I have “If you give a mouse a cookie“ syndrome.* 

I diagnosed it myself on the internet.


If I sit down to write, I will probably check my email (or twitter), and if I check my email, I’ll probably click on some intriguing thing and if I click on something…. 2 hours later, I'll emerge from a haze where I discovered the secret history of women who walk long distances in France, bought a new lip gloss, and completely stressed myself out over a balloon in Montana.  😣  


How does this happen? **


I was talking about this with a blogging friend who suggested a post format that might help me focus. And boy did it work!

It's simple - 

XX one sentence tips about YY

"XX should be at least 10 but shoot for 40" - he said.  

You guys - I’ve never written a post so fast in my life. I made myself stop at 43 but I am not sure why.  I could have kept going - maybe even to 80.***

I cut out a few weird ones and for the sake of not having a some seriously long run-on sentences - I have modified the title to 40 Straightforward tips about Garden design (from 25+ years of garden making)  


The whole 40 are the blog, but here is a sampling:  

1. Work from the center out - not the edges in.  


2. You can always fill awkward spaces with plants and suddenly they aren’t awkward. 


3. Ninety degree and greater angles (right angles and obtuse angles) feel good. Less than ninety feels pinched, are hard to build and maintain, and are more likely to gather debris and bug you forever. Scrutinize and eliminate acute angles before you build. 


4. If everything is special then nothing is special. 


5. Good garden design is the marriage of art (form, scale, etc) and science (gardening/ horticulture); you need both.


6. All art is a form of storytelling – the more stories your garden tells, the more interesting it will be.


7.  A planting bed or patio is infinitely easier to move on paper than after it is built (i.e. drawing is a hack to save your back).


8. Your garden is never “done” – thinking that it is or can be will only lead to frustration and missed opportunities. 


9. Solve drainage problems with drainage solutions. Plants can’t fix drainage issues – the best you can hope is that they won’t drown too quickly. 


10. The smaller your garden – the more evergreens you need.****


11.  Color will change your perceptions – (ex. dark colors recede, white comes at you, red is the first thing you will see) – plan accordingly. 



Until next week.



* It's a kids book by Laura Joffe Numeroff that supposedly teaches cause and effect, but I'd argue it is more about out of control shiny object syndrome and unchecked curiosity. 😉


** Sometimes I wonder if I have ADHD. 


*** I foresee more of these types of posts in my future ... where YY = planting design, choosing materials, figuring out your site, etc. etc. 

(let me know if you have a YY list you'd like me spin up!)


****I don't mean this as an exact number... more of a ratio. 



Join me for one of my two garden making courses - The Planting Design Boot camp where you can learn how to pick and plan all the right plants for your garden and my signature course, The Garden Design Lab where you can start from scratch to completely plan (or renovate) your garden, with my help. 


Greayer Design Associates

PO Box 394, Harvard, MA
United States