As the summer heats up, I thought I would try to inspire you to head outside and get your hands dirty with some inspirational and aspirational garden 'before and after' projects.
The first is landscape designer Andrew Grossman's garden. He shares the progress of his garden at his blog titled 'A Year in My Garden' — even though he admits that this garden was fully 12 years in the making.
Andrew has created many artistic design elements (my favorite is the checkerboard planting!) in his garden and if you are interested in seeing it in person, he is opening his garden for the Garden Conservancy's Open Days program this weekend (June 18th, 2011). He lives in Seekonk, Massachusetts, and you can find more details here. Alternatively, you can take a better look online here.
On the smaller, more-achievable-in-a-few-weekends side of the landscape project spectrum, the second garden is in the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was created by removing concrete, cutting it to nice squares and mixing it with bricks, and then putting it back in a much nicer way. The new scheme is not only more decorative, but allows ample space for all those potted (and eventually unhappy) shrubs and trees to lay their roots into the earth, spread out and beautifully make themselves at home. This garden makeover was originally featured at Brownstoner and you can see more images of it there.
And finally -- for that special lucky someone amongst us who might someday win the lottery, there is ample inspiration to be found in Atlanta based designer Alex Smith's portfolio. This mountain top garden is certainly in the 'aspirational category' but there are some beautiful ideas that can be applied anywhere. Why not try punctuating your beds with boxwood, it gives a clear and uniform organized look that can be quite relaxing. Or perhaps there is inspiration to be found in the way he has edged all the beds in (what appears to be) thin chipped edge granite paving stones turned on their sides. More images and ideas from Alex can be found here and here as well as here.
(Re-edited from a post originally published 06.15.11 - NM)