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I’m a lucky girl. I got to attend the Northwest Flower & Garden Show again with the editors and art director for Fine Gardening magazine. The event takes place in Seattle and includes everything from over-the-top display gardens, city living patio designs, a marketplace, and yes, lots of plants! I’d like to share ten garden design tips I picked up from the show and, hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration.

Use of Containers in Design

This one is not new, but tried and true! Containers are a flexible way to define functional spaces and add lively interest. While this example uses neutral pots to let the plants take center stage, the pot itself can make a colorful statement as well. So many options!

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Lighting

Those of us who work during the day find more time to enjoy their garden at night, hence, the need for fantastic lighting. Oversized pots that glow are very dramatic.

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You can also add drama by adding string lights on a pergola…

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…or simply stringing them across your sitting area for casual elegance.

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Gathering Place

Come and sit awhile—that’s what you want your space to say to you. A few colorful throw pillows add a little pizzazz and a great excuse to relax.

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Add Privacy

Nosy neighbors? There are creative ways to add privacy, whether a loose weave fence…

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…or clever piece of art.

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Limited space? Look up. Adding vertical accessories make a space feel larger.

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Water Features

Water features can range from a stream to a simple fountain. A fountain disguised as a rock is calming.

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Adding a little whimsy to a stream is so creative.

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DIY Creativity

Are you the roll-up-your sleeves type? Grab an old palette and paint it like a flag, adorned with flowers!

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Or, cut a wine bottle in half and add succulents.

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Color

So many options here. I love the simplicity of purple and white.

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If you have the space, you can plant flowers to feel like an artist’s brush strokes.

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Functionality

Design your outdoor space around what you love to do. If you meditate, provide an al fresco alternative for beautiful mornings.

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Do you like to play games? Make it part of the ambience.

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Bring Indoors Out

We’re familiar with bringing the outdoors in, but you can turn the tables and extend your indoor space to the outside — just add a rug or pouf.

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Perhaps an unexpected piece of furniture (climate-dependent, of course)?

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Rustic Elements

Finally, and perhaps in contrast to the “bring the indoors out” tip, add some creative rustic elements to ground your design.

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These tips are nothing new, but I hope you find some inspiration in these photos to help make your garden and outdoor living space the best ever this year!

Susan Jensen Smith is a web producer for Fine Gardening Magazine and a blogger at Your Home Only Better. She loves projects that solve décor problems for practical home enthusiasts and believes decorating should be fun! (Join her on PinterestInstagramFacebook and Twitter.)


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