Category Archives: Greensboro Water Fountains

Landscaping Front Foundation Doors and EntrywayGardens

Can you see your front door from the road is the first question. Hopefully the answer is yes. If it isn’t, like in the photo below, we have some work to do in order to create much needed curb appeal.

I would be fearful walking this path to the front door. The landscape is dated and overgrown. Wax myrtle plants should never be installed beside a walkway, unless maintained properly.

Your front foundation entryway garden needs to be:

  • Low in height
  • More colorful than other parts of the landscape (add annuals)
  • Free of thorns
  • Will not overtake the walkway
  • Evergreen (needs to look great year round)

Here is a wonderful entryway planting accented by outdoor pots flanking the door, along with statues. They have also added a pop of color with seasonal annuals. Some may view as a pain to install annuals every year, however they are the only plants blooming throughout the entire growing season. If only planting annuals in one spot, install close to your front door entryway. Visitors will feel welcome.

It is so important to know how large a shrub will mature before installing by your entryway. These 2 pieris plants below need to be removed and replaced with a more suitable plant like Steed’s Holly, Dwarf Alberta Spruce or Otto Luyken Laurels.

Here is an attempt to add interest by installing an outdoor water feature. There are so many things wrong with this one, I will leave it alone for now. If you desire to place a water feature at your front foundation entryway, be sure it:

  • Compliments the color of your house
  • Is blended into the surrounding landscape with plants
  • Electricity is run below walkway
  • Illuminated in the evening hours
  • Size proportionate to the home and walkway
  • Water feature style compliments style of home
  • Is in working order

Below is a lovely front foundation entryway garden. It is clean and crisp. You know where the front door is located being highlighted by 2 Dwarf Alberta Spruce. This home has curb appeal all year round and is very low maintenance.

I hope these suggestions offer ideas to freshen up your front foundation doors and entryway gardens.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation


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Reseeding Plant Material for Transplanting

I was very happy to see 5 Goldenrain trees sprouting up from where one was removed because of bad health. I now have 5 healthy trees to transplant to other areas of my garden. This tree is one of a kind in bloom.

Crape myrtle trees are another plant dropping seeds to sprout others to transplant.

There are several plants that will come back year after year, saving homeowners a little cash. Greensboro, NC temperatures are mild enough for the seeds to set root again and again for us to enjoy gorgeous plants without having to purchase repeatedly.

For 3 years, pink periwinkle annuals have returned in abundance.

White periwinkle annuals has also returned for a second season of spectacular blooms.

Another favorite annual, although a vine, is black-eyed susan vine.

I just let is ramble on the ground and find it’s way to the wrought iron fencing.

This is a summer and fall bloomer and works great for those autumn garden parties.

If you would like to try another reseeding vine, plant perennial sweetpea.

They make a great flower bouquet for a small vase. They also have a sweet scent.

This is the second bloom period for my perennial sweetpea vine. Many seedlings have been given away for others to enjoy. The colors are soft pinks, purple and white. Even the stiff stems create interesting centerpieces for your tables.

AHHHH BASIL. Very much welcome in my garden.

It came up again and this herb is used almost daily in this home. 25% of the genes here are from Italy.

Don’t think you need a separate herb garden for your culinary plants. My basil, tomatoes and rosemary plants are incorporated directly into my landscape.

Either leave your surprises where they begin to grow or transplant the little pretty’s to other parts of your gardens in the late fall, when plant material is going dormant.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation


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Recycled Cedar Trees for Simple Pergolas

A pergola built from cedar trees cut down from a construction site was my first attempt at the art. I thought how wonderful it would be to use materials that were going to be discarded to create something beautiful and functional.

This pergola was not intended to walk under because of it’s shorter height to roughly 6 feet. A bench was placed under the pergola providing a beautiful backdrop for the pond, some shade and a structure to guide a climbing rose. This rustic pergola is the perfect match for a landscape in a natural setting.

Obviously this wood is not pressure treated (which is recommended for outdoor pergolas) but has been standing strong for 8 years. This turned out to be the pergola prototype for another on our property.

I love the top vertical pieces because they serve to weave vines in and out looking fantastic. This rustic cedar pergola has a beautiful climbing rose covered in flowers around Mothers Day.

The lower portion also has interesting vertical pieces for lower growing plants to lean against.

