Discover Your Garden Personality to Create Your Perfect Outdoor Space

Garden Design for Everyone

People that are just starting out and have an idea of what their dream garden or their outdoor space might look like and aren't really sure where to start. It can be really confusing and intimidating.

Which Garden Personality Are You?

Categorizing the personality types of gardeners is one of the most appealing and clever concepts that McEnaney focuses on in his book. Martha, he explains, is the classic gardener. Then there's Tommy the modernist, and Kelly the naturalist. He then goes deep into each personality, describing each aesthetic and offering ideas on how to execute them.

For the Martha personality, they are the ones who are drawn to classic cottage gardens, relying on a mix of annuals, perennials, edibles, and shrubs. Think hydrangeas in deco pots and blooming bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and snowdrops everywhere. They are definitely the kind of gardeners to have an edible garden, or at least edibles mixed into the landscape, like using strawberries as a groundcover.

Tommy is more focused on clean lines with a little less plant material. This type of gardener does not gear towards dense planting, but rather uses plants as an extension of architecture. They would also use tulips, but the colors would be less bright, perhaps using blood red and white tulips instead of an eclectic mix. Tommy would use sheared boxwood hedges to create a clean, precise look.

As for Kelly, they are all about dense, textured, and colorful plantings. These gardeners use native plants to “bring that prairie to life at home” and replace turf grass lawns with pollinator gardens. Kelly’s garden puts on an especially stunning show in summer and fall, using plants like Joe Pye weed, oakleaf hydrangea, and black-eyed Susan to create lush texture throughout the seasons.

Style Inspiration

When researching for the book, McEnaney says that he was inspired by ideas from well-known horticulturists such as Michael Dirr, Kelly Norris, and Piet Oudolf, who focus heavily on the ecology and phenology of individual plants. He also takes inspiration from fashion and art to conceptualize and execute his landscaping ideas. For instance, seeing actor Dan Levy wearing a kilt suit made him realize he likes boldness in design. When talking about inspiration, McEnaney encourages readers to think outside the box and pull from personal taste in order to start planning their landscape.

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