Wheelbarrow Gardener Column: Does your garden reflect your personality?


by Val Loseth

I had the pleasure of being one of the judges for the Morinville’s Best Garden competition. I spent the morning with other judges and media touring 17 different gardens and exploring the personality displayed in the gardens through the use of plants and design elements.

Now you may think that your personality has nothing to do with your garden design but in reality is does, and it should, after all your garden is an extension of your home and of the people that inhabit it.

Take a look outside right now; do you see how your garden reflects your personality? Are there parts of your garden that are similar to what is inside your home? Is it designed or styled in the same way? Are you extending the design and style of your indoor living space out towards the garden fence, or does the garden reflect a totally different feel as soon as you walk out the door?

Are you a collector, do you have a cherished collection of art, furnishings, or décor items? If you are bringing collections into your home, you should be bringing collections into your garden through perhaps a collection of garden art on the fence or through plants. Perhaps you have a collection of lilies in one of your flower beds. If you enjoy collecting items and you want to feel at home in your garden, then reflect that through your design.

If your garden is a chaotic mixture of colours, textures and foliage but your home reflects a style of minimalism and clean lines, will you feel comfortable spending time in your garden? Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t step ‘outside the box’ when it comes to the design of your garden. You can certainly explore a more creative existence in the garden but ultimately if you are at home with the style inside your home then you will want to stay within that range outside as well. We have such little time to use our outdoor living spaces and if it is set to reflect our personality then you will enjoy it more.

Here are some ways you can add personality to your outdoor living space.

1 – Fabric: If your home is full of pillows, throws, lush curtains, napkins, and tablecloths, bring some of that outdoors. There are a lot of weatherproof fabrics available to create a tablecloth for the picnic table or a couple of pillows for that bench in the back corner. Fabrics can be changed seasonally to give more options to showcase your personality.

2 – Lighting: Are you a candle person? Do you have dimmers on your lights; chandeliers in your entry? Lighting is a wonderful way to create ambiance within the garden. Candles, solar lights, hard wired lighting are all options that can create a “feel” in the garden and lighting also allows us to enjoy the gardens further into the evening so that we can get as much enjoyment out of our summer season as possible.

3 – Décor: Nobody said that you couldn’t take Grandma’s teapot or Grandpa’s toolbox outside and plant something in it. We all have items that we love and cherish, but often they are pushed to the back of the closet to be forgotten or only brought out on special occasions. Items are just that: items. But they are also to be enjoyed; use them in unusual ways and each time you look at it, you will be reminded why you love it and it will become even more precious to you.

4 – Furnishings: You have an old dresser that has seen better days, but it would be a shame to send it off to the dump. Why not find a nice spot for it in the garden, open the drawers and plant some plants in them. You could have a chest of herbs, flowers or perhaps just some different grasses. Yes, it will deteriorate over time and when it has lived beyond being that conversation piece in your garden then you can take it to the dump knowing full well that it has served you well showing off your personality.

5 – Whether you or a professional is designing your outdoor living space, make sure to take time to explore your personality and find ways to incorporate elements into your garden that will reflect it. With neighbourhoods so full of cookie cutter style houses, make sure that your garden says, “This is me!”

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