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Your Home: Garden Makeovers

Garden Make-under

Forget what you think outdoor spaces should look like. Landscape designer Wendy Harrington says less is more

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Regina Cole
April 6, 2008

TRADITIONAL ENGLISH GARDENS ARE beautiful, says Wendy Harrington, a landscape designer in Lincoln. But they're not her style. Rather than long perennial borders spilling over with flowers, she prefers clean, modern designs, featuring more hardscape than hibiscus and emphasizing substance, not size. Editing, she says, is one of her strengths: "Sometimes I have to help people to see that they can't have every single plant they love and still have a design."

Harrington, 40, takes her cues from interior designers she admires, believing that the outdoors should be as spare and uncluttered as the indoors, especially since many of us are too busy to keep up with weeding and deadheading. The last place we should feel stress is in the garden.

With simplicity in mind, we asked new mom Harrington to shop for her favorite garden accessories, and we went along for the ride.

1. EGG BIRD FEEDER "When I was growing up, my mother complained that my father spent more on birdseed than we did on food for the family, but his obsession created a garden full of movement and life," Wendy Harrington says. "This feeder comes in a wide range of colors. Try hanging two different shades in the same tree." $158, Design Within Reach, 1030 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-576-3690, dwr.com

2. BAMBOO FENCER GOOD NEIGHBOR FENCE "This roll-out bamboo fencing can hide ugly chain-link or stand on its own. It's locally made, maintenance-free, and of very high quality." $198 for a 6-feet-high-by-8-feet-long section, Didriks, 190 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, 617-354-5700, didriks.com

3. ATRIO FIRE BASKET "Nothing brings children and adults together outdoors like a fire, especially in the fall." $735, Lekker Home, 1317 Washington Street, Boston, 617-542-6464

4. SOIL MOISTURE METER "It can be difficult to figure out how much water is enough for a new planting. I love this tool! It's saved many trees and shrubs from death by over- or underwatering." 24-inch probe, $84.99, at amleo.com

5. MYKONOS HURRICANE LAMP "Creating an inviting nighttime garden is a key motivation to actually using the space." Harrington tells of ancient Persian royalty who had lighted candles placed on the backs of thousands of turtles during parties: "Slow-moving little lights creeping everywhere – it must have been incredible!" $29 to $129, Restoration Hardware, restorationhardware.com

6. DOMANI RED RESIN BOWL "Even in small gardens, large planters make a big impact. Less pricey options can be found at IKEA, Home Depot, and Lowe's – but go big." 39-inch diameter, $3,000, Winston Flowers & Garden, Route 9 and Florence Street, Newton, 617-244-7873, winstonflowers.com

(Photo by Joel Benjamin)

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