In the first installment in this 3-post series, we visited the wonderful Danger Garden. And in part 2 we visited the beautiful xeric garden of Greg Shepherd, co-owner of Xera Plants. And in this final installment we’re visiting the inspirational garden of Lauren Hall-Behrens of Lillyvilla Gardens.
This wasn’t the first time I’d visited Lauren’s garden, which I’d also seen featured in great books such as The Non-Stop Garden, and The New Low-Maintenance Garden, and I couldn’t wait to revisit. The entrance to the back garden is one of the best garden entrances I’ve ever seen. It’s a combination of concrete steps up to the back garden level with integrated planters, and perhaps the most beautiful garden gate of all time. And tucked just behind the gate you see the tops of banana plants, hinting at something special going on.
Lauren is a garden designer with a clear vision for her own garden — there are sweeps of plants that result in a calm, relaxed feeling, and the space is broken up into different rooms connected by stone & gravel paths. The garden has a tropical feeling despite being planted with hardy plants, and the foliage-focused planting scheme is more about serving the feeling of the garden as opposed to featuring a beloved collection of plants (although I’m sure Lauren loves these plants).
And the entire garden has a feeling of seclusion and privacy because there are tall, screening plants along the perimeter except in a few strategic places where there is open sky available. It also feels clean, modern, and elegant.
There are a couple of seating areas, and a gorgeous water feature that marks the segue between the back garden and the side, and can be enjoyed from the main patio. And the structure of the garden is really well defined throughout — using different hardscaping treatments, plus furniture and modern decorative elements that are both functional and sculptural. There is a beautiful view everywhere you turn, and multiple destinations to keep you exploring the space and that make it feel larger than it actually is.
And in the center of the back garden, adjacent to the house, is a patio with seating that’s defined by the same kind of perimeter post/arbor used as the gate, which provides visual continuity. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good photo of that because it was packed with garden visitors, but you can see a hint of it in the photo below.
There are also great raised containers that flank the back porch and act as a focal point for that entrance. They also allow for a space that can be easily featured with special, annual plants without too much effort.
I also love that the garden is filled with ground covers — one of my favorite ways of keeping a garden lower-maintenance (less weeding) and keeping moisture and nutrients in the soil — there are ground-huggers as well as ferns and grasses. They also help visually tie different areas of the garden together, and work to soften the hardscaping under foot.
This garden is one of my favorites — it’s a wonderful space to be in, and its elegance and overall design are inspirational. Having a peaceful refuge like this at home that doesn’t take up all of your time with upkeep is what many gardeners & homeowners aspire to, and Lauren has knocked it out of the park.