyrlene, I wish I had such an eye for design! I'm still learning to see the big picture and not just the individual plant. I might just 'borrow' your method as I think it will help me get some perspective!

  8. I wish I were even that organized. I dash out to the garden center and buy more than I know what to do with, and then stagger around looking for a place to plant them all. I wind up having to dig things up and move them. It drives my husband crazy. (He's a Taurus)

  9. Meems - thanks for the encouragement on my 'dream garden' - I was feeling a little overwhelmed walking in the yard tonight. BOY it's a bumpercrop for dandelions & clay soil this spring!?! :-o

    Deb - you crack me up on the Geometry analogy! (and I can SO relate - H.S. math = bad juju!)

    Bernie - THANKS! I just had to put a translucent 'vail' over the photo, so I wouldn't freak at the task in front of me!

    Gipps - please feel free to 'borrow' away! I am the QUEEN of 'borrowing' tools for fun (work too!!) Let me know how it goes!

    Deborah - my 'organization' is on paper; if you saw the panic look on my husband's face when I come home from plant shopping, you would know I am GREAT at spontaneous 'combustion' when I buy plants!!!

  10. One of our favorite parts of gardening is the sharing freely, both of plants of course, but also ideas and information. Also as we all are aware that the exchange is not always intentional, thanks birds, and we ended up here only tangentially but you inspired a creative process that has been a bit of a block and now will be much easier. In short, thank you for your post. Happy Spring.


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