Decorating your recycled pergola is the fun part. Just nail in your favorite garden ornaments to add personality.

Low level lights are also a nice touch to illuminate your pergolas during the evening hours.

So if you notice a site being demolished for new construction just ask if you can cut down a few cedar trees for your rustic pergola. not only are these pergolas a great addition for yourself, the birds love them too. Our feathered friends land on top to scope out landscapes and remove the bark to use as building material for their nests. Bird houses can adorn the top of your posts for homes.

Have fun with the design and construction of your recycled cedar pergolas and send me the pictures to post.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation


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Blooming Russian Sage for Summer Cottage Gardens

Russian Sage has many wonderful properties appealing to those with not such a green thumb.

This deciduous perennial is drought tolerate and performs great in average soil providing weeks of airy purple blooms in the summer months.

Russian Sage or the botanical name-Perovskia atriplicifolia is not for formal gardens, mailbox plantings or alongside walkways. This perennial is a leaner with free flowing stems that tend to fall to the ground if not staked properly. The bees absolutely love this plant, so make sure you install it towards the back of a perennial border where the stakes can be hidden ( if you choose to do so) or beside a fence for tying back and far enough away from regular traffic so visitors won’t be stung by our buzzy friends.

Other great characteristics of Russian Sage are that the flowers and foliage can be pressed for crafts and also utilized in dried flower arrangements. If the purple flowers are cut and brought indoors for your centerpieces try adding some rosemary, lavender and wax myrtle foliage for a very aromatic bouquet.

The purple blooms of Russian Sage work well with homes grey in color because both are considered cool colors. Other perennial plants in that same category with cool flowers or foliage are plumbago, silver king artemisia, lavender, purple cone flowers, caryopteris, snow in summer, hella lacy aster, silver princess ajuga, sea lavender, catmint, franz shubert garden phlox, emerald cushion blue creeping phlox, sentimental blue balloon flower, may night salvia, and blue spruce sedum.

By incorporating all cool colored plants a very harmonius and striking display will add drama to your landscape.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation


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Recycled Materials Landscaping Dog Lots and Runs

Not only are recycled materials used in landscaping but also for our 4 legged friends, our dogs.

I love our 3 dogs we purchased from the Guilford County Animal Shelter. I have designed their dog lot with comfort and function in mind by using various leftover stone, brick, wood and roofing material. Nothing but the best for Greta, Monty and Moby.

This is the entrance of their dog lot. It was built within a wooded area to provide shade in the summer and sun in the winter. I had some brick, boulders and stone leftover from some of my landscape projects and decided to create a nice walkway for us and 12 tiny paws. I loved combining different materials for their rustic retreat.

This is dry laid on top of stone screenings. You could use sand also. Just make sure all stone and brick are tamped with a mallet to ensure minimal movement.

This is great because when it’s time to feed them I never have to get my feet wet.

Inside the dog lot or run, is where a little more elbow grease was used. There is a slight slope where stone was used to terrace the entryway for a stone patio. The saying, “Never poop where you eat” doesn’t apply to my dogs. Because of the hard stone surface I can quickly wash away any droppings with a hose. This was also dry laid, however, because of digging some mortar was used in specific places for those favorite excavation spots.

The dog house is very accomodating and spacious. The home was raised off the ground by 4×4 posts and constructed with odd pieces of lumber.

The shingles were leftover from the construction of our home and makes a wonderful protective barrier.

The roof has another function as well, a lookout post. It’s like having their own roof garden. The roof has enough pitch for rain to run off, but not enough so the dogs can enjoy the great outdoors on an elevated surface.

The roof was designed with a slight overhang. This enables me to place their food bowl underneath and provide another lounging area for the dogs. Thick stone was placed around the perimeter where moby loves to lay because of its cool temperature.

The rest of the dog area has a thick layer of stone screenings for easy poop clean up. The finely ground stone material is great for digging as well because there is little mud an we can just rake it back into place.

The water source is a few feet from the dog lot and also designed with recycled stone.

Doesn’t your pets deserve the best.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation



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Shade Gardens for Moonlight Viewing

Wouldn’t it be nice to come home from work and meander to the swing in your shade garden bursting with illuminating white blooms. The color white is highly visible during dust so do not ignore this fantastic plant property. Not only do white flowers brighten up a shady spot, so will the foliage of certain plants with white variegation.

