The Dirt

The Best Garden of 2012

The Wallace garden in British Columbia.
Photo/Illustration: Allan Mandell
The Nyenhuis gardens in Sequim, Washington.
Photo/Illustration: Ann Stratton
The Wallace garden in British Columbia.
Photo/Illustration: Allan Mandell
The Nyenhuis gardens in Sequim, Washington.
Photo/Illustration: Ann Stratton


There’s no doubt about it: Fine Gardening features a great many gardens between its covers every year. Only a handful, however, are offered as lessons in garden design. Find the eight gardens we brought to you in 2012 below, and vote for the one that you felt most compelled by.

Bonus: After casting your vote, leave a comment explaining your choice, and you could win a copy of our Front Yard Idea Book! Enter by January 1, 2013.

Designing with curved terraces by Sandi Burdick, issue #147 Focus on seasonality by Dennis Schrader, issue #148 Simplify your color scheme by Andrew Grossman, issue #144
Impress from a distance by Donna Tetiva, issue #147   Design ideas for a small space by Rebecca Sams, issue #145
There’s more than one way to be bold by Antonio Reis, issue #146 One bed, two exposures beautifully blended by Danielle Sherry, issue #146 Concentrate on contrast by Sharon Nyenhuis, issue #145
View Comments


  1. JanisCort 12/03/2012

    I really liked the variety of plant material. There were shrubs,trees and flowers.Stone work lovely.

  2. sd76114 12/04/2012

    I voted for Sams garden, because I have a small space myself and so like seeing ideas for it

  3. southernsoil 12/04/2012

    I voted for Designing with curved terraces by Sandi Burdick, issue #147. This garden is stunning as are the others but Sandi's choice of plants really caught my attention and had me imagining a terrace garden added to my own garden design.

  4. imovedwhere 12/05/2012

    I voted for Wallace garden, British Columbia, Canada ('There's more than one way to be bold', issue #146).
    It has great color and there seems to be many little nooks and crannies inviting one to explore!

  5. jcdix 12/10/2012

    I like the Wallace Garden's use of bold colors and textures to create interest.

  6. mammasharon 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Schrader garden for the inspiration. Although I garden a long way from New York I, fortunately, have 4 seasons for gardening!

  7. kmjess 12/10/2012

    I liked the Wallace garden with the rock wall as part of it.

  8. user-7006942 12/10/2012

    I voted for th Burdick garden, TN. Slopes are always a challange, but this garden does not even seem on a slope. The textures, various shades of green and the pop of color keep your eyes moving - just Beautiful! These plants are native to where I live so I will be keeping this as insprition for my next planting - sloping or not…

  9. den74 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Nyenhuis garden. Emphasizing contrasting colors in plantings, creates much interest, and really shows the structure of the garden design.

  10. Rahmanm 12/10/2012

    It takes some years to implement the advise of your great articles. I vote for Nancy Goodwin's article Fill Winter with Flowers.
    Since this article I have added to my small retirement home with only 0.31 acres including the house over 800 bulbs, about half in the lawn that flower at the end of winter, early spring, over 50 Hellebores both Lenten Rose and Christmas Rose and made extensive use of North Carolina Native plants like Blood Roots (over 100) Trilliums, Foam Flowers, miniture Iris, solomon seal and more.

    I visited for the first time Montrose Gardens cared for by Nancy and right after the visit created yet another plot around a large tree to mimic her fantastic plots using hellebores, native dicentras, geraniums and iris. It is december and already I have flowers which will continue through the winter.

  11. user-2331028 12/10/2012

    I liked the contrast garden. You can add a lot of interest by color and by foliage.

  12. roland8ball 12/10/2012

    wallace; garden has a lot of color in looks like it is well kelt.

  13. wGardens 12/10/2012

    All these gardens are wonderful. Kudos to the designers! I will vote for the Burdick Garden as I love working with stone and appreciate the many applications of it- Love the varied use of plant material... some great combinations. The gardens harbor many ideas that can grace many types of gardens- I also appreciate the fact that the garden can be viewed and enjoyed from numerous areas. I love the element of curiosity of wanting to see it from every angle!

