Stock fencing goes quickly from "who cares" to "who knew" when you add inexpensive concrete finials from your local garden center.
Create visual breathing space in your garden with a wooden bench set under shady trees where it's always cool.
Rather than fill a difficult-to-reach planter with water-thirsty plants, go with low-maintenance succulents.
Why have a plain lawn when you can mow a pattern into it? It's really simple. There's no measuring, no planning -- just start at the center and walk in a circle pushing the mower!
Mahogany is an unexpected rich-looking, easy-maintenance, and surprisingly affordable covered porch flooring option.
Windows found in an old barn were reinvented as doors leading from inside the shed to the glass greenhouse. Craigslist is a great place to look for such treasures.
Interior designers know that a bit of black completes any room. Seems to work just as well outside!
Before turning a shovel of dirt, spend time viewing your garden from all angles to create powerful focal points like this arched view of the fountain.
Adding a "hard" element like this terra-cotta container stops the eye from wandering across a sea of plants and helps define the garden's framework. It works in borders, too.
Your garden doesn't need to be laden with fabulous ancestral antiques -- just things you love. That said, a little restraint goes a long way, like this subtle bucket turned fountainhead.
No one wants to spend money on them, but stepping-stones do help avoid compacting soil while pruning and weeding, so invest here. They are sold by the pound or piece-by-piece at home-improvement centers.
One of the least expensive ways to add garden drama is to illuminate plants with uplights that can be installed in stages as budgets allow.
Keep in mind that repeating the same arched element throughout the garden (keep it interesting by mixing up the materials) is a great insider trick for unifying separate garden rooms within the same space.
Annuals have lost favor in recent years, but it's hard to have a midsummer garden without them. We favor cleomes, ageratums, zinnias, amaranths, and heliotropes.
Choose a climbing rose like "The Fairy" for porch railings. Avoid rampant growers that can overwhelm or damage metal and woodwork.
Site aromatic plants like this lavender "Provence" where people are most apt to brush them when passing by. Sounds obvious, but have you done it? Thought not!
At yard sales and flea markets, keep an eye peeled for interesting shapes that can be reimagined and reworked like this antique daybed made up with a "quilt" of potted sedums.
Thin cables attached to the building with hook-and-eye fasteners and turnbuckles provide a nearly invisible support system for training roses. Consider using weather-resistant marine hardware.
Using local materials (here, crushed shells) helps the enviornment, saves money, and adds regional flavor.
Decorate your outdoor rooms with items from your personal collections, such as shells displayed tabletop.
Leave nature alone to do its thing. Let vines wind through a fence to soften and enhance. This is bougainville 'Barbara Karst.'
Don't know where to begin? Find one inspiring detail -- the green Moroccan tiles that circle the patio launched this landscape -- and take it from there.
Neighbors have something good going on? Incorporate it into your landscape, as with these trees spilling over the wall.
Why not a labyrinth (or tree house or outdoor shower)? It's your world. Live in it!
The wisteria-draped pergola acts as a shady tunnel contrasting with the open and bright garden beyond.
Spruce-blue paint (think of it as a neutral) picks up tones in the bluestone paving below and looks nice with almost any paint.
A new "room" can be created with a change in flooring. Here a path of fine bluestone shifts gears into rustic gravel.
Remember to look down from an upstairs window when designing a garden. This is where you'll best appreciate the overall plan.
Making an island works to slow down foot traffic in the garden. It's a especially good solution for a long narrow site like this.
Here two different plants -- clematis and beech -- both in the same bold red hues mark the entrance to this secret garden. A great idea for any garden.
In a place where furniture must be stored for winter, this Mayan hammock is a sensible, and comfortable, option.
Consider positioning trees as a windbreak. These pinon pines thrive in the rocky clay soil and provide height and structure. Trees planted as windbreaks can reduce home heating bills by 25%.
Ten flowering pear trees were coaxed over a metal arch to make this striking garden allée.
These Japanese boxwoods are shaped to mirror the roof peak.
The owner spreads a 3/8 inch layer of pea gravel on her terrace floor for easy walking.
Keep a wild touch in a formal garden by allowing plants to grow to seed where they choose, like these verbascum in pea gravel.
A long, narrow plot offers a super opportunity to create multiple distinct outdoor rooms in a small space.
Placing a mirror in the garden (the one shown here hangs on a garage wall) makes any space seem larger.
Don't buy into boxwood's bad reputation for high maintenance. This owner only trims hers twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
Hard lines love soft plants. Imagine this fireplace without the Bougainville and it's just another tall blank wall. One $20 vine was all it took.
Draw visitors in by placing a strong visual element, like this metal sculpture, at a path's end. A bench or specimen plant will work, too.
Invest in the best furniture you can afford. Try to avoid basic plastic -- it doesn't last and cheapens everything around it.
Connect the inside of your home to the outside with pieces like these waterproof armchairs. For similar ones, look at Restoration Hardware.
Space garden chairs and benches no more than 8 feet apart from one another for easy conversation.
This owner planted a colony of succulents under the table for a delightful surprise to be seen through the glass top.
Spreading ground covers -- here, 'Elfin' thyme -- add instant patina to new pavers. Try Stepables for durable plant choices.
Forget bright orange flowers! A simple palette of ferns, flowering maple, hydrangeas, and anemones is luminous and lovely.
Substituting gravel for flagstone makes this tiny space seem larger. A layer no deeper than 1 inch works best for comfortable walking.
Bricks are classic, but salvaged items like the pilaster fragments (at left) add texture and scale to the edge of a bed.
Using invisible strands of clear monofilament finishing line attached to sturdy branches is the trick here.
Layering two different blooming vines on one arch extends the wow factor over a longer season.
Use multiples of each plant to create high-impact drifts and masses. This owner groups them in threes and fives.
This garden furniture came from a backyard builder instead of a "big box" store, so it's unique to the garden.