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10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Instagram

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10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Instagram

March 5, 2018

Remember when gardens were outdoors instead of on Instagram? Maybe we can compromise. I spent a couple of hours on the sofa flipping through photos (#itsajob), the modern way to travel around the world to look at beautiful gardens and houseplant collections, and came up with a bunch of ideas we should be stealing for own gardens. This means getting off the couch, of course, but I feel like I can do it if I take my phone along in case of emergency photo op.

Here are 10 ideas for indoor and outdoor gardens to steal from Instagram—for planting, repotting, painting, and putting pretty branches on the mantel.

Glossy Greenery

From the always inspiring @haarkon, (\199,000 followers is not an accident) comes this advice: Pick houseplants with foliage that complements the colors in nearby fabrics.
Above: From the always inspiring @haarkon, (199,000 followers is not an accident) comes this advice: Pick houseplants with foliage that complements the colors in nearby fabrics.

You can create a romantic tropical jungle in a corner, like this one in the Sheffield, England, hair salon of @kojoandlee_hair, by grouping houseplants with glossy, shiny foliage and different leaf shapes to play off each other. Suggested: bird-of-paradise, monstera, and to create a focal point, an attention hog with variegated leaves such as the Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’, shown at right; a starter plant in a four-inch pot is $17 from Plant Lust.

Perennials in Pots

Flowering Saxifraga and coral bells, potted by @mettekrull. Our UK contributor Kendra Wilson discovered Denmark-based photographer Mette Krull on Instagram; see more of her garden at Garden Visit: Mette Krull&#8\2\17;s Danish Greenhouse.
Above: Flowering Saxifraga and coral bells, potted by @mettekrull. Our UK contributor Kendra Wilson discovered Denmark-based photographer Mette Krull on Instagram; see more of her garden at Garden Visit: Mette Krull’s Danish Greenhouse.

For some reason, tropical plants are most likely to be treated as houseplant. But let us not overlook flowering perennials. In a garden bed you may need to mass them to make a statement. But coral bells blooming in a container is unexpected and eye-catching. Plant it in the garden, transplant to a pot when it blooms, and then—back outdoors until next year.

Trying to choose a flowering perennials to bring indoors? See our curated guide to Perennials 101 or choose a Heuchera cultivar with help from Coral Bells: A Field Guide.

Black Facades

 The Soot House in Maine, which sculptor turned builder Anthony Esteves built from scratch, is painted with a Japanese-style fermented paint that Esteves makes out of soot as well as water and persimmon. “It absorbs into the wood like a stain and creates a solid color in one coat,” he says. Photograph by Greta Rybus (@gretarybus).
Above: The Soot House in Maine, which sculptor turned builder Anthony Esteves built from scratch, is painted with a Japanese-style fermented paint that Esteves makes out of soot as well as water and persimmon. “It absorbs into the wood like a stain and creates a solid color in one coat,” he says. Photograph by Greta Rybus (@gretarybus).

We featured the Soot House a few months back; see more at Curb Appeal: A Classic New England Color Palette on Spruce Head in Maine.

Winter Flowers

Garden designer Miranda Brooks&#8\2\17;s winter-flowering branches evoke spring on her Brooklyn mantel. See more at @miranda.brooks.
Above: Garden designer Miranda Brooks’s winter-flowering branches evoke spring on her Brooklyn mantel. See more at @miranda.brooks.

Feathery witch hazel branches flower in late winter, when you need them most. See more at Witch Hazel: A Field Guide and find planting and design tips for more of our favorite winter-flowering shrubs at Viburnum: A Field Guide and Mahonia: A Field Guide.

Foraged Florals

Foraged branches from nettle tree are transformed into a voluptuous floral arrangement by LA-based florist Sophia Moreno-Bunge of Isa Isa Floral. Photograph via @wafflesoph.
Above: Foraged branches from nettle tree are transformed into a voluptuous floral arrangement by LA-based florist Sophia Moreno-Bunge of Isa Isa Floral. Photograph via @wafflesoph.

See more of florist Sophia Moreno-Bunge’s adventures in Florist in Residence: My Two Months at Villa Lena In Tuscany. Foraged flowers can have the benefit of looking simultaneously wild and tamed in a vase.

Tropical Backdrops

Above: A magical tropical landscape for Palihouse in Los Angeles, created by landscape architects Terremoto.LA (photograph via @Terremoto_LA).

Oversize foliage, ferns, and fronds are a dramatic foil for a tailored, controlled landscape. If you live in a warm climate, see our design guides for Tropical Plants 101, including Palms, Tree Ferns, or Proteas.

No-Mow Lawns

Above: A UK-based garden designer visits Dallas and discovers a soft-textured Carex grass that “doesn’t need much water and doesn’t need to be cut.” See more at @lucianogiubbileigardens.

For alternatives to turf grass, see Fields of Green: 5 Favorite Lawn Substitutes and Hardscaping 101: Ground Covers to Plant Between Pavers.

Smudged Outlines

Branches of smoke bush create a hazy, cloudy atmosphere in a floral arrangement by Tokyo-based florist Iki Yukari at the Little Shop of Flowers. See more of her arrangements at @thelittleshopofflowers.
Above: Branches of smoke bush create a hazy, cloudy atmosphere in a floral arrangement by Tokyo-based florist Iki Yukari at the Little Shop of Flowers. See more of her arrangements at @thelittleshopofflowers.

See more of her work at Shopper’s Diary: The Little Shop of Flowers in Tokyo and be inspired by the possibilities of flowering smoke bush to create a soft, textural cloud in a garden. See tips for growing the shrub and integrating it into a garden design at Smoke Bush: A Field Guide.

Layered Color

Foliage can create colorful layers in a landscape, as evidenced by the Japanese maples in this Tokyo garden, captured by designers @roman_and_williams_.
Above: Foliage can create colorful layers in a landscape, as evidenced by the Japanese maples in this Tokyo garden, captured by designers @roman_and_williams_.

See more of the design duo’s work at The Guild: A Glamorous New Emporium in SoHo from Roman & Williams on Remodelista.

For tips on how to take a multilayer approach to adding color in a landscape, see Alexa’s post on 10 Garden Ideas to Steal from the Dutch Masters.

Secret Spots

Above: We’ve long been admirers of Maria Dremo Sundström’s own garden in Sweden and her discoveries on @mariapaalmbacken. Here is a greenhouse in Tvååker, Sweden, where owner Viktora Johansson and her partner, Marie Emilsson, offer workshops and tours via their Trip2Garden site.

Vines, climbers, and a shady corner in the shelter of a tree is a good location for a secluded shed, greenhouse, or other outbuilding. Creating a distant destination will make even the smallest garden feel spacious. Explore more of Maria’s garden at Garden Visit: At Home with Maria Dremo Sundström in Sweden.

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