How to Choose a Garden that Suits you

How to Choose a garden plan that will work for your environment that's easy to care for.

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Creating a Garden Space that suits you

Whether you’re a new or seasoned gardener, choosing an oasis that suits your style is no easy task. It’s probably easier for new gardeners because you haven’t begun and starting from scratch is always going to be less difficult.

New gardeners are excited with an endless stream of ideas and many seasoned gardeners also have neat ideas but they’re trying to figure out how to change or improve what they’ve already begun.

So, where do you even begin?

Specific details like garden size, hours of sunlight, soil type, and what to plant cannot be overlooked at any stage of the process.

But I find that too often garden style is overlooked.  The focus seems to be more of a dive in approach to grow food and live happily ever after.

I wish it was that easy but if you want a space that suits your style it’s going to take more thought.

Begin by finding the style of landscape you prefer.  This step will put you on a path to developing a garden that you adore and want to maintain.

This was one side of Grandma’s front yard rockery. In the spring it had tulips mixed throughout in a variety of colors. The opposite side of her yard was almost identical; these areas were a small part of her oasis and that’s her in the corner probably edging the grass with hand clippers.  What a gem…

Finding my Garden Style was a Journey

For me finding my style was a journey some of which I’ve shared in the early days of my blog.

After years of working in my grandma’s garden I found that a neat and tidy space really spoke to me.

I love clean lines, focal points and simplicity.

Grandma did a lot with her yard but I wouldn’t call it simple, it did have a clean presentation and that got my attention.

Her garden was unique and useful but it was also high maintenance.  We worked around her yard from one corner to the other and when those corners met, it was time to do it all over again.

I remember asking her, “When do we take a break?”  her response was always short, “you can rest in the winter.”

Her place was like a park including everything from fruit trees, grape vines, roses, herbs, bulbs, blooming shrubs and even a vegetable garden.

It was a lot and it was the one place I really enjoyed spending time because it was beautiful and peaceful.

Our time together was priceless and you'll find me referencing her wisdom often.

It Took me Years to Achieve What I Wanted

It took me years later, several moves and different styles of gardening to achieve what I really wanted.

My desire left me with an idea that welcomed clean lines and easy to maintain.

When I decided to decrease the size of my raised beds those clean lines and simplistic details surfaced right away.

My garden became more than a place for plants to grow, it was a neat place to relax and enjoy.

A garden should really compliment your environment. Cool climate gardeners will choose very differently over those living in hot climates.  I also believe that someone living in the suburbs will have a very different take than someone living in the countryside.

Materials and style will be different because a space that compliments your environment will become more of a sanctuary if designed correctly to meet your likes and lifestyle.

I’m thankful for my gardening journey because it brought me on the path, I’m at today. So, to help you get where you want to be, begin with figuring out what you like.


Gardening with clean lines and simplicity

Finding What you Like

Whether you’re starting a new garden or maybe even shrinking your existing one sometimes the best things to do is visit community gardens or go see what others are doing!

Take a notebook on these outings and use it as a resource for future planning.

By taking the time to uncover new ideas you’ll find what you like and dislike right away and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

I don’t recommend browsing through magazines because many times those gardens are staged and they’re not practical.

Pinterest can be a neat place for ideas and I’d like to refer you to my Pinterest boards.

I have many garden boards so I’ll include my three favorites and the last two are a mix of neat ideas that are sometimes fun to incorporate in a garden:


Creating a Garden Space that suits you

Enhance Your Home

Remember the garden should enhance your home, not take it over.  When we decided to live Tiny, I wasn’t sure how we were going to achieve an enhanced garden.  I had my style but putting it together was a whole other story.

It was really difficult because our homestead at Quail Grove is really more of an example property for this development.  In the beginning I spread everything out and it didn’t work.

I honestly couldn’t stand the layout then finally last year I decided to create two planting spaces right off the Tiny House.

It was a lot of work to move everything but so worth the effort. Everything right now is easier to maintain and it just feels like home for the time being.

We stayed with the smaller raised beds that I talk about in my book Startle Garden and placed them so they didn’t crowd walk space.   They’re presented in focal points instead of rows which makes them more interesting.

I also decided to plant berries in one area and flowers and vegetables together in front of the house.  This offers an inviting space when you walk through the gate and extends a hand in creativity.

It’s welcoming and fits perfectly in the country with the natural wood.

Robert and I have a nice place to sit and relax after working all day.

So, choose a style based on your likes not what others are telling you to do.

