I Wish My Garden Looked Like That


Have you ever found yourself coming home after a visit to a lovely garden, and saying “I wish my garden looked like that”? I have, too.

The trouble with such wishful thinking is that what made a particular look so attractive and desirable is not necessarily what you have to work with in your own landscape.

I suspect it is something like asking for a hairstyle you like from your hairdresser. After leafing through many pictures and imagining what this or that might look with your own head of hair, only to be told that it wasn’t quite the style best for you. Your face, your hair, will render a much different look.

So, what does it take to get the garden you dream of?

We all start out with a style in mind, but the beginnings of any garden goes much deeper… to the soil.

The soil of a garden will dictate to certain degrees what plants grow there, and will definitely contribute to whether they look lush and healthy or not. The soil is where everything stars, and the it gods on from there.

Start with finding out about your soil, and amending it with whatever it might need.

My Soil Analysis

Recently I had my soil analyzed. It told me what I had expected, but was a little surprising, too. I knew I had good soil, and I knew from sorry experience that it was alkaline. The county extension soil maps indicated a neutral soil, but the analysis showed a distinctly alkaline 7.0 reading. There is so much potash and potassium that no amendments of these elements are recommended. Only additions of nitrogen.

Such reports will help you improve your soil both for the short term and for the long.

Keep the compost coming for continual soil building.

Your Dream Style

This is where the rubber meets the road between our dreams and what can really happen in the garden. So many of us think about wanting flower borders or islands of trees, etc. and that is how we plant, but the results that so many end up with is a thin line of plantings along a fence or boundary line, instead of the picturesque beds of more broadly planted design.

It so happens that as people who love to garden ever-expand into their lawns that this fault can correct itself over time. But what if the ideal yard that you imagine consists of attractive, but low maintenance plantings? It makes sense to plant it that way from the beginning. While even the “best laid plans” can go awry or mature into something different than expected, it is still worthwhile to create one.

  • Keep a journal with your plans included.
  • Avail yourself of the advice of experts.
  • Have a bookshelf of Garden Info Resources

Turning Your Wish and Garden Dreams Into Reality

This will involve a little learning on your part, but this is where Ilona’s Garden site is here to help!

Find out about:

Plants That Grow Your Dream Into Landscape Beauty

Even if we don’t personally start out that way, we have all seen the blank landscape. Few or no trees, maybe the sidewalks and driveway, but little to say that the space is a garden. Sadly, some fill int he dirt areas with grass and maybe rim the house with some evergreens, but it leave the slate blank.

It is the living choices that make a real garden. Although an urn or bench can be a focal point with the ground around it framing the main feature, don’t overlook a specimen tree or shrub, or a stand of ornamental grasses or bed of special perennials. Create drama and foreground, and then support it with background plantings and the plan almost makes itself.

Your choices of plants can be of mixed types, a harmony of forms and textures, or centered around color, but the well being of that raw design material will depend on the soils (yes, we always circle around to that in our gardens). Have you done your homework on which plants you love and whether they will thrive in your yard environment? Nothing is more à propos to a winter’s evening than plotting all this information out into a workable plan.

Whether you use hand drawn blobs or mathematical grids, the plan you make will give guidance to the shopping and then planting. The result? The well-tended garden that had you wishing to begin with.

Nothing helps me more in the planning stages than a well written and illustrated garden book. When the author is as knowledgeable and inspiring as Tracy Di Sabato-Aust you will find yourself resorting often to the guiding advice, and planting choices that she suggests. It serves to remind you of plants you desired, combinations and colors that most appeal to your senses, and the way to use them in your landscaping plans. A few good books like this combined with your own garden journal will be the main source of guidance for a well-thought home garden design,

3 Basic Steps

Quickly now…what are the steps to getting that dream garden out of your head and into your own outdoor space?

  1. Find out about your soil, get an analysis, or do some of your own soil testing with a simple kit.
  2. Learn about the basics of home design (it isn’t hard) and start forming an idea of how you would like the garden to look and function.
  3. Research the plants that grow in your climate and soil, and start putting together the ones that will provide a pleasing combo of form, texture, and color harmonies. buy them and plant them.

See? 3 basic steps. The first is easiest during the spring or summer, but can be done anytime, the second is easiest when the garden is dormant during winter’s sabbatical on garden chores, and the third is best in spring, although it can wait until fall.

Then, people will go home from your garden saying, “I wish I had a garden like that”.

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Meet the Author


I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of "Ilona's Reflecting Pool". Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. The work on "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.