Garden Inspiration | Garden Designers Roundtable

I graze across disciplines, media and firsthand experience to feed my ever growing habit. Here are five (of the many more) ideas from the past year that have inspired me.  Some have been included in previous posts, others on my FB page, and still others are new to this post.  All have contributed to the whole that is my constantly evolving design aesthetic that needs feeding, feeding, feeding.  After all, I’m a self proclaimed inspiration junkie omnivore.

French fashion icon Jean Paul Gaultier teamed up with green wall whiz, Patric Blanc to create a runway statement.  No longer flat, the idea of designing a garden for vertical, undulating and moving surfaces intrigues me.

Fashion and garden synergy

Great and inspiring retail was the subject of a post entitled They Give Great Shop after a trip to Berkley last winter.  I still find myself thinking about objects and textures I saw at Artefact.


Industrial and natural textures collide

Gardens don’t have to be a static thing or relegated to traditional containers.  Taking a garden along with you rather than going to your garden is a new way of thinking for me.  Here are two that inspired that idea.

Movable gardens from Urban Buds


French company Bacsac on the move

I have always loved the movies.  Inception was a visual feast and made me think harder and look harder to see beyond what I think I’m really looking at.   Oh, that spinning top.

Inception challenged perception

Travel feeds my inspiration appetite. The 1st was reviewed in Artiface and Artifacts.  The 2nd is from a trip to Dallas.  Right now I am inspired by juxtaposing traditional and contemporary with artifice and naturalistic design.



There is so much more…architecture, industrial design, interior design, graphic design, just about anything Dutch, plants, pop music, performing arts, museum shows, books, people, current events, pop culture…and then there’s augmented reality…but that would be a book instead of a blog post–wouldn’t it?

Want to be inspired by the other Roundtable contributors?  You can pick up their links…

Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

Carolyn Gail Choi : Sweet Home and Garden Chicago : Chicago, IL

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Ivette Soler : The Germinatrix : Los Angeles, CA

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In the Garden : Los Altos, CA

Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA



11 thoughts on “Garden Inspiration | Garden Designers Roundtable

  1. these are great sources of inspiration. the garden on top of the bug is wild!!! i’m going to try to visit the cool gift shop in berkeley next time i’m up that way!!

    It’s at Cornerstone Gardens. I think there’s another in SF. Well worth the trip.–s

  2. Yes I remember some of those posts of yours that are referenced here.
    The inspiration sourcing ahead of need is one of the huge joys of the job for me.
    Inspiring presentation.

    I didn’t know what you meant really until I read your blog post. Inspiration ahead.–s

  3. If I were to think of shops that inspire, Artefact would certainly be at the top of the list! Great post, Susan – love JPG’s dress, too! Would love to know the specific plants he used!

    I wonder if there is a plant list for that dress. I’m sure you could write to Patric Blanc and ask him…he’s very approachable. Wish we had an Artefact like store here. Alas, not.–s

  4. Susan, I love how inter-disciplinary you are with your design. You appreciate paintings and movies, furniture and clothing–you have a true designer’s eye. Thanks for the reminder to seek inspiration across all art forms!

    Jenny, for the record, I never thought about it any other way. I was raised in an art loving environment and had all of the ‘creative sources’ crammed into me in art school. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized their value to me. Glad to be of a sort of inspiration to you too!–s

  5. You are right — travel is a fantastic source of inspiration. I forgot to mention that one! Seeing new plants and regional design aesthetics gets the wheels spinning in new directions.

    Travel is the single most important thing that recharges my creativity. Seeing the same old thing every day doesn’t really do it.–s

  6. I tooooooootally remembered and was inspired by your post about the store Artefact. So funny you picked that one too!

    And I’m so with you on movies. It’s funny, I don’t actually see many movies, but when I have occasion to see on that really inspires me, it stays with me for months. Loved Inception too. So slick. I think Amelie is my favorite visual inspiration film.

    Love Amelie also! We’ll have to go to the movies together some time. Happy you were inspired by Artefact. Hope you can visit it one day…well worth the trip for that alone!–s

  7. I totally died when I saw that dress!!! DROOL!

    I love the term “Inspiration Omnivore” – it’s what we should ALL be! I am always so excited when you bring your love of the cross disciplinary to the table, Susan – it is so important to have a broad scope. I remember when I was acting, I was always so BAFFLED by the actors who would only socialize and spend time with other actors. Inevitably, their work became flat and self-reflexive. There was no nuance or surprise. I find that can be the case in design as well – if we never leave the “garden bubble” as you put it, how do we refresh ourselves?

    I get inspiration at many of the same places you do – most recently, a movie. DYING to work the ideas of “Black Swan” into a garden space!!!!
    Thanks for an amazing post!

    That is high praise coming from you Germi. I haven’t seen Black Swan yet…now I can’t wait. Interesting that our work is so different yet we cruise the same inspiration places. Happy to have you over here today…or any other day.–s

  8. Next garden party I’m going to wear that dress… though mine will have to be made out of giant banana leaves and lashed together with a variety of very secure vines. I don’t want to scare anyone ya know.

    Love the Artefacts store. Their shop-scape changes from week to week. They have some wonderful bamboo bird cages from s.e. asia right now that are so inspiring.
    I want to buy a half dozen of them, fill them with twinkle lights and tillandsia and hang them around the garden.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    I’ll take the knock off of your dress! Thanks to you and Alice for introducing me to Artefacts. The experience stays with me almost a year later…buy those bird cages.–s

  9. Susan, I totally agree with your interdisciplinary approach. As designers we must “cross train” just as athletes do, in order to build our creative muscle.

    After reading your GDRT posts I can see that we are largely of like minds when it comes to inspirational sources! Like the idea of creative muscle too.–s

  10. Susan, I’m always inspired when I read your blog so it’s nice to ‘peek behind the curtain’ and get a glimpse at where all your inspiration comes from.

    I have, as one of my assistants once told me, a busy brain. Thanks for seeing that!–s

  11. As always, Susan, you feed your creativity from a wide range of unexpected places. I’d love to see how you translated the inspiration you got from the movie Inception into a design project.

    It could be something as simple as a door that’s not a door, or a the classic mirror behind a trellis or something more complex as creating a dream state feeling in a garden…–s

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