  14. user-116247 12/10/2012

    Most of us have this type of space.

  15. ncgardener 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Burdick garden, the curved terraces were amazing. I like the idea of turning an item that may have been a detriment and turning it into an asset. The textures that jump out at you as you view the garden were interesting as well. The spikes along with the flowing plants which replicated the flow of the water. it was the pathways that ultimately tied everything together for me. They are beautiful and make you wonder what is around the corner as you meander through. Lots of work but well worth it.

  16. user-232117 12/10/2012

    This one photo, of the Sams garden, for the article on design in small spaces, packs so many great ideas together! I love the offset fence and have used that technique several times. The small touches - the river rocks along the cinder b;lock wall, for instance, are beautiful.

  17. JamieO48 12/10/2012

    I voted for Sam's garden. I moved from a large suburban lot to a small urban lot over a year ago. Gardening in a small space requires discipline and careful planning.

  18. guffycreekgirl 12/10/2012

    I love contrast in the garden. It is amazing how the different textures different hues in a color family can change everything.

  19. Lili 12/10/2012

    I voted for Grossman's garden. It just gave gives me the feeling to want to always wander thru to see what new has bloomed and gives a sense of wonder. It's just charming!

  20. jdigi 12/10/2012

    I live where are four seasons. Winter arrives in December and stays until March. We can have an early or late spring, and a dry or wet summer. I voted for Focus on seasonality by Dennis Schrader. There were great ideas for every part of the growing season.

  21. michelleatlarryville 12/10/2012

    I have a huge front like this garden so I know that just the scale alone makes this an amazing garden feat! There are many more plants and more to do to keep it looking fantastic! Thumbs up to the hard working gardeners in the world!

  22. user-809108 12/10/2012

    this is a very lovely garden with the rock layouts and walkways i just love it

  23. summersweet 12/10/2012

    This was so difficult as all these gardens are beautiful. Ultimately, I voted for the Nyenhuis garden as I liked all the contrasts at play in this design - texture, foliage, colour and height.

  24. Sheltilove 12/10/2012

    I picked Burdick garden, Knoxville, TN ('Designing with curved terraces', issue #143) because I love the bright colors! I think this is beautiful. It jumped out at me from the first.

  25. springle 12/10/2012

    I love the garden in Sequim, Washington because of how it backs up to a natural wooded area and the study in contrasting colors, leaf textures, and leaf shapes from the giant brunnera down to the golden Japanese forest grass. The contrasting textures move your eye from the dark green forest into the garden exploding with color and textures.

  26. pk18 12/10/2012

    So many great chaoice, but I voted for Sams garden, Eugene, OR ('Design ideas for a small space', issue #145)
    The simplicity of the garden for the small space designs was agreat starting point to narrow down my large yard and made me focus on one area at a time.

  27. Marifran 12/10/2012

    I enjoyed reading the article on "Simplify your color scheme"
    because I have never seen articles devoted to this topic and
    it never occurred to me that a garden should have a color
    scheme. I love color, especially daylilies, and have always
    designed my garden around them. But I was very interested in
    their information. This is an article that I marked especially
    to save for re-reading.'

  28. jstorti 12/10/2012

    I enjoyed all of the articles. I selected the Seekonk MA garden because I liked the contrasts that the author encourages. Furthermore, I live in MA, perhaps not the same growing zone, but I love gardening in Massacusetts. The seasons are quite precise and their are interesting experiments to try in the off months. Fine Gardening points many of these out.

  29. user-939323 12/10/2012

    It is simply the color. I love color.

  30. balex33 12/10/2012

    Many of us have had to downsize for assorted reasons; the small spaces that catch your eye are more interesting. Tackling one area and accomplishing it is more my speed now that I'm retired! Instead of the overwhelmed feeling when you're landscaping 4 acres, you have success!

  31. snollygaster 12/10/2012

    Simplify Your Colour Scheme was my choice. The accompanying pics really exemplified the message in the article. To my eyes this was the most un-designed looking garden of them all but the most beautiful and, surely, this is the mark of great garden design!