The first favorite is Oakleaf Hydrangea. This beauty is gorgeous throughout the year and spectacular in bloom.

The flower panicles are14 to 18 inches in length and can be dried or hung on pergolas.

Fantastic plant

Oakleaf hydranges make a statement

The Oakleaf Hydrangea should be placed at the back of your bed because most varieties are medium to large in size.

Another plant with white blooms for your shade gardens are Astillbe. Snowdrift, Deutschland, Alba, Avalanche and many others are great for the middle areas of your beds. These beautiful panicle flowers are pyramidal in form and hold up great in flower centerpieces. Expect a wonderful Astillbe display in early summer.

Another plant to feature in the middle portion of your moonlight shade garden is Anemone. Some white varieties are: Honerine Jobert, Alba, and Whirlwind. This is the perfect plant for late summer, early fall flowers. The flower heads sit gracefully on top of long, thin stems that sway in the breeze. The below picture is of Honerine Jobert Anemone.

For the front of the shade bed try Ajuga Alba. This ground hugging plant will provide white flower spikes in mid to late spring. Try over planting white crocus bulbs with Ajuga.

Another for the front of your moonlight garden is Sweet Woodruff. I love the fragrance of this little pretty. If you are invigorated by the smell of freshly mowed hay, this is the plant for you. Dry the foliage for your  drawer sachets. Only 12 inches in heaight bearing white flowers in late spring.

White Daffodils are wonderful for early spring blooms to adorn your tabletops with color and fragrance.

Don’t forget to incorporate a few white annuals too. We do not want to deny your eyes from the continuous display of flowers from April until the first frost like the impatiens below.

Grab a glass of iced tea and relax in a soothing shade garden exploding with white flowers calming your spirit.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation


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Installing Simple Water Fountains in Landscapes

It is very simple to install a water feature small in size. The sun glistens on the moving water creating visuals of dancing diamonds glistening in the sun and the sound is incredibly soothing for the soul.

You can purchase a fountain kit with all of the components or create your own. All you need to create a water fountain is:  a pump, a container for water, an electrical source/cord, a statue or pot for the water to cascade from.

Dig a hole slightly larger than the size of your container and make sure it is level before filling with water. Tamp down with a mallet to ensure it will be level. Then will it with water.

I found cheap labor close by.

Make sure the temperature is just right.

I think he approves.

Then place your fountain piece on a cinder block or other material so it is raised out of the water. Remember, the higher the fountain is from the water, the more the water will disappear from blowing wind. Plug it in and you have an instant water fountain. Birds will love it too.

There are so many different ways to dress up your fountain area. I have inserted a stone on top of the cinder block and around the back side of the angel fountain. This will create more interest and eventually plants will soften the back of the stone. The stone will get very hot in the summer and planting the annual purple gomphrena will do the job. A few pieces of stone left over from another project like a retaining wall or stone patios will suffice.

Evergreen blue spruce and voodoo sedum are planted around the container and will eventually hide the plastic. The foliage color compliments and contrasts with the angel fountain.

Since this is not the focal point and only an accent in my front garden, I have positioned the angel fountain for me to enjoy from my kitchen window.

Have fun with your fountains and try different colored annuals surrounding your water fountain each year.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation


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Free Landscape Consultations for Homeowners

If you are looking for a free landscape consultation, the advice you receive will be worth just that. There is a great deal involved in receiving a great consultation that you may not have thought about.

Landscape Designers must have knowledge of:

  • plant material-cultural requirements, mature growth size, growing habit
  • grading
  • solving drainage problems
  • solving watering issues
  • principals and elements of design, also what interior decorators use (repetition, unity, focal point, color and texture, balance, etc.)
  • constructing walls, pathways, pergolas, fountains, ponds, etc.
  • low-level lighting
  • chemicals for outdoor use
  • proper times to plant, prune, transplant, fertilize, apply pesticide

Some homeowners feel $100 is not worth it. I will tell you why it is. A landscape plan is not always needed, however, it will save you many hard earned dollars if you don’t know what you are doing. I try to help homeowners with the consultation first before having to draw up a plan.

These are some basic service call costs

  • Plumber-$65
  • Computer repair-$75
  • Refrigeration repair-$60

These are just average prices for the service individual to come out and look at your problems.

