Thursday, May 31, 2012

Double Islands

Need double islands?  These did their job.  Clusters of people, conversation, laughter, good food. 
 Between kitchen & family room, below.
 Butler's pantry, below, anchoring opposite end of double islands.

This kitchen worked perfectly.  Designed to entertain & fundraise. 
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Work takes me into beautiful homes & gardens, country clubs too.  This event was a portion of pro bono I do each year.  Typically I work pro bono with my county Extension Service helping with school grounds.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Yes, more of the garden I lectured at 2 weekends ago.  Knew you would want to see the double islands.  Wish you had been there.  Plenty of wine & canapes.   

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lush & Sparse: Design Tool

Welcome.
A front door with spare elegance, above.  Near the front door, below, billowing lushness.


 Off to the other side of the front door, below, more lushness. 
 And a path, below, leading
 to a door
 not far from the front door
yet light years away in language.
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Landscape Design is about contrasts.  This home has a gardener with a sure vision.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pics taken 2 weekends ago while lecturing.  No other time than full blazing afternoon sun to get the pictures.  So few gardens use the potency of spare with lush.   

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Deeply Covered Porch

A covered porch for the entire family or quiet solitude to fill your spiritual well, below.  Several rooms flow into this porch.
 Looking out, above, looking in, below.

Perhaps a door to a guest suite, below?

A fireplace.  Simply a fireplace, below.  Be wary of a huge monument fireplace.  Too often they are  life sucking spectres.
I told the owner how I adored her porch & she smiled saying the entire house began with this porch.  The architect working outward from here.
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Love a woman with priorities.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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pics taken 2 weekends ago.  I lectured in her porte cochere.  Wish I hadn't been in such a hurry, needed more pics of this porch. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Designing Out-Of-Town

Slept away last nite, below, planning a garden.
 Sweet chaos on the mantel, below,
in the bedroom.
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Can't tell you where I was.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pics taken this morning.  In a public career there is always a percentage to remain, private. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

How To Increase The Drama

Subtle drama, ego in check.  Pair of stone columns, iron gate, half-round stone steps & on axis a Japanese maple.  Not a gaudy statue or etc.
 Do you see the opportunity to increase the subtle drama, below?
Remove the pinestraw bed & let the turf flow to the stone wall.
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Small tweek HUGE impact.
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Garden & Be Well,  XO Tara
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Pic taken last weekend at my lecture venue.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Retaining Wall Lust

Have your eyes & brain accepted this, below? 
 Aside from lust pure astonishment.  This retaining wall is hidden away in the family parking court.  That murdering Roman thing with stone building slaves ca. 1 BCE, then the poverty cycle with the bricks.  Later, much later.  But here it all is, in narrative.  Mine.
 Another chapter to the story, below, at the end of the retaining wall.  Tuscan hillside, fieldstone steps are Jane Austen rusticities.

Framing my lust, below,  relative to the house.  Steps & hillside look as if they were there, leftover from some ancient Roman volcano.  Vesuvius, 79 ad?
 She, the owner, waylayed me.  Oh no, ick.   Grabbing my right arm in both her hands saying, "I'm taking you to the Bellsouth room."  I had no time for this, so deeply involved in my lust for the retaining wall, fieldstone steps, & garden.  Outwardly nice, inwardly thinking how to get away.  Get back to her garden. 
 She marched straight here, above, my arm still in her hands.  "Isn't this the greatest spot?  I love looking at it and go to the bench often, have you ever seen steps like this,  &....."
 My attitude went 180.  Couldn't get enough of her.  That bench?  Of course I hadn't seen it from terrace level.  The bench overlooks the 18th hole of a PGA yearly stop.  
Portion of the Bellsouth room, above.  We paid it 'no mind' as Neil Diamond would sing.  I was in girl-crush as we walked the rest of her house & grounds spilling life stories, work, men, spirit. 
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Pics taken at my lecture venue last weekend.  Love how conversations flow with women amongst my tribe.  How did EM Forster know us so well?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wickedly Neo-Unprepossessing

