Heather Lenkin spent many years as an award-winning landscape designer and president of Lenkin Design. She is now working as an international cultural and historic preservationist. However, many of her landscape architectural design tips she shared with me a few years ago are still very relevant today.
Here is a spotlight video we did with her, featuring some of her timeless insights on gardening and landscape design:
An Extension of the Home’s Architecture
Heather always viewed the gardens and landscaping of a home as an extension of the house itself. Landscaping provides visual enhancement and can set a desired tone from the outside before you even step inside the structure. Therefore, Heather would always study the house itself to design a garden that complemented the architecture, colors and moods.
“The architecture of the house is inherently and imperatively important when designing the garden,” Heather says.
Colors and Scents
Heather believes that the right plants cannot only create a sense of privacy in the garden, but they can impact the color palette of the home. The wrong plants and colors can actually be distracting. Everything should flow together naturally and enhance the architectural spirit of the property. Scent is also important to creating the right atmosphere. The colors and scents should feel like a natural part of the home.
“When I go to work on a garden, I think of a color scheme or I’ll think of a scent,” Heather adds.
Finding the Right Balance
Landscaping should be practical and manageable if you want to keep it maintained and looking pretty. At the same time, you want to use your imagination and creativity to create an outdoor space that is inviting and memorable. Finding this balance between practicality and enchantment is often the biggest challenge with any landscaping design or gardening project. Every house is unique. Every homeowner has different styles and tastes. There is no one perfect garden for everyone, and that’s what’s so exciting about designing a garden, patio, pool area or any outdoor space.
Lastly, the visual appeal of a garden should take advantage of natural views and highlight the best angles of the home. “You want to be able to create and frame views,” Heather says. “What is it that you can create that would be really visually beautiful for someone to enjoy?”
I miss working with Heather on landscaping architecture design projects for many of my clients, but I am so glad to hear she is continuing to pursue her passion for preservation. She is a true visionary and I’ll never forget some of the great landscaping and gardening advice she has given me throughout the years!