Personal Garden Coach

The Motivational Gardener at Large

Garden Designer’s Roundtable – First Impressions February 28, 2012

Jane Austen began her second novel, Pride and Prejudice, before she was twenty-one. It was originally titled First Impression because the appearances of the characters created the plot of the novel. The two main characters formed immediate impressions of one another that set the entire story in motion.

"Pride and Prejudice" From

Imagine the power that your front garden has on the first impression your guests might have about YOU or your HOME. Does it say anything about how the visitor might find the condition of your interior? What could your landscape be saying about your personal style? Does it say anything at all?

No matter what your landscape and climate might be, you have the opportunity to place your own personal stamp on what a passerby or first time visitor may think of you and your home. Small space or large, there are many ways to make it your own.

Even if you don’t have a landscape, some containers can create a big impressions.

Curb appeal or the first impression =  A homes CHARISMA

“Landscape your outside entrance–Add a few new flower pots, small shrubs or hanging plants to spruce up the outside. Spending just $400 to $500 on fresh landscaping, according to the survey,can boost your home’s value by $1,600 to $1,800.”
Home Gain Survey 2007

Here’s a list of Fourteen Ways To Make the Most of Your Homes Curb Appeal

As a former high end Real Estate Agent, I could go on and on about improving the first impression of your home. But, I thought some pictures of some landscapes that I’ve worked on changing over the years might be a good illustrator for you too. Unfortunately, I don’t have the original “BEFORE” shots on these homes, I was too eager to just jump right in and get started and forgot them. But, these are all taken over the course of a few years, all of them starting in the second or third year. Enjoy!

Originally, this front yard that blends into the main yard, had a very steep slope of lawn here that was impossible to mow and very little landscaping. The curving wall cured many ills here.

This is the third year, where we just wanted to add inexpensive but bold color until the larger plants
began to fill and mature.

By the fifth year, trees, shrubs and ground-covers began to mature and give a sense of scale.

This was into the second year of improving the “Builder Special” landscaping.

Third year and done up for a magazine here, not bad!

Second year on this side too. Still lots of inviting color and personality.

One year later. I’d say that’s a pretty WOW first impression!

Here is the number one piece of advice that I give my clients when we talk front yard landscape design- You should be able to pull up to the front of your home in the worst weather of the whole year and say WOW! If it looks great for the months that you are not out gardening actively and fully, then THAT is a great front yard!

For more on “First Impressions” from the Lords and Ladies of the Roundtable, please visit the links below. Enjoy!

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

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

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

Shirley Bovshow : Eden Makers Blog : Los Angeles, Ca.


28 Responses to “Garden Designer’s Roundtable – First Impressions”

  1. […] Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA […]

  2. Hi Christina!
    You want a ‘Wow!’?
    You’ve got one! That is just seriously impressive.
    I always admire your boundless enthusiasm and that comes across here. Real curb appeal!

  3. […] Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA […]

  4. Christina – I love the sequence of photos showing how the Builder’s Special looked throughout the years. So darn impressive!

    • personalgardencoach Says:

      Thank you Rebecca. This was a CLASSIC Bachelor pad landscape, nothing but lawn and six Ilex. Yawn….. Anything I did here would have been an improvement! LOL

  5. I love your use of chartreuse–I need to remember to add that color more often. Your examples are so lively and colorful–great ideas!

    • personalgardencoach Says:

      Chartreuse in a my cold gray climate is the color that binds everything together. I owe it all to Dan Hinkley and Heronswood (may it rest in peace). Thanks Jenny!

  6. Your last bit of advise about maintaining the “WOW” factor even in the down season is stellar! As always, your photos are as lush as your landscapes. Thanks, Christina!

    • personalgardencoach Says:

      Thanks Jocelyn- Here in the gray world that is the maritime NW, we have to rely on small victories. If it’s awesome in late January, I call it a winner winner chicken dinner!🙂

  7. Wonderful examples, particularly the progression of the “Builder’s Special”. Sadly, that’s one I encounter quite frequently as well – giant house looming over a tiny front garden. Your pictures are giving me fresh inspiration!

  8. I love the idea of expecting a “wow” when you pull up to your home. Thanks for an inspiring series of photos on creating curb appeal.

  9. Debbie Says:

    Christina, You certainly do have a unique perspective on this topic with your background in real estate. I’m going to ‘borrow’ that comment about year round curb appeal, it really does drive home the point since most homeowners think curb appeal = color. But it’s so much more than that.

  10. Christina, that first home has always wowed me. Isn’t that the same one on your business postcards? LOVE it! You are such a talented artist!

  11. Beautiful made an impression on me <|;-)

  12. […] Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA   […]

  13. Nice design chops Christina! Enjoyed your post. I have mine up now. Sorry so late!

  14. Genevieve Says:

    Beautiful examples, Christina! All beautiful, but I think I love the very first one the best. All that gorgeous hawt color! Swoon!

  15. […] Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA […]

  16. That’s a whole lot of color! In your misty PNW it probably makes sense…here in the NE that much color isn’t seen often. Exhuberant!

  17. Karen Dyck Says:

    I am interested in discussing a front bed design with you. Could you contact me?
    Karen Dyck

  18. Beautiful. wow. I have done my front garden in a perfect circle. It’s so interesting that people are drawn in and gather right in the exact center. Someday I hope for it to have the colours and forms shown in your stunning photos.

  19. Excellent work Christina! Great to see each sequence as each landscape explodes with color. Somehow curb “appeal” doesn’t do them justice.

  20. Debra Says:

    Your landscaping pictures are beautiful and just what I needed for ideas on making my own home front more appealing. Thank you

  21. Dre Says:

    This is amazing. Can you list the plants used?

    • Thank you! Oh it would take me ages to list all of those plants. Let me know if there is one shots that features plants that you are interested in and I’ll try to accommodate.

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