The garden courtyard terrace of this Point Lorna, California, villa home is decorated with subtle pool furniture in neutral tones that complement the property's minimalist design and allow the natural surroundings of the lush garden, with its verdant floral and topiary features, to color to the space. Wicker chairs and chaise longues feature plush striped cushions which highlight the earth tones of the building's facade while blue umbrellas reflect the daytime sky and swimming pool below.
Limit your exposure to nosy neighbors by getting creative with privacy provisions. Shrubs in planters (that you can take with you when you move) are a smart solution that architect Carolyn Trevor used in this lovely dining deck. “The formal evergreen topiary softens the edges and creates a pleasing backdrop whilst affording some privacy for the occupants. It’s an efficient way of enclosing the deck and also providing a natural balustrade — without losing entertainment space. The architectural quality of the planting is also greatly enhanced when lit up at night,” she says.
Rod recommends starting small when planning your garden. Break your garden planning into pieces and test plants out before you plant them. Rod likes to place plants still in their pots where he wants to eventually locate them, to check the light conditions. If they do well, you can go ahead and plant them. His partner sometimes jokes about Rod's "black pot garden." Lisa Bartlett of Gramma B's is the landscape designer for this space. The topiary here is Juniperus procumbens 'Nana', and underplantings include dipladenia, Kong coleus and sweet potato vine. The vine on the pergola is wisteria floribunda, 'Amethyst Falls'.
Include beautiful lavender in your garden plans to help keep biting mosquitoes at bay. Varieties with higher camphor properties are the most effective insect repellents. This includes ‘Provence’ and ‘Grosso’ lavender. On a sunny day, lavender releases its aromatic oils naturally. In the evening, reap its bug-busting benefits by crushing flower buds and leaves and rubbing them on your skin. Tuck lavender into pots or planting beds. Grab lavender topiaries if your outdoor seating areas feature a formal flair.
When using old books, if the covers or spines are ugly or in bad condition, open them up and use the pages to soften up the mantel decor. Designer Janna Allbritton always tries to incorporate something soft (such as pages or ribbon) with something shiny (such as mercury glass) and greenery (such as a succulent or topiary). She also loves bringing in wire, wood and metal elements, which can be snagged for just a few dollars at yard sales or thrift shops.
Native to the Mediterranean region, the bay tree is widely cultivated as an ornamental there and as a houseplant in colder climates – mainly because it’s an excellent candidate for growing as a topiary. Hardy only to zone 7, it’s ideal for forming low hedges. Although it can grow into a tree up to 40 to 50 feet tall, bay is often maintained as a large shrub in containers. In spring, it puts out small yellow flowers, which by fall develop into dark purple berries.