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Design

A Garden Design to Bring People Together

Well-planned sightlines, harmonious colors, and attention-getting plants make any garden more engaging

Fine Gardening - Issue 187
A welcoming entry garden makes a good first impression. This mounded bed surrounded by a circular driveway is a focal point that can be seen from the street. It has more curb appeal than a straight drive to the garage door, and it gives passersby a taste of the vibrant garden that lies beyond.

When our well-established forested garden on California’s northern coast was flattened in 20 minutes by a powerful microburst, the first feelings my husband and I had were of loss, upheaval, and exposure. Then one evening I reread the line of Japanese poetry taped to my computer monitor, a reminder to embrace the opportunities of change: “Barn’s burnt down; now I can see the moon.”

My perspective suddenly shifted to imagining a garden design that better reflected our growing interest in inviting others in, a design that allowed us to interact more with our neighbors rather than protect our privacy. Could we build a garden to bring diverse people, even strangers, together? Many changes in the world had convinced us that we needed to engage more, not less. We could let our new garden design reflect that by creating a broader view in—a welcoming invitation to meander, pause, reflect, engage, even…

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