Sunset Manzanita, California Native



What makes a garden feel at ease with itself? I love different garden styles: Chinese, German, and Zen. They all have an attraction and calm aesthetic when done right. But while some feel calm and relaxed, others seem uptight and forced, cluttered and confused. What were the designers trying to achieve, and what made them succeed or fail? 

Backyard gardens, by their eclectic nature, are my favorite. You can tell a lot about someone by their garden. Ours is an overgrown mess of native plants with an abundance of weeds that I never get around to pulling. I’m always striving for a kind of balance that constantly eludes me. My ultimate goal for a garden would be to attain the random beauty of a forest or a desert. Random beauty, now that’s tricky; how do you design random?

Natural beauty falls into a category of its own. In a forest, the arbitrary nature of the rocks, plants, and trees work together perfectly, a harmonious heart created by a million years of natural forces. Fallen leaves and decaying trees don’t feel out of place, and there’s no mental argument about whether they belong. It’s all an inherent part of the whole.