Let’s look at how Diana Gardner-Williams 1 hour Landscape Consultations work

  • Email or call if interested
  • Diana will email or snail mail 2 pages of questions regarding your landscape. For example, do you have domestic animals not fenced in, sun and shade areas, will you sell your house in the next five years, what time of year do you host annual parties?
  • Return to Diana along with any pictures and schedule an hour long appointment
  • When Diana reviews your answers she then gathers all books and other materials to have at the appointment. Ideas will be generated from the information you have provided before the appointment.
  • Diana will take notes for you at the appointment for you to keep

Consultations can also cover:

These landscape design ideas are referred to as “Intellectual Property” and to many designers, are their livelihood. If you are skeptical about the designer you are calling, ask for references or check their website.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of how my consultation process works.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation


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When & How to Use Mulch in Landscaping

Mulch serves many purposes in landscape designs.

  • It retains the moisture for plant roots
  • It cuts down on weeds
  • It is an affordable way to add curb appeal
  • It can be applied in an artistic manner
  • It adds contrast and texture to plant beds and homes
  • It hides unsightly blooms of spent flowers fallen on the ground
  • It makes it easier to pull weeds
  • It provides a low maintenance solution on slopes
  • It gradually decomposes, creating improved soil structure for plants
  • Some will deter insects and pests
  • Mulch is an affordable solution to a naturalistic walking path

I like to apply fresh mulch in the month of June. This is the time when the daffodil foliage and flowers of azaleas, gardenia and other spring blooming shrubs have ended. Simply take your water hose on full blast and spray spent flowers so they fall to the ground. This “Kleims Hardy” Gardenia has finished blooming.

A water hose has cleaned the plant and looks beautiful again.

A fresh application of mulch will hide all of the brown flowers that you have sprayed off.

Mulch can also be applied in an artistic manner. Especially if your plant bed is on the large side, having one mulch can look mundane. In my son’s memory garden, pine needles and dark hardwood mulch was applied to create contrast and interest.

Pine needles in the back and hardwood toward the front.

So many ways to use mulch!! Hardwood mulch was used to delineate a walking path under the pergola with the majority of the plant bed mulched with pine needles.

If you have natural areas that contain birdbaths, fountains, benches or other garden art, think about adding a mulched path. Use a contrasting mulch from the one used on the majority of the plant bed.

Selling your home and can’t get the grass to growin certain spots? Just get out the round up and turn those areas into plant beds.

Please save the brightly red colored mulch for theme parks and museums.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation


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Unique Pergolas in Landscape Designs

Oh how I love pergolas and all of the different materials we can use to build them. This particular pergola serves as the entryway into one of my son’s memory gardens. Let’s look at all the different materials one can use in its construction.

Materials used in this pergola are:

  • Pressure treated wood
  • Salvaged brick of various colors and styles
  • Birdhouse finials
  • Salvaged windows
  • White PVC pipe
  • White outdoor stain (pinto white to be exact)
  • Galvanized wire

This pergola evolved over time as materials were gathered. Don’t feel limited to one material as you create your beautiful outdoor structure.

I loved using the birdhouse finials and they were not intended for any visitors. Foam was sprayed into them to deter wasps and other insects from building a nest. Birds were also detered because they were purchased for 4 dollars a piece and are not structurally sound for nests. Well that didn’t work. This spring, foam was dispersed around our property as determined birds pecked away at it making room for their nests. We did have baby birds last week and I suppose the family was very happy with their accomodations.

Salvaged windows were hung providing more interest and support for the climbing rose and grape vine. You can find these treatures at your local antique shops, salvage or thrift stores.

My father is a plumber and I asked him how we could incorporate white pvc pipe into its design.

We did so at the top. The pvc was cut and inserted vertically along the horizontal 2×4’s and secured with the proper fittings.

I love old world charm so I did not mind using different varieties of salvaged brick as columns around the 4×4 posts. I did tint the mortar a light brown color for a more blended effect.

Pergolas are fantastic around the holidays displaying Halloween or Christmas decor.

Low-level outdoor lighting can illuminate your structures for moonlit walks and views from your interior rooms.

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box to create your outdoor structures.

Happy Planting!!

Diana Gardner-Williams


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