Across Europe the best gardens, with attenuated home of course, invite you thru a neo-unprepopressing entry.
 Arriving, above, I knew it was a carriage house or guest cottage.  How?  They told me I would lecture in the porte-cochere.  Executed to perfection, below right. 
 Whoever owned the estate HAD ME at the curb. 
 In the porte-cochere, above.
The bench is a metaphor for the house and garden.  Detailed, quality, elegant, enduring, comfortable, welcoming.
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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Did my 4 lectures in 2 days last weekend in the porte-cochere, at Sugarloaf Country Club Garden Tour & Boat Show.  This house & garden donated proceeds to Mothers & Daughters Against Cancer.  Of course I have more pics for you.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Interior Design Speaks To Exterior

Sink, below, awaiting installation in the powder room.
 Island, below, is gray-blue-periwinkle all at the same time.
 In the dining room, below.
 More of the dining room, below.
 Ceiling of his study, below.
 Stairs curve their invitation for all 3 floors.  Scaled in confidence.
My interior partners.  The Landscape Design must be worthy of them.  Adore this challenge.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pics taken at a jobsite last week.  Yes, these details are keeping me on my toes.  And the dance is quite fun. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Portico Influences Shapes

When the portico was built, below, I knew exactly how to design its landing.  A bit tricky because it is also
 part of the parking court, below.  Blue stone leads to the front door, below, shaped like the portico where it touches the exposed aggregate drive.  The space called for formality.  Hence the beds touching the house are edged in raised granite cobblestones.
 Not far away, below, the property line, alas, at the crest of a slope & near a neighbor.
What neighbor?  What property line?  I put in a 4-board fence with hogwire exactly like the rest of the 400 acres with horses.
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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Pics taken at a jobsite last week.  WTF, 400 acres & horses?  Hardly, this is infill new construction on less than an acre.  A dream home.  They've lived nearby for many years & the land recently became available.  Doesn't matter, the historic architecture demanded the 4-board fencing.  (Balance with the brick, stone, exposed aggregate drive, and iron railings, being made now, for the portico.  And narrative.  You do realize every fabulous landscape has a narrative?  Another thing they do not teach in college.)  Will stain the 4-board fencing the same black as the house shutters, and jasmine 'Madison' will grow on it.
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Cannot wait for the drive to get its first cleaning, iron for the portico, & .......
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What a fun job.  My clients buy me new gardens.  And I love having this one.  Oh my, I love having them all.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Working With Contractors

Bamboo poles aren't quite perfect in a client's garden, found this, below, as a future template
 2 clients have wonky doors they access and are too visible near the front door.  Found, below, the tiny shed roof over the door at the bottom right of the pic.  Perfect for the wonky doors.
It's not enough to ask my men to create something, I find pics too.   
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Magic Man always looks at a pic and says, "OK, ...........", and proceeds to make the photo idea BETTER.
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How smart, starting with, "OK!"
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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David Stevens, my longtime contractor had the audacity to die, age 50, still irks.  Went thru 4 contractor stories of hell afterward.  #4 toyed with me mentally.  He would always begin, "Ugh, no......"  How stupid was I?  To put up with that.  Then discovered he lied to his partner, and me, about 'business' things. 
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Now, I'm Goldilocks, each contractor in my team more than just-right.  A joy.  We leverage each others talent.  Honesty, integrity, character, humor, daily with my team. 
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Pics unknown.  I really did save them for clients, not thinking I would post them.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Patio Test Questions

Mostly, these patios are bought with good intentions, below.
And little follow through.
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This one makes me want to see their interior. 
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Would your patio make me want to see your interior?
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Would your patio make me want to see your garden?
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Have often imagined 2 of these together.   Pic via Centsational Girl.  The first time (over 15 years ago) I visited Penny McHenry & saw her patio/deck it was an epipahny.  And where the 2 questions came from.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How To Create Exterior Simplicity