  32. hostamom 12/10/2012

    I chose the Beck garden because I have a large area of my garden bed that is part shade and part bright sun. I never had thought to try to coordinate the color, texture and size of the plants in the two adjacent beds. This detailed information on the design and complementary plants gave me just the knowledge I needed. I am in the same Temperature Zone, so all the suggested plants will work. Thank you for this helpful article!

  33. lyndaangela 12/10/2012

    I voted for the two exposure garden because it is really useful information.

  34. IamButtercup 12/10/2012

    Sam's small garden ideas can be applied to both small and larger gardens, the ideas allow you to create special spaces to focus on.

  35. darby1 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Nyenhuis garden, Sequim, WA ('Concentrate on contrast', issue #145). Beautiful design and pops of color that surprise the eye.

  36. BarkOn355 12/10/2012

    Nyenhuis garden, Sequim, WA gets my vote. Contrast is important in my designs because my property is flat and square. While I have built in some rounded beds and added some raised structures; using varied colors, textures and tones that contrast each other help the gardens pop from their surroundings.

  37. havelock5 12/10/2012

    I picked "Impress from a distance" because that's an area I'd like to improve on in my front yard.

  38. RVfarmPA 12/10/2012

    Schrader garden -- because its naturalistic inspirations have applicability to typical settings for most of us in the U.S. and southern Canada.

  39. jlamf 12/10/2012

    Terrible choices, just terrible that I had to choose one from all these great articles! I opted for designing for small spaces since I moved last year to a city house on an 1/3 acre lot. Luckily, the house is located at the front of the lot, and that gave me most of the gardening area in the back. I eliminated all the grass (and weeds) and started over with only the existing trees to consider. I wanted to design "room" areas, so Rebecca Sams gave me some good ideas to get me started.

  40. bowtieal 12/10/2012

    Living on 6 hilly acres with 1 cleared acre for house and planting and the rest wooded leading to a stream, part of the original farm the family moved to in 1933, we feel that blooms should appear at intervals so our design is eclectic: existing maples, cherry, liriodendron, sassafras on former pastureland; planted dogwood, spruce,Japanese maple. deciduous dogwood,and many shrubs amidst the small grass plots pleases us greatly as did the chosen picture.

  41. donnalou_1 12/10/2012

    I really love the idea of interest in your garden area for all seasons. Winter seems drab so I love the idea of color and interest then!

  42. daisy6708 12/10/2012

    I love to garden & moved to a wooded sloping property a few years ago. I had a picture in my mind's eye of exactly what I hoped it would look like in a few years. One of the challenges is the slope and this garden accomplished that challenge in a thoughtful, creative way allowing the garden to be viewed from various vantage points.

  43. bmoler 12/10/2012

    I gust love a lot of color all year long and that walkway

  44. MizScarlet 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Wallace garden. It has all my favorite features for a garden. If I could design my own, with no limitations, it would look very much like this.

  45. jessyesmom 12/10/2012

    I like the simplicity of a Japanese garden for small spaces.
    It has a calm and peaceful feeling.

  46. nancy25 12/10/2012

    I love, love them all! The Beck Garden #146 really drew me into the peace and serenity and mystery beyond the winding path. I especially like The green canvas with pops of color here and food for the soul!!!

  47. janet55 12/10/2012

    This was a beautiful garden and I can apply a lot of the ideas to my own garden

  48. thelazygardenerny 12/10/2012

    Only some of the contenders are linked. I tried Chrome and Firefox. How can I see all of them?

  49. dixiemama 12/10/2012

    I liked the difference in the shades of greens used. Also liked the pop of red. The contrast between the "limey" greens and the darker shades seemed to give the garden movement.

  50. dixiemama 12/10/2012

    I liked the contrast between the shades of green used and the pop of red. The foliage seemed to move from light to dark.

  51. gilgenbach 12/10/2012

    I have a small yard so I always appreciate the ideas for compact spaces with pizazz

  52. plants4me 12/10/2012

    The two exposure garden is my favorite because it is really useful information.

  53. susanc648 12/10/2012

    I love this garden. I have been trying how to plant a slope that is in part shade, part sun. I can use many of the plants in the photo which gives me ideas of how to plant my own "problem area" with color, texture and leaf size variations. Thanks!

