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Every garden is unique to the gardener who created it. When I was in school, and when I taught landscape design, there were a lot of rules for landscaping. However, the best measure of a gardens success, is if it gives the gardener pleasure; and this one has it in spades! One of the things gardeners love to do is tour other peoples gardens. It gives you ideas for your own yard from new plants to try, ways to prune them, design ideas and clever techniques. I had the privilege this week of touring a lovely, small garden full of so many great ideas.

When I arrived at the home in Hillcrest, the front yard was nice but not WOW. Then you walked into the back yard, and oh my! The current homeowner inherited this lovely oasis when she bought the house a couple of years ago, and while she will always be blessed with "good bones" she is tweaking it and making it her own. The centerpiece to the garden are the rock walls, which had to be a labor of love to build.

They create a fabulous background for the plants and define the space. The yard is small, and every inch is utilized in the best ways. There are a lot of trees in the yard, but the majority of them are dwarf varieties that match the space available. It does not feel crowded or over-planted, there is a reason for everything. Some plants which could grow much larger if allowed to, were pruned in unique ways to fit in the garden. A hedge of leucothoe

which can be as wide as tall, was pruned to three or four canes and trained as a standard.

You had to really look at them to know what they were. The Sky Pencil hollies which I think often look like telephone poles in a standard garden, work beautifully here.

There was a lovely patio with outside seating and a gas fire pit. Windows on the back of the house look out into this wonderland, and you would never know that there are neighbors close by on all sides--this is truly a secret garden. A back wall created with "treasures" completes the back yard and is a work of art on its own.

Since garages are not standard in Hillcrest and outside storage is hard to find, there were several clever ideas to solve that problem. Entering the backyard was a covered area with pegs spaced every 8-10 inches to hang tools and necessities and keep them protected.

A decorative shed handled more tools.

Getting to tour this gem was a highlight of my week. My pictures don't do it justice. I will have to get my husband or son to do a drone photo shoot. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery--I plan to borrow some ideas from this yard.

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