Refresh Your Garden Design

ARebecca Sweet, the Northern California garden designer known for her ability to creatively transform ordinary outdoor spaces into balanced, living works of art, released a new book last month. And, as expected, it’s as useful as she is talented. In a quick e-mail interview with editor Shannon Roxborough, the dynamic designer dishes on her latest work.

From garden shows and seminars to the pages of Horticulture and Sunset, designer and blogger Rebecca Sweet, it seems, is everywhere. Two years ago, she helped fuel a trend in the horticulture world as co-author of the best-selling book, “Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces.” And now, she has penned Refresh Your Garden Design With Color, Texture & Form, a thorough how-to guide loaded with helpful advice to unleash the hidden designer in you.The cover of Refresh Your Garden Design With Color, Texture & Form. their reluctance to take on design projects and inspiring can-do confidence when tackling them.

Q. Why did you decide to write this book?

A. As a garden designer, my business is divided into two main categories: creating comprehensive landscape plans and hourly consulting. And after consulting with literally hundreds of gardeners over the years, one of the most common complaints I’ve heard is a sense of frustration at the lack of harmony that has crept into their gardens. While they might have been happy with their gardens at one point, something happened over the years and they don’t know how to identify what has gone wrong or how to fix the problem. They’re frustrated because they don’t want to rip out their gardens and start from scratch or hire a team of professionals to come in and take over. Instead, they just want to enjoy the process of refreshing their garden again, but are unsure where to begin.

Rebecca Sweet 1I decided to write this book to help gardeners everywhere learn how to look at their garden with fresh eyes to identify its problem spots, and how to specifically go about refreshing their garden’s design. I emphasize the word ‘specifically’ because instead of writing about design theory followed by one beautiful photo at the end, I want to show how to create these transformations using a series of photos to help illustrate my points. My goal is to help gardeners enjoy the process of refreshing their garden’s design while transforming it into the garden of their dreams.

Q. What do you want readers to gain from it?

A. My main objective with this book is to give gardeners a sense of empowerment, an excited feeling of ‘A-ha! I can do this!’ After reading my book, if I’ve given a frustrated gardener a newly found sense of confidence then I’ve succeeded.

Q. What’s the one thing you would stress to people wanting to design their own gardens?

A. If I had only one piece of advice for gardeners I’d say to have fun experimenting with your own outside-the-box ideas. Don’t be timid and don’t worry about making mistakes. Just enjoy the process of creating!

To learn more about Rebecca, go to or follow her blog, Gossip in the Garden.

Rebecca Sweet 2 Rebecca Sweet 3 Rebecca Sweet 4 Rebecca Sweet 5


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First of all the way you wrote it here I didn't think the site would look nearly as nice as it is. The site does look like a more polished site, so good job.
In terms of constructive feeback, I have two thoughts:
1) The About me has to have much more information. People want to know who is behind it all. I would add a picture of the person who designs it (maybe even a few pics during different stages of the process of making one) and make the text more reader friendly. Even gramatically smoother like adding (I earned a AAS....not just list it as a resume. Make it more like a story)
2) I think the photography of each container garden needs to be clearer

Climate of change ahead for gardening  — Newsday
While many gardeners scan the newly arrived seed catalogs to plan their next growing season, the industry's visionaries are pouring talent and resources into products and ideas they hope will be sown in years to come. .. FLOWERS.

Message to a heartbroken widow: embrace your grief  — Irish Times
And go for a walk in the garden. Examine the dead plants and the frosty clay that was so full of flower last August.

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