  54. dragonswing 12/10/2012

    I like the curved terraces garden because that is the closest to what my yard looks like so I could incorporate some of those ideas.

  55. garcan 12/10/2012

    Although the plant material selections are not particularly attractive, it looks like a garden that I would want to live in and stroll rather than a garden for viewing and admiring from a distance or just walking by.

  56. 5goldenacres 12/10/2012

    So many excellent gardens, but my favorite was the Wallace garden. I love the mix of rocks, pine, color and softness all combined. This will be an inspirition to the rock hill that I am working on next spring.

  57. GaryK_inOhio 12/10/2012

    The Burdick garden in Knoxville is awesome, there is something soothing and inviting with curved features. It looks like a place I would like to kick back and find some serenity!

  58. dianna1 12/10/2012

    The colors in the Grossman Gardens feel tranquill-,peaceful--the water is what attracted my eye first and after looking at each --it still does. Its peaceful--a place place to to sit,enjoy ,and think.

  59. DLBA 12/10/2012

    The feature on Sam's Garden in Oregon was helpful to me as I have some smaller places that I was looking to fill creatively.

  60. jandldorsey 12/10/2012

    Loved the idea of combining plants for different exposures in the same bed. This garden accomplished that beautifully and provided useful lessons for designing our 30-foot long bed along the front porch, which is quite sunny at one end and shady at the other.

  61. tessvowels 12/10/2012

    Decisions about gardening are always a challenge!! I really like the 2 gardens that were created on a slope... and the one with the pond is the one I chose, with the sunroom/writer's nook in the background. It is where I would love to spend my time... away from everything else!! The other sloping landscape I can imagine flowing down to a river! Thanks for the opportunity to vote.

  62. user-788808 12/10/2012

    Thank you for letting us pick a favorite. It was hard to do as they are all very lovely and a lot of hard work went into creating these wonderful spaces.

  63. LauriH 12/10/2012

    Voted for "one Bed-2 exposures" That is my whole yard! Now if I can just figure out how to deal with the dry, and I mean DRY shade! Lots of very mature white pines bordering my space...

  64. user-190692 12/10/2012

    I vote for Andrew Grossman's garden, "Simplify your colour scheme." Texture appeals to me as much as colour, so I love the complexity of the spaces that are all about texture and shape, with just a hint of either soft or energizing colour. I love the pond surrounded by delicate-leaved azalea, bold-leaved hosta, and spikes of grass and iris. The froth of towering pink hosta bells is gorgeous.

    The checkerboard thyme patio is brilliant - sensual texture and depth that makes me want to lay down on it and dream....

  65. NKMR 12/10/2012

    Chartreuse, orange, and purple are interspersed the garden and lead the eye to the lovely stone wall. The garden feels light, open, and carefree making one feel welcome and uplifted.

  66. user-660231 12/10/2012

    Making challenging terrain a virtue is splendid!

  67. Karen_W_WA 12/10/2012

    I voted for the garden in Sequim. The transition from the lawn to the sloped bed and then to the larger tree/shrub area beyond draw the eye while the varying heights, foliage and color contrast provide continued interest. I love the unexpected heights and colors.

  68. hoffmantales 12/10/2012

    Mystery and serenity can be used in any garden--big or small. I’d stop weeding to spend time in this space. Love it!

  69. 2greenethumbs 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Nyenhuis garden because it seemed that no matter what size your space is, by careful planning you could give the impression of a much larger area by contrasting and using "thriller" pieces.

  70. tngrb48 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Beck garden; the blend element caught my eye! Thanks for the opportunity to vote.

  71. cwheat000 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Burdick garden. I think it may have been one of the biggest challenges and it turned out beautifully. That is a huge area to fill and look good from many angles. The husband and wife (and designer?) mixed trees, shrubs, foliage and flowers well.

  72. Greendreams 12/10/2012

    This article was very useful to me because I garden over a large area and want each garden to relate to the other. It's also helpful when shopping for plants. There's so much to choose from but by simplifying my color scheme I can keep on track.

  73. Terri135 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Nyenhuis garden because I have really come to appreciate the concept of contrast and am always looking for ideas on how I can do more of that in my garden.

