Five Things I've Learned So Far From Working With A Garden Designer

Five things I’ve learned so far from working with a garden designer.

1. Lawns should have a shape.

2. It really is nice to come home and find that someone planted something in my garden while I was at work.

3. I’m actually okay with my lawn mowing time being reduced by about half in the back yard.

4. No plan is cast in stone.

5. I can turn into one of those clients who asks the same question more than once, hoping the answer will change.

And a bonus sixth thing.

6. Don’t be afraid to invest in hardscape.

And a bonus seventh thing.

7. A garden designer will help you get plants that you haven’t seen in the garden centers.

And a bonus eighth and ninth thing.

8. Dump your plant prejudices in the compost bin; you might like some of those plants you thought you didn’t like if they are planted in the right place in your garden.

9. Having a garden designer work with you doesn’t “de-personalize” your garden. My garden still feels like my personal space.

And the tenth and final thing I've learned so far from working with a garden designer...

10. I should have hired a garden designer years ago.


  1. Right on! Thanks for sharing, I'm going to keep this list to share with potential clients!

  2. I hope your words encourage others to take a chance with a designer!

  3. Alrighty, then! Just got through installing a small urban space today and they really loved it! That makes my day.

    So glad that you really appreciate your garden designer.

  4. Right on Carol! You truly get it. Our goals as designers and coaches are your goals and we only want to help you get there.
    I particularly love the part about "plant prejudice". I am forever pleading with clients and customers at the nursery to not paint too broad of a brush just because of bad memories from childhood or bad maintenance issues with a certain plant. Not ALL cultivars behave the same way.
    Great post!!

  5. Oh would so love to afford a garden designer! It's pretty far- fetched that I will ever have one living on a missionary's budget unless Jesus decides to just have one show up at my door!!

    I am excited to see what you yard will become!

    bee blessed

  6. Thanks for sharing this experience, because many of us have some irrational fears, that garden will de-personalize after being re-worked by designer :)

  7. Your rule about lawn needing a shape is one of my number-one rules too. It doesn't have to be geometric, just shapely and defined. I'm so glad to hear it's working out for you!

  8. You are so right about with this list. I especially agree with number eight. There are so many plants out there that are over looked.

  9. my dreams....... Can't wait to get the tour!

  10. Thank you, Carol, for taking the time to write about your positive experience. I hope more people realize that just because you use a Garden Designer doesn't mean the garden 'isn't yours' - it's all about finding the right designer to work with, and making sure it's a good fit (as in any profession!). Sounds like you and your designer are a great team! Hope to see photos of your garden soon!

  11. Hear, hear Carol! More people should understand this. H.

  12. Based on your comments, you sure got us garden designers in tizzy over this post!

    My favorite is number 5. Not only do my clients do it to me, but I do it to myself in my own garden. Have rationalized more than once that the information on the plant tags can't possibly apply to MY garden.

  13. I love the lawn point. Because it's a common mistake that you put lawn everywhere you don't know what to do with.

  14. I completely agree! I had a visit with a garden designer years ago. My favorite part? He could see things that I couldn't -- he wasn't frustrated with the problems that nagged me. He also hadn't taught himself to ignore certain eyesores that I had grown accustomed to. Even though I didn't completely follow the plan, it was worth so much just to have an objective view.

  15. Great list! What question do you keep asking over and over again?


  16. A really excellent list~ Dumping those plant prejudices is the hardest lesson for me~I still fight it. I love the shape my back lawnette has~I the front needs a little help! gail

  17. In response to this nice blog about why we need garden designers.....Why we need thoughtful clients. One client refers to me as her garden angel, another unrelentingly reminds me how happy they are with how their garden looks, another refers to her garden as my garden and allows me to do as I wish with it (and of course I do with it what I think she would love). It really doesn't get any better than this. So, THANK YOU to all the clients out there who appreciate thier designers. We appreciate you too!

  18. I'm afraid a designer would look at what I've done, throw up her hands and beat a hasty retreat.

  19. I always tell a client: I'll tell you the truth about what I'd do if I lived here and wanted what you say you want. But it's your yard; I'm doing what I want in MY garden, and we'll do what you want in your garden. And yes, we can get all kinds of great plants that you've never seen at Home Depot :-)

  20. Now these things are worth learning from a garden designer! I'm actually going to consider a designer for myself.

  21. Thank you for the wonderful client perspective, and for your very well-put notes! Very helpful for those trying to make the decision regarding hiring a designer and asking "why?". Your list is sure to be shared often! Thank you!

  22. Great list to apply to the mind set of an passionate gardener.


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