One of the nicest things about being a garden designer and horticulturist is that I can do research for my work every time I step outside the door. I tend to mentally redesign every property that I see, and assess the health of all the plants on it. So when I get to take a trip to a truly inspiring landscape like the coast of Maine, it is a real treat, and provides ample material for me to analyze (and enjoy!).
Sometimes less is more in landscape design: blue sea and sky, green grass, two fragrant honeysuckle vines clambering up a rustic arbor, and a simple stone bench to admire the whole scene. Nothing else needed!
I love how the strong horizontal lines of the boardwalk contrast with the strong vertical lines of the trees. A path like this draws you forward to discover what is waiting at the other end, and can be used in home gardens to create a sense of anticipation.
I often look to nature for the best plant combinations: here I came across native goldenrod and turtlehead growing in the woods. They would make nice companions in a lightly shaded garden too.
The red rose hips of Rosa rugosa and the rugged blue foliage of juniper look stunning together on the beach. They would also be a good choice for planting in a sunny roadside bed that gets a lot of salt in the winter.
Our native bayberry is at home on the beach, but its aromatic foliage makes a sweet addition to any sunny garden, and its nutritious blue berries feed the birds.