I’ve read dozens of encyclopedia-sized books, scoured the web day and night and logged six years of trial and (mostly) error—so you don’t have to!
Do you picture yourself sitting outside surrounded by gorgeous blooms… but, no matter how many plants you add to your garden, it ends up feeling like a blobby mess?
If that’s the case, the missing puzzle piece is most likely landscape layering. I know it was for me! I also know that a lush, abundant garden of your dreams IS possible when you understand how to layer plants.
And, no. This eBook is not just a bunch of pretty pictures. In the 110 pages of this easy-to-follow guide, I’ll share with you my formulas and expert tips for creating lush layers of plants that both stand out and work together for a dynamic and inviting landscape that’s “uniquely you.”
My goal was to make this eBook both comprehensive AND doable, so it’s the only garden design book you’ll ever need to read.
- Get a crash-course in gardening basics so your plants will survive and thrive.
- Improve your design with garden styles & theme ideas to make your space “uniquely you.”
- Discover the key to amazing garden color schemes & borrow the examples for your own garden.
- Achieve that luscious, layered look by learning how to use the layers of my Planting Pyramid.
- Get tips & tricks guides and plant lists to make the entire process easy peasy.
- Master your mixed border with an 8-step illustrated guide and mastery checklist.
- Snag the pro list of plant research resources that make choosing the RIGHT plants simple & fun!
If you love flowers and nature, landscape gardening can be an incredibly exciting and rewarding hobby. But, the majority of us are in the dark about how to make a landscape come together.
Trust me… it’s not your fault!
It seems all that gardening magazines and websites have to offer are lists of beautiful plants. Longgggg lists. Of beautiful, singular plants. Plants that typically:
- are too fragile to survive in the conditions where you live
- bloom for a short week before they drop all their leaves for the year
- are impossible to find at your local nursery
The truth is that most articles offer very little help to weekend hobby gardeners. Even when you end up finding an easy-to-grow plant that works — where do you put it? What do you put under it? Around it? Behind it? In front of it (if that’s even a thing)????
Why is it that no one explains exactly how to design a pretty landscape? One that blooms all year rather than for a week? One that never ends up looking empty, desolate… amateurish!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve walked through your neighborhood pointing out the beautifully designed landscapes thinking… “I wish I had the money to hire a professional landscaper, too.”
Why do we think, that without a professional, our gardening efforts will never pay off? Why do we accept that our curb appeal will forever remain a barren, lifeless mess of dirt and weeds?
We do accept it.
We let out a deep, regretful sigh, hopelessly throw up our arms and say, “I guess I just don’t have a green thumb.”
But that’s totally NOT true. There’s no magic thumb color that makes you good or bad at landscape gardening. Your landscape can be beautiful, colorful and lively all year round. You don’t need a professional, a “green thumb” or a magic wand to make it happen. All you need is a plan.
I struggled with “landscape envy” for a long time. I’ve read so many books. Big, encyclopedia sized landscaping books for professionals while taking vigorous notes in the margins. I’ve talked to arborists, buildings and grounds crews and unsuspecting neighbors about landscape gardening. And with this info, I’ve poured all I know into this clear and easy-to-follow eBook, Designing Landscape Layers.
“Really helpful! Easy to understand and put into practice. So glad I read this before starting to run amuck with confusion, indecision and exorbitance. There is an area on my property that is a disaster, but thanks to some really good tech and tips now I know how I can handle it harmoniously. Thanks!”Karen Evans, Gendale CA (Zone 9)
“When I lived in Minnesota, I was an active member of the Winona County Master Gardeners so I am not having trouble following what you have to say and find it all quite brilliant. Now I just need to run over to Menards and get a green colored notebook to put it all in.”-Terry
“I love this e-book. I appreciated all the tips, tricks, design ideas and other thorough information it covers. We have heavy clay and lots of rocks which makes gardening hard work, so I especially loved the information on raised beds without digging.”-Leesa, Tasmania, Australia (Zone 9)
“I enjoyed ur download. I have been playing in the dirt since 2010. I love all seasons. We just moved and our home has basically no landscaping. Hubby and I have a foundation plan now I just need to add the finishing touches and ur info will help.”-Siobahn
Table of Contents
Here are all of the topics covered in the eBook (with page numbers)
- Designing Your Dream Landscape 5
- What We’ll Cover 6
- Gardening Basics 7
- Your Hardiness Zone 7
- Right Plant, Right Place 9
- Identify Plants Just by Looking at Them 10
- What Latin Names Tell You About Plants 11
- Prep Your Layered Garden Beds 12
- Gardening Tools 14
- Planting Your First Plant 15
- When to Plant a Plant 16
- Planning Your Layered Landscape 18
- What is Landscape Layering? 18
- Garden Styles 20
- Traditional Garden Style 20
- Elements of Traditional Gardens 21
- Plants for Traditional Gardens 22
- Modern/Contemporary Garden Style 22
- Elements of Modern/Contemporary Gardens 23
- Plants For Modern/Contemporary Gardens 24
- Cottage Garden Style 25
- Elements of Cottage Gardens 26
- Plants For Cottage Gardens 27
- Natural Garden Style 28
- Elements of Natural Gardens 29
- Plants For Natural Gardens 30
- Mixing Garden Styles 30
- Garden Themes 31
- Why Choose a Theme? 31
- Color Schemes 32
- Colors & Their Meanings 32
- Relaxing & Calm Colors 34
- Vibrant & Energizing Colors 34
- Add Excitement To Your Color Scheme 35
