Design Inspiration in the Winter Garden

Successful gardens begin with good design bones. It can be hard to focus on the structure of a garden in the spring and summer when shrubs, trees, water features, hardscapes and ornamental structures blend effortlessly into design- as well they should.  So now is the perfect time of year to study the bones, the structure of the garden.

I do not know how it is where you live, but here in Cincinnati, sometimes the only way to know what season it is, is to look at the garden. It can be sunny and 65 one late fall day and 30 and blustery the next. The garden is the only true indicator of the seasons in the Queen City.

On a clear, cold, windy day I spent some time at Eden Park, overlooking the Ohio River. Here I found great examples of how a landscape can be inviting and feel complete without a single bloom insight.
The curve of the walks and shorelines provide fluidity in the landscape. Careful arrangement of trees with infusion of color, balance and varying texture create ideal vignettes within the garden. 
Grasses and smaller trees bring the vast space of such an open landscape, even one perched above a river, down to a human level.

Stone structures as well as a bridge add permanence to a landscape that is always in flux. And while we cannot add such grand features to our home landscape, we can take the design inspiration they provide and parlay that into features more suited for our gardens.


  1. I really like the way the garden hangs out right next to the water feature. That last sculpture is very unusual!

  2. Very nice, I love the colours in the forth photo.