A Sweet Garden

So here’s another garden we saw in the Bay Area during the Fling. This one belonged to garden designer Rebecca Sweet of the blog Gossip In The Garden. This was a garden that conveyed comfort and a green coziness, especially compared to some of the starker California gardens.

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First, the front yard. I loved this front yard. Particularly how the plantings and brick hardscape were used to define the small, round lawn. This turns upside down the usual practice of using brick or pavers to define walks or flower beds. At the same time, I found the use of soft plantings to create a sense of enclosure in the front yard (again, a departure from the usual) very appealing.

Most of the garden was in the back yard. We were still in California, so there have to be succulents. However, the succulents were massed and combined with other types of plants to create more of a sense of abundance.


Toward the back of the garden, there is a sort of one room garden cottage.

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A look inside reveals a one room space that is far more orderly and tasteful than my own house has ever been.


The fences are used to grow various vertical and climbing plants, including roses and oleander.

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There was a very fine fountain.

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The overall backyard is organized around a rectangular lawn, which is surrounded by mixed borders and spaces for family and friends.

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There are nooks where one or two people can relax.

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And a really nice pergola-covered patio adjoining the house. A perfect place for family meals.

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This was a garden I could really feel at home in. However, we all had to return to the coach for the drive back to San Francisco.

My next post: a cry for help from my ‘Westerland’ rose.

42 Comments on “A Sweet Garden

  1. Pavers set on the edge of lawn to delineate the space between lawn and garden space yet flush with the lawn is a great idea. I recommended it to a couple who were getting older, loved to garden and had a large-ish lawn space. He had recently lost a foot to diabetes and couldn’t get around as well and had a ramping deck built to enable him outdoor access. We had long discussion about how to enable them to maintain the outdoor areas of their home and which natives that would fill in space and attract birds; and how to deal with areas of full shade so there would be no weeds to control, yet lawn was not an option. It turned out great and gave them the continuing enjoyment and ability to care for their garden and stay in their home.

  2. My goodness is this a cool space. I absolutely am smitten with the “in the round” front yard garden! So cozy and beautiful! I wish that more people would take advantage of the front yard in our area. As for the backyard garden I am liking the nooks! This has inspired me to create more rooms for people to relax in throughout the garden! And the pergola! Thanks for sharing this one Jason!!!

    • I agree that front yards are often just wasted space. People leave it as lawn that is not used for any recreation, which tends to take place in the back. I like to have open flower beds in the front. It’s a good way to connect with neighbors while tending the garden.

  3. I love the roundness of the front yard — and the fountain speaks for itself. It looked like a great trip — thanks for sharing it in your posts.

  4. I loved this garden a lot, but I was so uncomfortable from the heat and the sun and the long, long day that I pretty much just sat like a vegetable. Thanks for posting such great shots. You actually make the garden look cool and shady.

    • We were all hot and tired – it was the last garden of the day. Fortunately, Judy is an indefatigable photographer.

  5. I heard her say she was taking out the front grass next year. I too like the way it was executed in the design. It laid the relief for all the plantings. I did not ask her plans for the space, but wish I did.

  6. Ahhh yes, this is a garden I can get into. I am surprised to see lawn in any fashion out there. I love all the succulents. If they would survive our winters I would have a whole lot more of them.

    • There was no lawn in many of the gardens we visited. Here the lawn was at least partially shaded, which probably reduced the water needs.

  7. It was interesting to me as I am trying to get that feeling of enclosure in my front garden too. Loved seeing the succulents combined with other plants

    • I am conflicted about enclosure versus openness. I like enclosure, but I also like to display the front garden to passersby.

  8. This is a truly beautiful and cozy garden. I can imagine relaxing here with a tall cool drink and soak in the whole atmosphere.

  9. I really liked the feel and scale of this garden. The roundness of the front lawn and bricked area and fountain work beautifully with the borders and stones and garden beds. Nice flow. And that shed . . . !

    • I agree about the feel and scale. A lot of the gardens you see on tours are “grand”, but this one was very comfortable and homey.

  10. I also love the idea of the lawn being small and bordered with hardscape/brick. I’ve never understood why it’s simply taken as a given that we start with the lawn and then define everything else? Why not define the lawn as small and contained and give more room and consideration to all the other plantings? Great photos and a good motivation to encourage non-traditional gardening.

  11. I am so glad you enjoyed my garden (despite the oppressive heat!) – thanks for the lovely write-up and if you and your wife are ever out here again please make sure to stop by!

  12. Now, that is am impressive garden! You do a great job with the photos, almost like I could just be right there!

  13. Loved this garden full of interesting plants used well and a great balance of structure and whimsy that created a relaxed and welcoming space. I was amazed by how tidy everything was in the studio, the potting benches, etc. If I ever grow up, I’d like to have a home/garden this organized! (I’d only mess it up!) This was one of the gardens that had me wondering if the owners would mind if I just moved in with them. Our garden hosts were all so nice to have refreshments for us!

  14. I would so have loved to be part of this event, but this isn’t a good time for me to leave my own garden (a visit to California would have to be for a couple of weeks to make it financially worth while. Your report on this garden (and I hope others to come) allows me to feel part of the visit, thank you.

  15. Lovely garden, I like that fountain with lion heads, the pergola with those ‘feast’ row lights, I’d like to put something similar in my pergola too but apparently there is no such thing that could bear strong winds and some rain.
    The house must be very cosy by the look of it.

  16. Gorgeous garden! I’m loving the patio nook for two with the beautiful potted agave and succulents. Also fascinated with the cozy front yard. I’m thinking of starting on the front yard and this idea is tempting but I’m also considering a more spacious, bright, firewise garden. Decisions, decisions….

  17. Hi Jason, I really like the front yard too, the round, brick-edged lawn surrounded by lush planting looks incredible. I wish my front garden looked half that good!

  18. Ohhh, the Echiverias! So good. I love that shed, the use of rock and brick, the cozy private feel . . .

  19. Amazing garden indeed. However, I think that such gardens can only be created in CA with their weather. Here in NJ everything will be blank during winter. Next year, again build everything up — yeah the perennials will stay but they just by themselves cannot create such a garden. More is needed.

  20. I enjoyed your comments and Judy’s photos on this one; I’m sorry I missed out on it–except for the extreme heat. I love that little shed. What a wonderful refuge in which to read a book on a rainy day!

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