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The Dirt

Lavender garden wins Backyard Garden Spaces contest

Out of more than 140 entries, we have selected our winner: Northern Michigan Lavender Garden. Sandy Waldrop and her husband, John, have transformed an open meadow into a stunning space using drought-tolerant plants and a pergola. Sandy’s prize is a 46-in. red cedar bench from CedarStore.com. Congratulations, Sandy.

The pergola is 10 ft. by 10 ft. and is John’s design. He built it from a combination of cedar and treated pine, with the corner posts placed on concrete piers. The decorative trim is stained Barn Red, and the main structure has just been allowed to weather naturally. John also made the bricks for the patio and the stepping stones for the paths from concrete he tinted various colors of rust, brown and gray and then poured into stone or brick forms.

Sandy works fulltime as a co-owner and manager of a mid-sized insurance agency, but like most readers of Fine Gardening, gardening is her hobby and my passion. She says that developing this lavender garden has been the most satisfying and fun project she has ever undertaken, and it continues to evolve every season.

Congrats also to the other entrants, whose creations can be viewed in our Backyard Garden Spaces gallery. You won’t get a prize, but your photos will serve as inspiration to gardeners looking for design inspiration.

View Comments


  1. Pamela50 07/20/2010

    I would love to know what forms John used for his path. This is beautiful. His path is just what I've been wanting to do to my backyard.

  2. Sandy7880 07/21/2010

    Reply to Pamela50: John used some concrete forms he bought at Lowe's called "Odjob: Pathmate". The patio bricks were called "Belgian Stone", and the stepping stones in the paths were called "Random". Not sure if Lowe's still has them, but www.bargainoutfitters.com does, and they also sell two different little rollaround concrete mixers. Good luck, and thanks for your nice comments!

  3. LaFlor 07/26/2010

    Congratulation's How beautiful. I am sure it was lots of work but! the results are outstanding. Beautiful!!

  4. ddion 07/13/2011

    Just came across these gorgeous pictures. What's the soil and climate like there -- I've been a total failure when it comes to lavender in the midwest!

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