Skip to main content

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Summer Gardens

Now that the interior of our home is nearly finished, I’m moving focus to the exterior. Matt and I have been landscaping a lot recently, and I’m super inspired by several folks on Instagram and Pinterest! Here’s what I’m loving about gardens this summer.


Gertrude Jekyll’s Gardens: Wild and Whimsical

One of my favorite influencers is Gertrude Jekyll. You won’t find her on Instagram (since she lived in the 1800s!), but she designed over 400 gardens in Europe and the U.S. Lots of these still exist, and her style has changed the way people think about gardens and horticulture.

Jekyll’s styles are colorful and wild but still have definition. I love this idea because it’s almost like the garden has no borders – but at the same time it’s very defined into meaningful spaces. You can mimic this look by layering plants of different shapes and sizes within set areas.

We might never have a garden exactly as grand as some of her creations, but I sure can use these ideas and build on them to match our landscape!

There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight.

~ Gertrude Jekyll


image from flowermagazine’s Instagram


Working With What Works

In Santa Fe, one thing we always have to consider with landscaping is how much water will be required to keep our gardens alive. So, although I love looking at Gertrude Jekyll’s gardens and following savoygardens on Instagram (so much green!), realistically to get that look I’ll have to rethink it a bit.

image from savoygardens on Instagram

  • Instead of planting boxwoods, we can use dwarf pines for a similar structural aesthetic.
  • Simple rosemary can make a brilliant hedge row!
  • Russian sage does really well here
  • So do many varieties of roses: sun-loving, climbing, or bushy ones can add tons of color.
  • Try a good white lace vine. They can get a little out of control, but I’ll take what I can get for climbing vines that grow well in the desert!
  • Large fountains are probably out of the question, but I can still have plants overflowing from gorgeous urns and containers (I love to get them from The Raven!).

One thing I will water is our espalier apple tree, which you can see here on the wall underneath our window. I’m always willing to spend some more effort on a plant that will bear fruit!

Overall, I think I’m getting pretty close to a formula that will look fantastic, but can be achieved without a massive amount of water.


Hardscaping With Patterns

By now you probably know how much I love putting together modern and vintage touches in interior design…hardscaping gives me a chance to take the same ideas outdoors!

I love combining some more structured elements with those whimsical gardens above. In our little outdoor kitchen, I decided on a harlequin pattern with bricks and river rocks. We pulled this brick from a burned down house maybe a decade ago, and I was tired of having the grill just sit on dirt! So I decided to play around by emulating a pattern I saw on flowermagazine’s Instagram.

Ultimately I want the whole scheme to integrate well with our outdoor chicken and garden plans! I sampled this pattern in a tiny area, and I think we’ll continue now that I know it works.

This is another key idea with landscaping: don’t feel like you have to do everything at once! Just get far enough to know what look you’re after, and then try that on a small scale to make sure it works with your environment and your aesthetic. This method also lets you control your investment, since you won’t spend a ton on a huge project you don’t ultimately enjoy.

Landscaping is such a massive project — we’re just getting started, but I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the gardens and outdoor spaces that are inspiring me now!


Sign Up To Get A Customized Map with 5 Kid-Friendly Places in Santa Fe!

Stay In Touch

Our latest tips straight to your inbox

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Get Your Free Christmas Card Graphic!

    Love Interior Design?

    Get our latest blog posts right into your inbox.

      Get Your Free Christmas Card Graphic!