  74. user-1113998 12/10/2012

    I love the contrasts & "Bold" statements in this garden. I must say, that choosing between a couple of the gardens, was difficult.

  75. brooks259 12/10/2012

    We garden on a hill and this article gave me lots and lots of ideas to try.

  76. 10shoe 12/10/2012

    I voted for 'Focus on Seasonality'. I actually found the article from 'Impress from a Distance' the most useful though and admired 'Terrace with Curve' but thought it too extensive and a bit overwhelming. 'Focus on Seasonality' appealed to me most as a garden because of its natural artistry. When I look at it there is a sense of being connected with nature. The textures, colors and variety create interest without appearing contrived. In the article, points I had heard before were restated well but I wish they had taken it a bit further and focused more on the process of constructing the structural framework. Why certain trees were chose and sited in that spot. Also how they selected the sites for the focal point corresponding with line of sight and season. In any case I loved the result even though I would never have a pond myself.

  77. hboswell 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Beck garden ('One bed, two exposures beautifully blended') because it's a situation I face all over my yard, and I loved what they did to address it.

  78. lindalou2you 12/10/2012

    I chose this garden because it most mirrors the issues and climate that I have to deal with. Very helpful!

  79. fatkatzzz 12/10/2012

    I think the homeowners did a fantastic job of a very difficult area to garden!

  80. TeriCA 12/10/2012

    I didn't vote because only 3 out of 8 had links to review...I kind of felt it was unfair to vote when I couldn't see all the entries... but I have to say that "slopes" are always a challenge, and the "Designing with Curved Terraces" was absolutely stunning!

  81. VaderMaven 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Wallace garden in British Columbia. I feel it best demonstrates that structure, texture, and colors and contrasts can create a bold statement in the garden. It gave me the most inspiration for my own yard/garden and how and what to do with different difficult areas. It also showed me that I don't have to have huge plantings of colorful flowers year round to have a visual impact. Absolutely loved it and can't wait to use some of the great planting combinations shown.

  82. NevadaSue 12/10/2012

    This is truly a difficult thing to vote for only one. :) I enjoyed them all and would have voted for about 4.

    I loved the Nyenhuis garden for how it blended so nicely into the forest and the selection of textures in the plants. I love the large leaves of the gunnera in the background. My daughter especially liked the Grossmun garden as well.

    We voted for the Burdick garden for its wonderful contours,textures and beautiful rock work. The pond and the rocked flume are wonderfully creative additions. The whole picture just makes me want to wonder its paths. Awesome!

  83. user-1132844 12/10/2012

    I voted for the Wallace garden. I really liked the textural differences along with the rock and wood elements. The color choices were very compatible with pops of color, I liked it.

  84. Angie0410 12/10/2012

    I chose this ne because living in the Midwest you have to change with the seasons. So, also plan my garden so that there is something in bloom almost all year long, from bulbs in the late winter/Spring to shrubs and whitch hazel in winter.

  85. diannel 12/10/2012

    So many great choices. Love the idea of adding the contrasts and bold colors to grab one's attention

  86. YardBear 12/10/2012

    A comprehensive garden should have the dexterity to visually stimulate, amuse and inspire but then offer sanctuary and tranquility when it is required. To have both is of sublime design and should rightly be recognized. Of the bunch, this is the definitive garden.

  87. lhwlhw 12/10/2012

    I am an easy mark for color...mixed with stone...wonderful!!!

  88. jardineira 12/10/2012

    "Designing with curved terraces" already won first place for this gardener because the gorgeous pictures showed "the proof was in the pudding" . I have a sloped property, and for me, the advice was practical and the results inspirational. Although I thought "Simplify your color scheme" was a very close runner-up. The advice given in the latter article would benefit any avid gardener.

  89. grdnldy 12/10/2012

    I voted for one bed,two exposures because it represents a real-life problem that many of us gardeners face in our own yards. It gave me some ideas that I could implement

  90. user-1142292 12/10/2012

    'One bed, two exposures beautifully blended' is a constant issue in not only my own gardens but also for many of my customers. This article gave great insights into wonderful possibilities.

