Garden Design Details: Fences

Whenever I see an interesting fence I take a photo or if it’s online or in a magazine I clip it and save it for future reference…someday I’ll get to design a garden fence that’s more than a functional backdrop, and when that happens…here’s some of what I’ve been saving as inspiration…

This fence surrounds part of the James Rose house which is preserved as a museum in Ridgewood, NJ.

Fence detail

A funky concrete fence at Urban Roots in Buffalo, NY

Fence Gate with sculptural bench

Another funky and colorful choice found on Houzz

Playful and colorful

A woven stick fence in the parking lot of Terrain.

Stick Fence and Grasses in the parking lot

Found on Pinterest…I tried to trace the link back to its origin but no luck.

Ceiling and roofing materials (unknown link)

An uber modernist fence…once again found on Pinterest and I couldn’t trace back the link.

All clean lines and geometry



Tuesday’s Find…French Foundry Pots

I love it when I find things that meld various interests.  These foundry pots do just that linking my history in both garden design and metalwork.  Carved from igneous rock and used to pour molten metals, they have been re-purposed as beautiful containers.  22 inches tall and 17.25 wide, these would look fabulous in any garden or patio.  They can be had at Orange in Los Angeles.

Wonderful patina and beautiful shape

As for what to put in them?  Please visit my designer friends who are posting about their favorite landscape plants along with guest blogger, Nan Ondra on Garden Designers Roundtable today at 1pm.


A new look for spring!

Miss R has a new look.  So does my website.  The navigation is now at the bottom of the page and everything in linked together.  Along with my regular garden and landscape design projects this has been going on in the background for the past six weeks.  Enjoy!

Tuesday’s Find…boardwalk planters

Coney Island amusement park opened this week.  What does that have to do with garden design?  Here’s the tale…

You wouldn’t really know it, but Coney Island is in my blood.  My uncle owned and built Astroland on the site of the former beer garden Feldman’s.  His wife ran a speakeasy in the 20s that was popular with crooked politicians.  Another less entrepreneurial uncle ran one of the carousels.   I grew up with stories of the Steeplechase and the Parachute Jump.  As a child I had passes for the  famous wooden roller coaster The Cyclone that was next door…it is the only one of those pieces of boardwalk history still operating as it was then.

When I saw these terra cotta planters from a bath house on the boardwalk all of the stories associated with my Coney Island past collided with my present.  This is why I love old things.  They preserve bits and pieces of the past and they tell stories.   They’re from Elizabeth Street Gallery in New York.

First…where they were on the 3rd floor…

As they are for sale now…


Garden Design Details: Pergolas

Sometimes being a designer means solving a mystery.  I’d like to say that clients’ desire for structures and elements to be incorporated into their garden’s design was consistent and cyclical, but it’s not.  This spring I find myself being asked for several pergolas and outbuildings to be part of the landscape designs I’m working on.

I like to show clients inspiration early in the design process.  I find that these images not only help them to clarify their vision, but they help me to understand it as well.  Pergolas all follow the same format…it’s the details that change.  What color is it? What materials are we going to use?  Will it be a transition from one place to another or a place to linger?  Will it be attached or freestanding?  Will it be contemporary or tradtional?   With that in mind, below are several pergola ideas for a wide range of clients and styles.


A pergola with a pitched roof and weathered finish
A rustic stickwork pergola
Uber contemporary rooftop 'pergola' structure


Clean, geometric detailing
Planters between posts (this is one of mine btw)


Pergola and vertical garden hybrid!

There are just about as many variations as the imagination can dream up.  Some are simple to build, some complex.  Please click on each photo to be taken to its source.

Tuesday’s Find…here comes the sun

I’ve always liked sun faces as a motif.   I see garden wall ornaments with shining benevolent suns all the time.  This vintage 1960s dining table and chairs uses them to great, fun effect.  How wonderful would this set be at a beach house or under a pergola in the desert?   I can imagine sitting with friends, watching the sun rise or set over before a great day starts or sharing a great meal at its end.  Too bad, the set is located somewhat inland right now at Pariscope Design in Illinois…I’m sure they have sun there too…


Sunny table and chairs

Early April Gardens

I know that T.S. Elliot’s poem The Wasteland isn’t about gardens.  It is idiosycratic, densely symbolic and ultimately about beauty and meaning in a modern world in ruins.  Kind of appropriate for the way things seem in the world right now some times…but my post is about gardens in early April.

Rhus typhina 'Tiger Eyes'

In that way, I always think of these lines when out in my garden for the first time each season…

Cercis canadensis 'The Rising Sun'

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of  the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Tuesday’s Find…a silver snail

Sometimes you want some bling in your garden. sometimes a bit of kitsch is warranted–so is a sense of humor.  This vintage sprinkler has all in ample supply! It’s a clever design that would also look great when not doing its watering  job.  Finally! a snail you want in your garden!  It’s from Skyscraper in New York.


Silver sprinkler snail

In my Reader…a seasonal break

In my reader is going on hiatus until later in the year.  It’s spring and my landscape design studio is humming with new and ongoing projects.  Since I’m a designer first and foremost, my blog shifts with the time I have to spend on it.  So, until things slow down,  In my Reader will be irregular at best–I’ll still be posting on Tuesdays and Wednesdays unless things get really, really crazy.