Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Recent Design Plans

This is one of our more recent designs. The images are a little dark, but you can see that there is a beautiful water feature and patio space, boulder lined flagstone pathways and areas for new plant material. This is a hardscape concept plan, the next step is the planting plan.

The top photo shows us what the water feature will look like. There are a few waterfalls that will run down the stone walls and a stone pathway that winds along the water feature so you can enjoy it from all angles. There will also be a bar and seating area... a nice place to enjoy a glass of wine!

The middle image deals with an awkward space in the garden... underneath the deck. Container plantings help to green up the space, while the lighting will make it an inviting spot in the evenings.

Check out some of our other design work on our website.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Perennial Pathway

This pathway transformed a bland hillside into a lush focal point in a backyard. It leads to a vegetable garden that is disguised by well placed perennials. The stone steps were designed to look as if they had been there forever and the plants were placed to look natural as well. We chose hardy perennials such as salvia, yarrow, coneflower, ornamental grasses, veronica and russian sage. Hardy shrub roses and rhododendrons were used to anchor the perennial garden. A perennial pathway is a nice way to add a little excitement to your daily walk to the vegetable garden.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Is this a mirage?

You wouldn't guess this swim-up bar is in Nebraska would you? Sure would feel nice on a day like today. The homeowners on this project really wanted their backyard to feel like a resort. They wanted a place to entertain the adults as well as the grandkids. It was a small space but we managed to work in all of the desired elements including a bar/grill/dining area, a custom pool and spa with a natural stone "diving board" and even a fire pit. I don't know about you, but I could kick back and relax in a place like this!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sculpture in the Garden

This is a "boing" sculpture by Diane Mattern. Her sculptures are a beautiful addition to any garden! She recently installed a hand rail at our home (I will post pics later) and it looks great! Sculpture can really put the finishing touch on a garden and also provide a focal point. Here are a few other pics featuring sculpture in an outdoor space. They were all taken outside of art galleries in Santa Fe, NM.

side note: that's a pretty sweet rock wall.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shade Needed

110 degree heat index has me realizing how unprepared for hot summer weather I am! Those umbrellas would be a nice addition to my backyard right about now. I love the idea in the above picture from marthastewart.com for a DIY shade structure using a drop cloth! Our dog would love it too... we often find him lying behind a perennial desperately trying to get shade! Some sort of shade structure is definitely a necessity for our backyard. We have it on the to-do list!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Flagstone Pathway

We installed this flagstone pathway recently to add functionality to a do-it-yourselfer's garden. The client does a beautiful job taking care of his favorite plants and keeping a tidy little garden, but just needed some help adding a flagstone path through his yard. We love improving an outdoor space whether the project is large or small. A path is a nice way of drawing people away from the home and into the garden. Why not invite people to explore your plants and appreciate all of the hard work that you've put into your garden?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Backyard Oasis

This beautiful backyard was designed with entertaining, outdoor living and gardening in mind. Actually, it was one of our first completed projects here at Olive Branch. The perennials have had a several years to get established so I snapped a few photos the other day. The perennial garden includes hydrangeas, hostas, iris, allium, penstemon, wild geranium and daphne shrubs. We also plant up their containers each year. This year we filled them with cosmos, zinnias, impatiens, cannas among other tropicals. The plants are only a small feature of this versatile garden. There is also a spa and water feature that accompany the space and make it usable year round. We have had a lot of fun working on this project and watching it grow.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Primeval Fern in DC

Took some beautiful photos at the Botanic Gardens in Washington DC today. Could have spent all day doing that, but had many things to do and see! This little fern frond was growing in the Primeval garden which was really nice. The whole room was misty like a rainforest... who doesn't love mist? I will post more photos later! 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Garden Party

It's funny how when you're working on someone's outdoor project, they often say they will have a party and invite you as a thank you... most of the time that doesn't happen... but last week it actually did happen! This was a complete outdoor living renovation featuring a built-in grill, several water features, a fire pit and plenty of space to entertain. The kids love it so much they actually do their homework out there now! The client also said that she has to keep the ingredients for s'mores stocked in case of a sudden craving. These clients were great to work with and had this party to thank all who were involved in creating this space. This patio is one of my favorite projects and I will be sure to post more pictures of it in the future.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Joslyn Sculpture Garden

We explored the new sculpture garden at Joslyn Art Museum last night. It's definitely worth a trip! The reflecting pool is beautiful... unfortunately the "river" water feature wasn't on so we weren't able to get the full experience. It looks like they are planning to continually add to the sculpture collection which is exciting.... there is a lot of room for additional art! I personally think the plant choices for the garden could have been better, it would've been nice to see the plants used more sculpturally. They were lacking in movement and interest (too many daylilies and a lack of perennial combinations) but overall it is a great addition to an already spectacular art museum. The sculpture by Omaha artist Kaneko (pictured above) stands out as well as some of the other figurative sculptures. We will definitely be back to see the water feature in its full glory and see how the garden looks as it gets established.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Don't you love a beautifully planted container? We do. They do so much for an outdoor living space. They soften corners, invite butterflies and provide fragrance. Not to mention they are fun to watch as they grow. I am always looking for an opportunity to get the most out of my container gardens. The Mexican heather pictured above will actually last indoors over the winter in a sunny spot and winter hardy succulents such as a sedums or hens and chicks can be planted in the ground in the fall. This way the plants don't have to go in the compost pile, but can be enjoyed next year!

Monday, June 8, 2009


Welcome to our new blog about anything related to landscapes, gardens and their design.  At Olive Branch Integrated Outdoor Design we love outdoor living and we want you to take it outside! We will be posting gardening tips and ideas, local garden-lover events, happenings here at Olive Branch and anything else that inspires us! We hope that you will find something here that inspires you to get outside and make a space of your own!