  91. ABDC 12/10/2012

    I have a California garden with areas of full sun and shade. I learnt a lot from this article about how to "copy" a plant which thrives in one type of conditions with another plant which thrives in the other areas by looking at their aesthetics. I'm trying to put it into practice in my garden.

  92. lfsoffer 12/10/2012

    Small spaces! Tranquility, serene.

  93. Better_barefoot 12/10/2012

    I voted for the "Impress from a Distance" garden because I know from first-hand experience how challenging it is to garden on a slope. My slope garden is far smaller (and my resources far less generous). Nevertheless, good design principles apply across the board. Thank you for this and all the gardens.

  94. Mike7561 12/10/2012

    They are all nice, but I could only pick one.

  95. catmint 12/10/2012

    It seems that a lot of the gardens featured are from large gardens. Sam's garden article most more apropos to my in-city small garden. Can never get enough small gardening ideas!

  96. Adabiis 12/10/2012

    It was difficult as all the gardens had features that I liked. However, 'There's more than one way to be bold' garden had strong plantings, the paved walkway to encourage one to wander and the use of interesting hardscape items which made this garden extra special. It gave me many ideas to implement in my own design.

  97. SharonLeader 12/10/2012

    "There's More Than One Way to be bold"is my favorite. I love gardens that are more than great swaths of a few varieties of plants. I love the natural stone intermingled with interesting plants. I especially liked the bold specimens and the interesting plant combinations,

  98. SharonLeader 12/10/2012

    "There's More Than One Way to be bold"is my favorite. I love gardens that are more than great swaths of a few varieties of plants. I love the natural stone intermingled with interesting plants. I especially liked the bold specimens and the interesting plant combinations,

  99. pmdh 12/11/2012

    I was a cook before I was a gardener, and it is important to consider seasonality when purchasing and preparing food. This translates into the garden as well, particularly for those of us who live in four season climates. There is a rhythm in nature that we should all be attuned to, and take into consideration when planning and planting our gardens.

  100. plantboss 12/11/2012

    "There's more than one way to be bold" just really popped out with the variety, colors, textures...everything I'd love to see in my own garden.

  101. Nan_Jan 12/11/2012

    Designing for curved terraces was my favourite. Loved the cobblestone walkways!

  102. deitris 12/11/2012

    I voted for the curved terraces because I live on a slope and really enjoyed the ideas and how beautiful it was.

  103. dmaurie 12/11/2012

    I vote for Danielle Sherry's garden (issue 146) because it has lots of green and just a few plant varieties. It's peaceful.

    I think gardens with many (primary) colors and plants crowded together look fussy and junky.

  104. Dawn2277 12/11/2012

    My vote for Concentrate on contrast by Sharon Nyenhuis, issue#145 was because I found the colors to be exceptionally beautiful and pleasing to the eye. I'm going to try to re-create this idea. Thank you Sharon and good luck in the contest.

  105. pynch 12/11/2012

    I voted for the contrasts garden in Sequim. I likes the curves and the color popping! I think that the photos on the web site are a bit dark to favor some of the other gardens. We should all have all that moisture to work with that our NW friends have!

  106. Dawn2277 12/11/2012

    My vote for Concentrate on contrast by Sharon Nyenhuis,issue # 145 was because I found the colors exceptionally beautiful and pleasing to the eye. I'm going to try to re-create this garden idea. Thank you Sharon and good luck with the contest.

  107. Jan153 12/11/2012

    So many of these gardens, though beautiful, are HUGE and require dozens of plants; but "Concentrate on Contrast" shows how to create excitement in a smaller border without ending up with that jumbled look that says "deli sandwich" (one item from Column A, one from Column B...). You got my vote!

  108. Dawn2277 12/11/2012

    My vote for Concentrate on contrast by Sharon Nyenhuis,issue # 145 was because I found the colors exceptionally beautiful and pleasing to the eye. I'm going to try to re-create this garden idea. Thank you Sharon and good luck with the contest.

  109. stuie60 12/11/2012

    I thought the Garden was vibrent & thay used lots of color in the GARDEN whan thay put the garden together and took the time when thay did so.IT WAS WELL THOUGHT OUT AS WELL.It was the kind of GARDEN I would LIKE to have in my yeard as well as other kinds of gardens that are out their to. I just like to garden as well.