- Define Your Garden Style, Theme & Color Scheme 37
- Plant Research 38
- Identify Plants in the Wild (Phone Apps) 39
- Research Plants For Your Garden (Online Plant Databases) 40
- Specialty Research Resources 40
- Landscape Layering: Step-By-Step 42
- Layers of the Planting Pyramid 45
- Layer 1: Ornamental Trees 48
- Tips for Choosing Trees 49
- Small Ornamental Trees for Mixed Borders 50
- Layer 2: Evergreen Shrubs 51
- Beautiful Backdrop, Essential Backbone 52
- Backdrops Don’t Have To Be Boring 53
- Evergreens Create “Living” Structure 54
- Using Evergreens in a Mixed Border 55
- Tips for Choosing Evergreen Shrubs 55
- Evergreen Shrubs For Mixed Borders 56
- Layer 3: Deciduous Shrubs 57
- Tips for Choosing Deciduous Shrubs 60
- Deciduous Shrubs with Multi-Season Interest 61
- Layer 4: Perennial Plants, Flowers & Grasses 63
- Tips for Choosing Perennials 65
- Perennial Plants & Flowers For Mixed Borders 66
- Ornamental Grasses For Mixed Borders 66
- Layer 5: Vines & Groundcovers 67
- Tips for Choosing Vines & Groundcovers 69
- Vines for Mixed Borders 70
- Groundcovers for Mixed Borders 70
- Design Principles For Layered Landscapes 72
- Structure: The Bones of Your Garden 72
- Lack of Structure & What To Do About It 72
- Structure Homework 74
- Structure Exercise Example 75
- Repetition 76
- Scale 82
- Balance 82
- Unity & Flow 84
- Layering Tips and Tricks 88
- Use Personal Items To Inspire Colors For Your Outdoor Space 88
- Strive For Multi-Season Interest 88
- Vary the Shape, Size & Heights of Plants 89
- Hide Views 91
- Incorporate Focal Points 92
- Lay Out Your Design 94
- How to Arrange Plants in Garden Beds 94
- How To Make Plant Combinations 96
- Bloom Sequencing 96
- Why Bloom Sequencing is Difficult to Achieve in the Home Landscape 97
- Bloom Sequencing Tips 97
- Color Combinations 97
- Take cues from your clothes and your home décor. 98
- Decide on the energy of your garden. 98
- Choose one color at first. 100
- Hone your garden over time. 100
- Texture 101
- Layering Tips For Beautiful Borders 103
- Master the Mixed Border Checklist 104
- What’s Next? 105
- About the Author 106
- Disclaimer 107
- References 108
- More Garden Design Goodness 109
- Beginner Level 109
- Intermediate & Advanced Level 109
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer support with this eBook?
No, like a typical book, there is no support from the author when you purchase. But, you can enroll in one of my online garden design courses if you need such support. My signature course, Design Your 4-Sesaon Garden comes with email support and a private Facebook group where you can interact with myself and my students. You can read more about it here.
I live in Zone X. Will this eBook be relevant to me?
Yes, absolutely. This eBook is filled with garden design principles that are not tethered to any location or climate. You won’t be told what to plant… you’ll learn how to confidently choose your own plants.
All your gardening zone reveals is the average annual minimum winter temperature where you live. This information is provided on the plant tag so you know if it’s too cold or too warm to grow it where you live. While it’s important information to know, it’s not garden design.
Will you design my landscape for me?
No, this is not a service I offer. If you do need help with landscape design, you’d be better served by a local landscape design professional who can visit your property and is familiar with the plants and conditions of your region. If you want to DIY your landscape, this eBook is a great starting point. Or you can check out my online courses. They’re great for more visual learners.
I don’t even know what I want my yard to look like yet. Will this help me?
There is a section in this eBook about garden styles which will help.
I also have a Create a Garden Mood Board Workshop that is a great first step if this is the stage where you are. This workshop walks you through a system to clearly define your personal style and how you can translate that to your garden. By the end, you’ll have the colors, materials, focal points, plants and style of your garden visually represented on one single page. It’s a super helpful exercise to go through when you’re feeling stuck and/or can’t make sense of all of your ideas.
Do you have any other eBooks?
Yes, check out the Shop page to see some of my other eBooks, guides and printable templates.
What if I’m unhappy with the eBook. Do you offer refunds?
No. Due to the nature of digital products, I do not offer refunds on digital products.
When you purchase an eBook, what you’re paying for is the transfer of years of knowledge and experience from my brain into yours. After that knowledge is transferred, I can’t “un-transfer” it. When you support an individual creator (or a very small business), you cannot expect the same refund policies as you’d receive at your local Walmart. And unfortunately, there ARE people who will buy a product, download it, read it, use it (and really enjoy it), then ask for a refund anyway.
However, if you are truly unhappy with your purchase, you can still email [email protected] to discuss. I am a very reasonable person and would never want to cause such anguish over a simple eBook.
I have a question that you haven’t answered…
You can send an email to [email protected] and myself or my team will get back to you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m Amy and I teach garden lovers how to design impressively beautiful landscapes that are colorful in all four seasons, show off your personality and suit your lifestyle.
I have a diploma in Garden Design and Maintenance and I am also a professional graphic designer and (obviously) a garden lover. I’ve been teaching garden design for nearly a decade and have been featured by lots of websites, publications and podcasts like The Spruce, HomeTalk, Country Living Magazine, The Family Handyman, BuzzFeed, Easy Living Yards and more!In addition, I teach online garden design courses that are geared specifically towards home owners.
Questions or comments? You can reach me directly via email at [email protected].