But make sure whatever you decide it works with your environment, suits your style and it’s easy to maintain.   With those three details you can’t go wrong creating the look of your garden oasis.


Creating a Garden Space that suits you

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  1. re: “you can rest in the winter.”

    I love your grandma! I want to be her when I grow up.

    I’m slowly redesigning the front yard to include anything but grass. It’s a slow and expensive process because I have a lot of spaces to fill. My main concern now is to find sun loving perennials/shrubbery that won’t lose all their leaves in the winter.

    1. Carole says:

      You might like Dark horse Weigela beautiful foliage year round and blooms in the spring almost through May/June. Had this at the farm and I really liked it. Coral drift roses area another favorite and I could give you cutting if you like. Really easy to propagate.

  2. Pingback: the Weekend Edit -
  3. Penny says:

    Hi Carole, I so enjoy getting your emails, and reading about what you and Robert are up to. And most of all your inspirational words. You must have known I need that “Life is Beautiful” and it is very much so. I am sellin my 12 acres and down sizing, as it is all too much for me now by myself. Just as I have finished my lovely garden, and the renovations on the house…. Always the way ? Someone else get to enjoy “the fruits of your labour” but that’s okay, I have bought a smaller house on 1/2 an acre, and no garden, and only one tree ? oh my goodness have I got a clean slate to start with. So my mind is going wild. You reminded me to walk around my neighbourhood and look what other people have growing and use that as a guide.
    Thanks again for your emails, loving them. Kind wishes to you both ???

    1. Carole says:

      Hello Penny – deciding to sell is always hard but I bet you will find joy in your new place. A clean slate can be so exciting, gives you a chance to observe all the areas and uncover what you really want to do. So glad you enjoy those inspirational emails, I do have fun putting them together and that last one, “Life is Beautiful” just came out of know where as I was sitting in the garden looking at that sign. Kind wishes to you in your new journey and enjoy!

  4. Christine says:

    I always love when you write about your grandmother, Carole! What a wonderful and wise woman she must have been! She certainly taught you well when it came to gardening! Thank you for sharing your expertise. Your tips are always so helpful and I’ll definitely be checking out your boards for some ideas for a new garden I’m planning this spring. Have a fabulous weekend! I plan on spending as much time outside as I can! It supposed to be in the 50’s with plenty of sunshine!!! 🙂

    1. Carole says:

      So glad you enjoyed, that wasn’t my original plan but whenever I write about gardening sometimes it just takes me down a path the leads to grandma. Enjoy the weekend, I know 50 degrees is a nice change of pace compared to what you were experiencing a few weeks ago.

  5. laura says:

    HI Carole! I love this. Sharing on my weekend post tomorrow. I have a poinsettia from the holidays. It seems a little out of place now that it is spring? any suggestions? laura Please start a Q & A post! ha

    1. Carole says:

      Well thanks for sharing. Poinsettia’s not a fan can you believe it? Goes back to my floral shop days when they arrived the first part of November and we had to spend hours watering them each week. Anyways Patti at Hearth and Vine has a couple things she’s written on poinsettias. I think they have to go in the dark this time of year but she did get hers to successfully bloom again. Hugs to your dog, my heart melts every time I see you share a photo on Instagram.

  6. daisy says:

    I agree with you, it does take time to figure it all out. But paying attention to your natural leanings is vital. While I love the idea of the permaculture garden, I know I’m far too “tidy” to put it to use here in our rural suburban neighborhood. I’m now toying with the idea of building boxes out of the corrugated sheet metal, so that my garden space has a more cohesive look.

    Thank you for sharing your insights!

    1. Carole says:

      I really like the wood, but the presentation of the metal is fun and I get long lasting. My only concern would be how they main moisture in the summer when temperatures spike. It’s something that nobody seems to address or think about. Glad you enjoy this was a fun one to share.

  7. Patti says:

    Such great words of wisdom, and once again your Grandmother sounds amazing. I am a plant lover at heart. That means I always want to buy something new that I don’t have, but it does become a problem after years of buying plants. You just can’t have one of everything in your yard/garden. I still do buy new plants but I make sure that I have a place for them and they will grow well in my area. Also these days I have to be sure that they are easy to maintain. Thanks for the great reminder.

    1. Carole says:

      She was and passed away during the spring so she must be on my mind. I’ve really had to control myself when it comes to buying more plants out here because I know this isn’t going to be home forever. I did though add three raspberry starts last week. Easy to maintain is really important because as much as I love those fabulous yards and gardens like my grandmothers, I’m not kidding when I say the work was non stop.

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