This excerpt from “The Garden Bible: Designing your perfect outdoor space,” by Barbara Ballinger and Michael Glassman has been reprinted with permission.

Transforming outdoor spaces is one of the hottest home trends today. Landscaping expands living space square footage, makes a property more usable, and keeps homeowners healthier whether they grow vegetables or swim laps. It also makes a neighborhood more aesthetically attractive and community-minded.

LEFT: Before — Back door to the house with driveway to the garage court. RIGHT: Before — View of the garage court.
After — A seating area beyond the back door reached by a gravel pathway. The little patio was constructed with bluestone rectangles fringed with dwarf acorus, a groundcover.
TOP LEFT: The small outdoor kitchen, seen from the back porch. TOP CENTER: An urn found by the homeowner works as a focal point because of its size and scale, surrounded by lettuces and blue and yellow pansies. TOP RIGHT: An overview of the garden in early spring; small river rock was used to pave the area because of its color, which matches the brick mortar, and was locally available. ABOVE: To protect the plantings from rabbits, Jeff enclosed the garden with a 3.5-feet-tall (1.07-meter-tall) brick wall, which matches the brick of the house and was finished with a historic-style cap.

“The Garden Bible” aims to help homeowners understand the challenges of their outdoor spaces and what they need to do to create their garden and make it thrive. It could also serve as inspiration for independent garden centers that offer landscape design and installation for customers. This book takes homeowners through the entire process from the beginning: how to ask a professional the right questions, how to develop a budget, and how to identify and troubleshoot the challenges of their yard — drainage, erosion, privacy, noise, wind, too much or too little sun or shade. We selected this excerpt specifically because the couple profiled in this chapter described challenges and goals that many of your customers may share, including filling a hole left after a tree unexpectedly fell, improving drainage, and creating an outdoor space to better socialize in, with beautiful plants and a weather-proof grill.

During much of the 20th century, William Roy Wallace played an important role in architectural design throughout Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Many of his Beaux Arts–inspired designs are still visible today. When a now-retired couple was ready to work on the rear garden of their property at Wallace’s well-known Meade Willis house, they retained landscape architect Jeff Allen, also a Winston-Salem resident. Sensitive to the home’s history, they wanted to respect the 1940s architectural integrity and instructed Jeff to ensure that the gardens reflect its classical style. During his research for this project, Jeff found inspiration from prominent landscape designer Ellen Biddle Shipman, whose workmanship is on view at the famed Bayou Bend Gardens (Houston, Texas), Longue Vue Gardens (New Orleans, Louisiana), and Duke University’s Sarah P. Duke Gardens (Durham, North Carolina), to name a few of her projects. For the couple, the immediate challenge was filling a large hole that was created when an oak tree fell abruptly by their back porch. But they didn’t stop there, and gave Jeff a long list of additional requests — common in design work indoors and outdoors. As long as they were doing some work, why not also now introduce gardens to grow food and flowers in a walled space that animals couldn’t enter, a grilling station, a modest-sized terrace for alfresco dining and socializing, a garage court, garden paths, a rear entry porch, and improved drainage. Jeff designed all into the master plan and work began.

More information about William Roy Wallace’s architecture is available from the North Carolina State University Libraries, which acquired his papers.