The hedge is brilliant.  Vine on the risers is more brilliant.
Topiaried green meatballs are fun.  Terra cotta on the table?  Perfection.
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Notice the lack of pattern on the textiles?  Be careful with exterior textile pattern.  Very careful.
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Many interior rooms look onto this view.  Without going inside I know it's an obvious Vanishing Threshold.  Without going inside I know the owners.
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How little can the landscape have and hold together?  Whoever 'tossed' out this much simplicity is good.  Very good.
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Low maintenance, weekly blow & trimming 2x/year. 
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Choose a color theme.  It should flow from the interiors. 
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Pic via Cote de Texas.  When I worked at a nursery one assistant manager was incredibly talented at displays.  BUT, we would always beg him to stop.  He would create the above, BUT keep going.  On his off day we would cleanse the abundance. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How To See A Gate

Designing gates vs. seeing gates. 
Does this gate have hog wire at the top?  Is hog wire needed?  To keep the chickens in, or out?  Coons, possums could easily climb over.
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Why is the bottom of the gate solid?  Am I looking into the garden or out?  Is it to create mystery?  A lure?
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Is the gate teak?  Historic wood?  Vintage?  What type of hinges?  Open in, out, or both?  The doorknob rescued or new, perhaps new & custom?
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Does the pattern at the top match the moulding of the dining room ceiling?  Is the top pattern repeated in a vintage rug?
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Who is capable of making this gate?  Repairing the gate?
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Age the gate or stain it?
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Garden & Be Well,  XO Tara
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No money & your heart pounds for this gate?  How will you create it?  Not a financial problem, in the least.  Pure intellect.
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Total disdain for, "I can't afford that."   Total.
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Found the gate via It's About Time

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Matriarchs

At the back door, below.
200 hundred acres, she roosts at the back door on the potting table.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Visited my mom for Mother's Day.  Did some gardening for her.  Always do.  2 particular pots she wanted moved.  Once moved I asked her how she wanted them placed 'exactly'.  She asked, "How would you do it?"  "Exactly how you want it.", I replied.  She pushed for an answer and I finally stood my ground, "I won't tell you where they go, because you will do the opposite."  Received her famous raised right eyebrow.  Thus ended that bit of gardening. 
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Pic from a client garden. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rules of Vignette

How little can you do & it: is pretty, comfortable, easy to maintain, flows from your interiors, affordable, describes who you are, makes you happy, has a color theme & ages into more fabulous. Does it create its own world?
Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pic via Greige Design.  Can you imagine when the vine fills the wall?  This is my idea for the Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival in Douglasville, GA, June 2-3, 2012.  Several small spaces of equal size & different designers.  Of course the fabulous garden of Susanne Hudson is on tour too.
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BTW, whenever I'm accused of living-in-my-own-little-world I smile & graciously say "Thank you."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Roman Landscape Architecture

Travelled outside my comfort zone last weekend.  Feeds my Muse to do it at least 'somewhat'. 
 Visited friends, above, had some great BBQ, below.
 Made it to the venue, below.
 Thinking always, "What can I learn here? How can this enrich my knowledge?"
 Talladega is exactly a Landscape Architecture challenge.  Roads, drainage, sewage, paths....
 Wish you could have experienced the cocoon of grace around these men, below.  When I spoke to them their 1st words to me, "Isn't today a blessing?". 
 These are my boys, below.  Deep bosom friends.  Of course they were with me.  Travel alone outside my comfort zone?
Can you imagine what a few Roman legions, perhaps ca. 15 BCE, would do with Talladega?  Viaducts, stone arches, and that ridiculous painted start/finish line?  Air-conditioned sky boxes?  Romans would have outdone the subdued Olmstead of Central Park.  Vulgar decadence.  I've been to Masada, Italy, Caesarea & etc.  Of course I would have to leave ahead of the Romans & Herod The Great.  I know whence their labor came from.
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This has indeed fed my Muse. 
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Considering the Landscape Architecture of the Romans for Talladega.
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Do you do this too?  Create Anne of Green Gables, scope-for-the-imagination to feed the creative well?  Talladega was there for me, me, me. 
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Want to know how the ancient Romans would have used the inner ring of Talladega?  I can hear those lions & Christians now.