We may focus the majority of our time and attention on interiors but don’t let that fool you; we’re just as passionate about the spaces that stand right outside those handsome steel doors and windows. We design most of our homes with ample natural light and a stellar view in mind, and that generally means the grounds and gardens surrounding a home are encouraged to step up and stand in as live art pieces for the spaces within.
Although we could talk nonstop about interior design [go ahead, check our archives :)], we have no trouble checking in with another set of experts when it comes to the slightly more foreign topic of landscape design. We connected with premier landscape architecture firms, Lanson B. Jones and Moss Landscaping, for a quick round of Q&A and we’re so excited to share everything we learned with you!
Let’s start with a few basics….
There are countless garden styles, but Italian, French, English, and Modern seem to be the primary categories most gardens draw inspiration from.
Dating back to the Renaissance, Italian-style gardens have served as an influence for nearly all of the garden styles to come. They are formal, symmetrical, and have multiple spaces that are separated by green hedges/walls; there is less emphasis placed on florals and more on intricate structure.
Lucky for us, Italian gardens aren’t only found in Italy. According to the experts, we can achieve something similar right here in Texas!
“Traditional southern gardens are very commonplace in Houston, however, our city’s warm climate combined with our diversity of residential architecture allows for anything from Mediterranean estates to hill country contemporary landscapes. We are fortunate to live in a hardiness zone where a large variety of plant life thrives which gives landscape designers more opportunity for creative freedom that they would not have in many other cities.” Monica Eatherton; VP – Design, Moss Landscaping
French gardens can also read quite formal but you will find that the style was adapted to highlight some form of structural centerpiece within the design (e.g. a chateau). These spaces are still highly manicured and tend to celebrate pavings and decorative elements, but they also have a more diverse color palette, including the use of purples, blues, and whites.
Unlike Italian-style and French-style gardens, English gardens exhibit a much less structured ambiance, losing some of the formality of the aforementioned styles. They are generally designed to emphasize a home’s façade and draw inspiration from landscape paintings, celebrating the beauty of rolling lawns, lakes, and pastoral fields.
“My favorite garden style trending now is the contemporary English garden with French leanings. The style encompasses the perfect blend between formal and informal balancing and includes pure white flowers and fresh green foliage. In order to achieve this garden style, I recommend combining white Salvia (Salvia Splendens), Verbena (Glandularia x Hybrida) and Angelonia (Angelonia Angustifolia).” Lanson B. Jones
You’re totally speaking our language, Lanson!
“Modern” gardens are not what you might expect; they’re relaxed and playful and they often unite form and function to achieve attainable outdoor living. And who could possibly turn away attainable outdoor living?
A few more magnificent thoughts from our experts before we go:
“We’re seeing a growing trend toward designing gardens for architectural styling which is more eclectic. We are accomplishing this by evolving in our practice towards a more contemporary European-inspired American garden. Houstonians are requesting garden styles that build a stronger, direct relationship between their home’s interior and exterior elements. By incorporating the home’s architecture, color palette and interior furnishings through collaboration with interior designers such as Marie Flanigan, we view the home as the perfect canvas for designing a distinct garden that is harmonious to the property.
Whether for economic or environmental reasons, we’re also noticing sustainable garden design is on the rise, too. Our clients are setting trends in simpler garden care. We’re now designing more pet and family-friendly spaces that are extremely low maintenance and include synthetic lawns and decorative gravel. As these new trends emerge and evolve, our team is thrilled to integrate them into our designs to paint a more dramatic picture. We’re now painting a picture that builds connections from inside the home looking out and outside the home looking in.” Lanson B. Jones
What is your favorite style of landscaping and, if you don’t have a favorite, what are some of the go-to elements you like to incorporate?
“Being from Charleston, South Carolina, I am always drawn to southern-style courtyard gardens. I love complementing the architectural style of the home with the garden through design elements such is iron details, paving patterns, plant material and water features. The garden should become an extension of the home by transforming it into an “outdoor room” that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.” Blair Chesnut, Landscape Designer + Project Manager, Moss Landscaping
Are there any tips, tricks, or special considerations for our followers to keep in mind when designing exterior grounds in Houston?
“If you are considering a large landscape project, reach out to a project manager. Houston is a great city with the potential for amazing gardens, but we also receive an excessive amount of rainfall and experience extremely hot summers. It can take two to four years for a newly planted landscape to “mature” and reach its intended design, so proper drainage and irrigation at the start will give your garden a much higher likelihood for success.”
George Johnston, Landscape Designer + Project Manager, Moss Landscaping
We hope you enjoyed! Who’s thumb is feeling green? Wishing you a very Happy Spring!