Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Sarah’s garden in Illinois, Day 1: The front yard

2 WAYS TO ENLARGE!Click directly on the photo to enlarge in a pop-up, or click HERE to see this image, larger, in a new browser window.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sarah Hall

We’ll spend the next two days (Well, today and Monday!) in Sarah Hall’s garden in Champaign, Illinois. Today’s photos are from Sarah’s front yard. 

But first, an introduction to Sarah. Sarah says, “I have grown up watching my mother garden and have always enjoyed it myself. It keeps me balanced and adds a tremendous amount of joy to my life.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sarah Hall

“A couple of years ago I became overwhelmed with stress and anxiety and decided to take a big leap and completely change my life.  I quite my job and took my savings and started a small gardening business in Champaign. I wondered if it was possible to do something you love and learn how to live off of it.  I am happy to report that I am doing it and enjoying every minute.  I am intrigued by garden design, and find experimenting with plants, plant combinations, and designs to be both challenging and invigorating. I have so much to learn but feel like I am learning all of the time.”

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sarah Hall

As for the photos, Sarah says, “This bed is on the north side of the house and was a bit of a challenge because it only gets a little morning sun. The bed is located right next to the front door. My goal was to create something that felt kind, inviting, and calming. I am also fascinated with beds that make you feel like you must go up and touch them once you see them. I really enjoy experimenting with texture and find blues, silvers, and purples to be very relaxing so I wanted to use that color scheme.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sarah Hall

“The best way to get the border to pop was with ‘Midnight’ lobelia.  I combined that with the soft flowing texture of the ‘Silver Mound’ artemesia to create what would resemble the feeling of a stream running through the middle of the bed to tie it all together.  I added some of the more captivating kinds of heuchera to provide some variation to the colors. I that found trailing purple sweet potato vine  along with ‘Mona Lavender’ plectranthus in the window boxes helped tie the purples and blues into the back of the bed. I added the hakone forest grass around the base of the Japanese maple because the chartreuse base really helped highlight the Japanese maple and also added some additional texture variation.” So beautiful, Sarah!

We’ll see Sarah’s back yard on Monday. Have a great weekend, everyone!


Want us to feature YOUR garden in the Garden Photo of the Day? CLICK HERE!
Want to see every post ever published? CLICK HERE!

View Comments


  1. tractor1 02/03/2012

    Ah, Sarah is another touchy-feel-me gardener who makes me want to caress her all her softness. For textural contrast I'd find a sunny spot for 'Jeans Dilly':

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/03/2012

    I enjoyed reading Sarah's reasoning for her plant selections as much as I enjoyed looking at the finished product. She was totally successful in her goal of creating something welcoming and serene. My eyes would stay busy absorbing her landscaping as I walked up to her front door. I really like the massing of the silver fact, I am breaking a commandment by coveting it! One little suggestion...she should keep her eye open for a stunning tallish ornamental pot for that corner on her porch that complements the colors in her plantings.

  3. pattyspencer 02/03/2012

    I love the colors - they are eye candy. I didn't realize just how pretty a north facing garden could be.

    And to Tractor1 - I think you've gone from Simon to Paula this week - hehehe - but you're right it does make you want to run your hands across it.

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/03/2012

    Stunning! Too often I plant 'groups of one, drifts of two' and miss out on the great visual impact of a stream of plants. The artemisia is out of this world.

  5. rion 02/03/2012

    I have a friend who is trying to do a Asian theme in Portland, Oregon area. Anyone have any pictures to share what they have done? We are going to the Chinese Gardens this week to look, but would love to see your pictures for ideas. The yard today was beautiful! Thanks!

  6. greengrowler 02/03/2012

    In the midst of a major blizzard here today, the photo's of Sarah's garden are a real treat. I love the little alcove with the Japanese Maple and forest grass - two plants I LOVE but have not been able to grow successfully. They compliment each other beautifully. As Meander1 said, a tall pot on the porch would really compliment the scene. I would use a cobalt blue glazed pot to echo the Lobelia, with lime green sweet potatoe vine, ivy geranium, coleus, impatiens, and a nice fern for contrast. Sarah, we share the same passion for blue/purple and silver! I have always dreamed of doing what you had the courage to do - quit my job and pursue garden design as a career. All my friends and family often say I should do this full-time; maybe some day I will be as inspired as you to take that leap of faith!

  7. sheilaschultz 02/03/2012

    Like GreenGrowler, we're in the midst of a snowstorm, so your photos, Sarah, are a welcome relief to all the white I see out my window. You have achieved your goal of providing a welcoming entrance to your home. The drifts of artemesia definitely say, 'touch me!' And yeah, a tallish container on the porch would just be icing on the cake. Congrats on your career change, you are just what Champaign needed! Can't wait to see your back yard on Monday.

  8. greengrowler 02/03/2012

    P.S. - to tractor1 - whatever you're smokin' - keep it up! I agree with pattyspencer, you are the "Paula" of the week!

  9. tractor1 02/04/2012

    Who/what are Simon/Paula?

  10. annek 02/05/2012

    Ooooh, fabulous colors, beautiful window box. And the lobelia is so complementary with your blue shutters. Very nicely put together.

  11. BombasticTurtle 03/11/2012

    The heuchera (chai?) gives is like a wake up color in your garden! Beautiful!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest