In just a few years, Sarah and Charles Wiltsee have turned a relatively shallow corner lot in suburban Danville into a spectacular garden. It feels much bigger than it is because it has been designed to flow from one area to another.
Much of the garden has been designed and planted since the 2009 ice storm, when they lost several large trees and had to start over.
The Wiltsees are both retired and spend a lot of time planning and furnishing their garden, and it shows. Except for the heaviest tasks, they do all the work themselves, and Sarah Wiltsee's background in interior design is evident. She is a member of the Garden Club of Danville.
Here are their five tips:
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1. Before designing or planting, always view the area to be landscaped from all sides, including from inside your house.
2. Your garden should be inviting and interesting, to draw visitors into the landscape. Try using multiple outdoor "rooms," so every feature cannot be viewed from one spot.
3. Be sure you know what kinds of plants your site will support. Is it sunny or shady? Wet or dry? Plan for ease of maintenance and a healthy landscape. Check your USDA hardiness zone.
4. To keep interest in all four seasons, it's important to use a mixture of plants including evergreens and grasses, as well as hardscape structures and statuary.
5. Try to involve the senses of sight, smell, touch and sound. Include a water feature for sound interest and blooming varieties for scent as well as sight.