Stacie Crooks is a Seattle-based backyard designer who has created lovely, ecologically pleasant, low-maintenance gardens all through the Pacific Northwest. She can be a contributing editor for Fantastic Gardening journal and has shared her insights with our readers via 10 characteristic articles and a number of other departments over the previous 17 years. On this episode, Carol interviews Stacie concerning the classes that she has gained from her years of backyard design expertise. 

Stacie Crooks’s Backyard Design Guidelines of Thumb

1. Determine your challenge.

Ask your self “What do I need to obtain?” and “Why do I need to do that?” Having a transparent aim in mind- be it decrease upkeep, higher curb enchantment, or extra wildlife within the garden- will enable you to make the proper design, fashion, and plant decisions.

2. Know your web site.

Earlier than you can also make any adjustments, it’s worthwhile to know your limitations. Decide the backyard’s mild publicity and angles, soil varieties, drainage, topography, and dimension. Think about irrigation (in the event you want water, the place will it come from?) and entry (how will you get into the backyard and transfer via it?) Bearing all this in thoughts, set a price range.

3. Get impressed.

Along with your objectives and pointers clear, It’s time for a strong plan. Individuals all the time ask, “The place do I begin?” Interact in actions that foster studying and friendships. Learn books and magazines and go to lectures. Be a part of a backyard membership. Volunteer at a public backyard. Look within the newspapers and on the web for alternatives. Take notes, make lists and make sketches. Take photographs of gardens you go to and duplicate them.

4. No zone denial.

While you go to purchase your crops at your native nursery, learn the tags rigorously. Select solely that which is suited to your web site and to your way of life. If it isn’t clear, ask a nursery particular person. Make certain that the quantity of care that plant wants match the time and power you may afford.

5. End one backyard earlier than you begin one other.

Resist shopping for crops that aren’t to your present project- they’ll simply die ready so that you can plant them. Follow the record.

6. Be accountable environmentally.

All the time purpose to make use of much less water, much less fertilizer, and no chemical substances. The higher you realize your web site, the simpler it’s to attain success naturally. There’s an significance to NOT gardening, utilizing fewer assets and fewer labor and simply having fun with your house extra.


Front cover of Fine Gardening December 2023 issue
The entrance cowl of Fantastic Gardening’s December 2023 subject that includes a photograph from Stacie’s article, “So Lengthy, Garden”. Photograph: 
backyard fence completely hidden by long garden border
By repeating hues and generously filling the house with stalwart crops, Stacie has made the fence in her again yard disappear. Photograph:
close up of densely planted garden bed with color and texture interest
In Stacie’s designs, dependable perennials that require little care are sometimes used to supply pleasing pockets of colour and texture. Photograph:
garden border with lots of evergreen plants
Daring colours and types take middle stage in Stacie’s again backyard. Photograph: 

05 Agave planted in gravel 

Silver Surfer agave
‘Silver Surfer’ agave thrives in Seattle’s temperate local weather. Photograph:
close up of plant combination in garden designer's home garden
One other gorgeous plant combo from Stacie’s residence backyard. Photograph:
concrete path and steps leading to house
A path that’s a minimum of 5 ft broad permits two individuals to stroll aspect by aspect. Photograph: 
garden hose in a pot
Coiling a hose inside an empty planter is a pretty resolution for conserving a hose useful however out of sight. Photograph: courtesy of Stacie Crooks
lawn replaced with low-maintenance and hardscaping
This garden alternative challenge options low-maintenance crops and hardscaping that may accommodate a wheelchair or walker. Photograph:
garden patio in backyard
Outside residing areas have skilled a surge in recognition in recent times. Photograph:
garden bed with cool colored flowers
A palette of crops tailored to Seatte’s dry summers and gentle, wet winters mix superbly on this low-maintenance panorama. Photograph: 
lawnless front yard
A seating are within the middle of this backyard mattress feels set aside from the world, however in actuality it’s simply steps away from the house’s entrance entrance. Photograph:

Extra from Stacie Crooks:

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