Utah Style and Design

Take It From a Pro: Expert Garden Design Tips

August 6, 2019

Garden designer Rob McFarland on hues, moves and going big. 

COLOR

“Crazy color combinations work well in a container, but not in an entire garden,” says Rob McFarland, co-owner of Ward & Child – The Garden Store. “A simpler, consistent palette is more restful to look at, especially in a smaller garden.” 

The designer’s favorite color combination for gardens is white and green accented with a touch of color. “It’s very restful, but you need a lot of green to make white a success,” he warns. And remember, it requires less maintenance to rely on foliage rather than flowers for color and interest in a garden.

MOVEMENT

A wide path with an even and tight surface facilitates quick, safe and easy movement. Something looser and less level inspires slower travel and more exploration. Same holds true for plantings. A repetition of plantings along a border can carry the eye through the garden, but if you want to slow the journey down, don’t overdo it. It can pace the movement too quickly.

ORNAMENTS

When working with garden accessories and ornaments, choose them wisely and position them so they can’t be seen al at one time. Consolidate smaller pieces into a collection just as you would with collectibles inside the home.

SCALE

When it comes to scale, think big. “Everything gets dwarfed outside, so err on the size of too large.”

The exception is plants. “People let their plants get too big,” McFarland explains. “Proper pruning is the single most important aspect of garden maintenance.

Take a peek at this whole garden here! 

Megan Bartholomew
Megan Hulse Bartholomew is the web editor for Utah Bride & Groom and Utah Style & Design magazines. She recently graduated from the University of Utah with degrees in English and Journalism, and is currently trying to catch up on 5+ years of pleasure reading.

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