Color in the (House and) Garden

From the street, a hint of what’s to come.

You know what I like even more than the grandest of professionally designed gardens? Personal gardens, the funkier and more colorful the better.  And I found a fabulous one the other day, thanks to a garden-coaching client wanting to show me the best garden in his neighborhood.  Indeed it is.

Pond and seating in front yard.

The gardener, middle-school teacher Jeannie Bloomer (great name, right?) is a collector of not just interesting plants but of interesting stuff.  But I love her garden most of all for her lavish use of exotic colors – and for the half a dozen or so seating areas she’s created in a relatively small space.

Gardener Jeannie Bloomer.

Incredibly, the outdoor dining room above is perched on the sloping side yard, just outside the kitchen door.

I love the complementary house colors.
In the back yard, more seating and ponds.
Tiny lawn used to good effect. There’s a similarly small one in the front.
Even the utility zones are fun-looking.
This back patio served as a display area for a yard sale the day I visited.

I couldn’t resist buying the big wooden dragon in the center of the photo above – for just 3 bucks.

Bamboo growing in trough-like container along back wall of house.

So now that you’ve seen the kind of garden I fall for instantly, I’m curious – what’s your favorite type of garden to visit?  And is there a difference between your favorite garden to visit and the kind you’d want to have yourself?  Me, I know I could never pull off what Jeannie’s done here, so I’ll just appreciate her artistry.


  1. This is my favorite kind of garden to visit and I loved this post. I would love to have a garden like this. I work on mine, but I have a hard time finishing anything.
    I love all the places to sit here and all the color.

  2. That would be a lovely garden to visit. I wouldn’t be able to pull that off either. Would I want that kind of garden? I already kind of have one like that, just more subdued. She made it funky (kind of shabby chic) without getting trashy, it is a fine line for me I find, and I appreciate it done well.

  3. This is a beautiful and fun garden style. However, if I tried to replicate it, my yard would look like Sanford & Son’s. It takes a lot of skill and an artist’s eye to be able to place items in visually pleasing arrangements. I enjoy this type of garden because there’s always something surprising and interesting to see – it’s like a treasure hunt!

  4. Great post. That’s the kind of garden that is interesting and has personality, while also being inviting and a visual treat. Thanks for showing us.

  5. I love this garden! But I’m with those who could never have one like it, if only because I’d have to find indoor places for all the stuff, come Fall. And I wonder how much time Jeanie spends weeding and clipping, to keep it from chaos?

    But my take-away is her lovely use of natural and hand-made objects, and color. I will resolve to use more of same in my yard.

  6. Being an avid gardener myself these styles of gardeners are always a delight to wander through and gather inspiration. However I know several gardeners who would say it has too much going on with all the items. Or some probably wouldn’t want to deal with all the upkeep on the garden. But that is what makes it interesting. This gardener makes use of all her space very well which I think is a good thing. I have a highly ornamental potting shed which always garners comments!

  7. I LOVE her use of color. It makes the garden very exciting, visually, but relaxing with the ponds, swing, and sitting areas. She really has an artist’s eye!
    Beautiful, well done!

  8. The big lesson for me here is how important hardscape is: paths, sitting areas, stones, walls, trellis.

  9. My favorite type of garden as well. So original, artistic, inventive, relaxed (and last, but not least, beautiful). The gardens I like best are an expression of the individual, not cookie cutter.

  10. This is my kind of garden. I think it’s great. Seeing this garden encourages me to do more in mine. Thanks!

  11. My yard furniture is all different colors. I have two swings, picnic table with attached benches. four other tables, and four other benches. I love color! People say my yard has too much furniture and my yard is huge. People want me to paint all my furniture white. Only the picnic table is white, just so I can see ants.

  12. Gardener’s gardens are the most interesting because there’s so much personality in them — as with this one. Combine a gardener’s garden with a good sense of design and, shazam! That’s my favorite kind.

    Thanks for the tour of Jeannie’s garden. It’s fun-loving and inviting and reminds me, in its use of color, of Lucinda Hutson’s garden in Austin.

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