  110. kathys120 12/11/2012

    I voted for "More than one way to be Bold" because I like the variety of plants that fit so well into the stone work. I have a hillside that I have been working to tame for several years and this garden is what I've imagined it could be in my mind's eye.

  111. msfancyplants 12/11/2012

    My choice is 'Designing With Curved Terraces' - this article has wonderful ideas that I can implement with several sloped areas on my property. The meandering paths with a pleasing natural mix of plant materials - I like the foliage interest & texture. This article also has inspired me to finally begin a challenging sloped lakefront area. I've taken the 'before' photos and am looking forward to the 'after' pics. Thank you!

  112. user-1123676 12/11/2012

    In the Tetiva garden, it is most elaborate and covers the widest space.

  113. user-455679 12/11/2012

    Sam's garden shows great use of a small area. I like the variety in textures, using stone in a wall next to the bamboo fence, and the combining of gravel and flagstone in the pathway. The pagoda emphasizes the Oriental theme as does the bamboo growing behind the fence. The large, clean pot is a perfect Zen touch. These ideas would be affordable for many gardeners to adapt for their small spaces.

  114. DeborahHamel 12/11/2012

    I voted for Sam's Small Space Garden because of the universal climate versatility and the simplistic beauty of the space. Sam's design would work for anyone here in Phoenix, Arizona where our summer high temperatures reach 120+ degrees, or where -20 degrees is the low temperature.

  115. NW_Gardener 12/11/2012

    Designing with curved terraces by Sandi Burdick is an impressive and beautiful garden, even for someone with a flat garden space. The use of stone, plant choices and design is inspiring and draws the visitor in. I would like to spend an afternoon there!

  116. JudySavage 12/11/2012

    I love the soft "pop" of the light purples and pinks, as well as the strong maroon and dark red, against the variety of greens. The garden is both soothing and exciting at the same time!

  117. postalpopps 12/11/2012

    I got so many ideas from each of the gardens. I've got the space and fully intend to terrace "some day". The ideas behind impressing from a distance works for me also. But at the moment, I feel I can tackle more of the ideas behind Sharon Nyenhuis's contrast plantings. By moving a few things around and adding a few bold picks, I can visualize the improvements in my landscape. Thank you to all the gardeners for the effort and expertise they put into their gardens and then shared them with us.

  118. ElaineP 12/11/2012

    I love the textures and shapes of the BC Garden. I just wish there were more pictures, so we could get a real sense of the space!

  119. Greencoach 12/11/2012


    This small garden is a challenge well done. The variety, color, texture all take so much thought and yet the effect leaves me with a feeling of comfort and peace. All that is needed is a deck chair and an invitation to soak up the essence on a Sunday afternoon.

  120. jgleach 12/11/2012

    This garden inspired me - I felt like I could use their choices and find plants with similar characteristics that fit the weather in Texas. And I could end up with a garden with variety in both color and texture. And the natural beauty of it just drew me in!

  121. dana1204 12/11/2012

    just caught my with the simplicity and beauty of hills, house and gardens

  122. seeker59 12/11/2012

    I find that less is more, simple is appealing and over abundance is unnessary although larger gardens are lovely it takes much more care. Of which many of us don't have

  123. purplelass 12/12/2012

    The bold contrasts of plants really draw the eye in, whether it be a big or small space. I loved seeing this garden!

  124. user-514568 12/12/2012

    I really enjoyed the color and large rocks, terraces and flat areas of this garden. I also love color ALOT and this garden had it in spades! The red, purple and dark blue flowers against the dark rock. The different foliage types in another area. I have several different areas in my own yard and as I glean other ideas from diverse gardens I'M IN HEAVEN!!! Thank you for the beautiful gardens you display in your magazine.

  125. stuie60 12/12/2012


  126. Gidget60 12/12/2012

    Love anything with rocks involved. It reminds me of a pathway that leads to more beauty to explore. I voted for number 146 the Wallace garden.

  127. user-864927 12/12/2012

    All the gardens were beautiful. I voted for the Beck garden as it is lovely and it seems to be something that the home gardener could maintain.

