hello SPRING! garden DESIGN principles with P. Allen Smith

Garden Design Principles by P. Allen Smith is a perfect musing to start spring.  Spring hit early and is in full bloom here.  All of my containers are already planted… I do not remember a year previous that I was completed in March!


Last week I attended an Outdoor Living Extravaganza at Minter Gardens with Floral Designer Lynne Woods.  It was a wonderful day of seminars and lunch organized by Proven Winners.  Aside from the rather early start to get to Minter Gardens for 9am, we thoroughly enjoyed the day.

butterfly and lilac

Award winning designer, garden expert and television personality P. Allen Smith spoke on design principles and creating WOW entryways.  Allen is a fourth generation nurseryman and went to the University of Manchester to study garden design and history and is a member of the Royal Horticulture Society.  His beautiful home and garden is located near Little Rock, Arkansas.

P Allen Smith

P. Allen Smith and his cat Marge in the garden.

P Allen Smith homeGarden Design Principle #1 – get the garden structure or “bones” in place.  Create “garden rooms” as in his garden above – his property is divided into nine separate gardens.

Garden Structure

By dividing up a property into smaller, separate gardens you get a sense of enclosure.  Allen loves hedges for definition and backdrop – especially clipped boxwood.

Garden Structure“Breaking up space makes the garden look interesting.”

create ” garden experiences

Garden StructureGarden Design Principle #2 – Accent Entryways – create a focal point to enter and exit one garden to another.

Garden Structure

Garden Design Principle #3 – Symmetry is is important.  More important is visual balance.

GardenGarden Design Principle #4 – Visual impact by grouping things together.  The idea of massing.

Too much is just enough”            “more is better – pack it in

gardenGarden Design Principle #5 – It is key to keep a colour theme.  All colours must work and blend together throughout.

Consistency gives the WOW factor.”

statureGarden Design Principle #6 – Repetiton creates impact.

Repetition – there is something harmonic about it.”

Garden Design Principle #7 – A Focal Point draws you into the garden

Good garden design is good picture making.”

As an Interior Decorator whom has always liked to plan and work in her own garden, it was excellent for me to appreciate the parallel of Garden Design Principles and Interior Design Principles — GOOD DESIGN is GOOD DESIGN no matter the application!!!

P Allen Smith in the garden

Foliage is so important.”

What makes a garden according to Allen…

  • good plants
  • good design
  • time

Design with the end in mind.  Recognize the economy of a plan.  Buying what you need.  Years of buying annuals every spring is money that could have been invested in perennials and shrubs for the same cost over time.

P Allen Smith BookP. Allen Smith is the author of 5 books.  I purchased his most recent one “Bringing the Garden Indoors” which he was kind enough to sign for me.



2 responses to “hello SPRING! garden DESIGN principles with P. Allen Smith”

  1. atsung imchen Avatar
    atsung imchen

    its fab Mr.Smith..what can be better than this..great job

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: