Designers' Own Gardens: Ideas from Laura Crockett

Designers' Own Gardens: Ideas from Laura Crockett

Rochelle Greayer
Apr 27, 2011

There is nothing like peeking into the garden of a landscape designer to learn a few things. When clients fear an idea, a designer is often forced to try things out in her own space. Experimentation and freedom, in my experience, are two key ingredients in the recipe for something amazing…

… which is why I think you will enjoy this look at Laura Crockett's funky garden.

Besides being a visual playground, there are a few of big ideas here that I would like to point out so that you might be able to translate them in your own way.

1. Re-cycled materials are often better than new. Particularly in the garden, the age and character of found treasures, cast offs, and re-purposed junk, is often just the right thing. Take those re-purposed street lamp garden lights for example, they kind of make the whole thing. Consider also the garden coffee table that is a bowl with a metal grill on top. The bowl is both a base of the table and a water feature, the grill is both a plant support and a place to set your coffee.

2. Don't be too afraid to mix materials, be fearless. There is a notion that just like in the home you should coordinate finishes in the garden. I do it all the time, in my own garden I fear straying from the rusted steel vein that I have established, even though I am desperate to add a pergola, some light fixtures and other details that will all likely have a galvanized steel finish. Should I go for it? I think yes -- Laura's mixed pebbles path has inspired me and is proof that varied materials can work. The key is to make sure that they relate even if they don't match. Pebbles go with pebbles, big stones relate to little stones, galvanized metal eventually turns in to rusted metal and they both have an industrial look (I hope, right?). Recognize that if it doesn't work, that is part of the journey and the fun of creating a garden, you are going to mess up, kill a few things, and also have unimagined successes.

3. Aim to Match the Un-matchable. Repetition of a color or a finish makes you notice it more. I repeat, repetition, makes you notice it more. Take for example the image of the geranium with the fabulous purple and green striped leaves sitting next to the purple pot. I promise you, we would not be talking about that geranium if it were sitting by itself. I would not have noticed it, but put it next to a purple pot who repeats the pretty purple color and all of the sudden that geranium becomes a star.

4. Evolve. These images came from a couple posts I did on my own site about Laura's garden about a year ago. Since then Laura has updated her website and has a whole new collection of images from her garden and it is fascinating to see how it has changed with time. Unlike a room in a house, gardens can never be time capsules, they will move on without you, so you might as well embrace that fact and evolve with it. I encourage you to check out Laura's new website and see if you can pick out what's new, what's different, what has grown and what simply isn't there anymore.

Images: Studio G, Garden Diva

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