  128. Kathyag 12/12/2012

    I was torn between the small garden article and the contrast one. I used to have a small garden so loved that one. Now I have a much larger one so the contrast article was more applicable. All the pictures were wonderful and so inspiring in all the articles.

  129. LindaaJ 12/12/2012

    I picked the Wallace grden because of the color, it made me smile when I looked at the picture. All the gardens were great, hard to choose.

  130. user-56612 12/12/2012

    Although all issues featured beautiful gardens with great ideas, I am particularly fond of Concentrate on Contrast by Sharon Nyenhuis, issue #145. I live in Bermuda where the summer light is strong and sometimes harsh on the garden. To avoid colours being washed out, I choose plants with lots of contrast to accentuate paler flowers and foliage. I love bold contrast between lime green and black, bronze and gold, and dark, deep purple and pale violet. Living in a Zone 10-11 climate gives me the luxury of being able to utilize tropicals like striped Acanthaceae in large swathes in beds along with black mondo grass as an accent. It really adds depth and light to shady areas. I'm particularly fond of crotons and use them for a pop of colour throughout the landscape.

  131. maanderson 12/13/2012

    The Wallace Garden reminds me to get out of the easy and non-threatening and plant some new plants that give a dimension I might not have thought about before.

  132. luckylady2 12/13/2012

    The Beck the transition of the stone work and I want to follow the path so see what it holds. Also, it proves that beautiful gardens can be had outside of the Pacific NW!

  133. user-231226 12/13/2012

    All of the gardens were inspiring. The curved terraces article was especially so for some of the sloped areas we have.
    However, the garden featured in There's more than one way to be bold by Antonio Reis, issue #146, for which I voted provides creative ideas that are applicable and easier to implement throughout our property.

  134. genvy 12/16/2012

    While I valued the ideas gleaned from all of the gardens, the Sams garden stuck in my mind for its use of space, creation of privacy and relevance to problems I've been trying to solve.

  135. byjulie 12/18/2012

    Since I currently live in town, I especially enjoyed the article on small spaces. In the related fields of architecture and interior design I always enjoy efficient use of space and making the most of pre-existing areas; I was glad to read of another gardener's ideas along the same vein. Thank you!

  136. Avila_Beach_Bum 12/21/2012

    I voted for the Nyenhuis garden, because it looked natural and yet tidy and beautiful at the same time. I can't remember whether or not the plants there were all native, but they appear to be. As you know, using plants that are native to an area is good for the insects and wild life that use them.

  137. GardenLadyDi 12/22/2012

    Contrast really a makes a garden sing!

  138. Rabbitthumper 12/22/2012

    Design Ideas for a Small Space gets my vote. I am trending towards simplifying my focus when it comes to garden design. I think that it is very challenging to design for a small space using minimal structural elements (plants and hardscape) and making the combination work well. I have recently moved to the downtown core of my city after 18 years in suburbia (with its never-ending gardens!). The challenge for me this year was to design for my 240sq. ft. rooftop full-sun sundeck. In the urban jungle there are two constraints: time (most people want easy-to-care, no-fuss gardens) and space (other than cottages, most in-town spaces are either decks or very small, usually shaded, back lots). This article inspired me both by the designers’ aesthetics, which harmonize with my own, and for the exceptional use of texture, shape, and foliage color to provide year-round interest in this garden. Your garden should be a reflection of your interior, your soul. It should be an oasis of peace after a long day’s work. This garden’s design achieves that peace. Chapeau!

  139. Scrapper22 12/30/2012

    The terraces are positioned to view all the levels and plants, and love the choices of plants. Curved paths are very inticing. Beautifully planned garden. would like this in my backyard.

  140. animouse 12/31/2012

    Although all of the gardens were wonderful, the Wallace garden had that extra charm. It was a beautiful combination of colour and texture that flowed effortlessly and seemed to blend together seamlessly with the rock.
    It was a welcoming garden that invited you to come in and enjoy.
    Beautifully designed and cared for.

  141. user-7006916 01/02/2013

    Thanks for voting and explaining, everyone! We've selected our winner. Stay tuned for more giveaways.

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