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Filed under:Design,Koi Ponds,Landscaping,Ponds and Waterfalls,Water Gardens

Bass and Bluegill Pond Ecosystem

Walking down to the big pond in Woodlawn TN in April, 2016. The 7′ deep and 12,000 sq. ft. area, bass and bluegill pond was completed in Oct 2014. It is a great example of an aquatic ecosystem designed with the help of Mother Nature to keep the water clean and healthy for both the flora and the fauna. This took the better part of the Summer of 2014. The best news is that it passed the one year guarantee last October with an A+. It is naturally filtered with a bog filter with stones and plant roots for the natural filtration and it all came together within 2015 to form a healthy, functioning pond ecosystem. Click on image for full photograph.













Grapes in the Garden

This year, we began taking care of a garden with grape vines. Late last winter, we pruned the vines hard and trained them along layered horizontal wires and fertilized with organic Espoma products, Plant Tone and Green Sand. It has been a magnificent year for grapes!grapes IMG_4281 IMG_4282 IMG_4283

Container Garden Ideas

Some awesome container garden ideas from a selection of picks from Tumblr. Enjoy!Container Gardens 12Container Gardens 11Container Gardens 10Container Gardens 9Container Gardens 8Container Gardens 7Container Gardens 6Container Gardens 5Container Gardens 4Container Gardens 3Container Gardens 2Container Gardens 1

Fountain Makeover


The almost 60 degree weather was perfect today in Woodlawn TN. My son, Keone and two of our closest friends and I cleaned up and revamped a fountain. An existing rubber lined fountain basin within a raised perennial garden was in need of a makeover so we installed new filtration and a 1200 gph pump. We then constructed a simple fountain using a paver supported crab orchard pink and tan cut stone cap with a 1″ hole drilled in the center. Next, three butterfly koi and a single lotus in one corner as soon as the weather breaks.


Fall Vegetable Garden

Cold Season Raised Bed Garden

Cold Season Raised Bed Garden

The fall vegetable garden is planted and I could not be more excited. It was a project in patience and planning. I decided to plant vegetables in raised beds at our house after being hired to do it for several of our landscaping clients.

I had to wait until the height of summer, when we had some spare time to think about our own spaces. The beds were built with wood we had around the shop and filled with soil that we had made in our compost heap. I must admit, they turned out better than I expected what with the leftover materials.

I’ve got vegetables for fall and winter such as Brussels sprouts, kale, carrots, lettuce, spinach and more in one bed. I harvested lettuce from that garden today. In the other bed, I sowed flower seeds for a cut flower garden. I will be so happy to have fresh bouquets from my own garden all over the house next spring and summer. I’m hoping to have plenty to share with friends as well.

New American Garden Style from OvS


Oehme, van Sweden & Associates (OvS) is a Washington, D.C. based landscape architecture firm known for their designs for memorials, parks, public gardens, universities, and private buildings in the eastern United States. The firm helped popularize the “New American Garden” style, which included increased use of ornamental grasses in landscapes. The Form is named after the founders Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden. Notable projects include the landscape architecture for the Federal ReserveWorld War II Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the Friendship Garden of the U.S. National Arboretum inWashington, D.C.North Point Park (Cambridge, Massachusetts); the Alderman Library Quadrangle at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA; and the Azalea Garden of the New York Botanical Garden

We first learned of them and were impressed with their gardens when James van Sweden spoke at a Perennial Plant Conference at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art  when Beth was a horticulturist there back in 1990. They became known for a revolutionary landscape and garden look now known as a New American Garden style based on the art of Hans Hoffman and Helen Frankenthaler. Wolfgang Oehme died Dec. 15, 2011 in Towson, Md. He was 81.

Learn what inspired Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden with theses videos.



Abelia ‘Rose Creek’

Abelia ‘Rose Creek’ is a prolific blooming shrub and makes for excellent curb appeal. ‘Rose Creek’ is a dense and compact Abelia cultivar. This attractive shrub makes a tidy and elegant summer flowering shrub. Evergreen leaves are shiny and become purple in cold weather.

Abelia Rose Creek 1

The flowers can be described a tubular white 1/2″ long flowers and form in loose clusters. Occasional tip pruning encourages blooming until fall frost. They are an exceptional and well behaved flowering shrub to add to the mixed shrub and perennial garden.

Abelia Rose Creek 2


Germantown Private Outdoor Spaces

We designed this fence, patio and garden September and October of last year. The project was finished a few months ago with great success. The goal was to create outdoor spaces for the homeowners to spend time outdoors for a dose of fresh air and pretty surroundings. First off, in January of 2013, we constructed a new tall privacy fence and ornamental back gate leading to the alley to insure security and privacy for the new improved spaces. Next we installled a new front walk with a side walk leading to the backyard along the narrow space between the houses in Historic Germantown in Nashville, Tennessee. The back yard Crab Orchard stone patio was designed for outdoor living and dining to enhance the square footage of the actual living space of the house. The semi-circular Crab Orchard stone patio along the side property works as a non repeating pattern consistency in the overall design feel of the property. The gardens were freshly cut to repeat similar serpentine lines to compliment the new patios and walkway in relation to the 90 degree angles of the house. And last but not least, low voltage outdoor lighting was installed to light up the patio and garden space after dark.




























Photo Blog of a Patio Construction

I usually don’t photo document a project but I tried it here and the results are interesting as a record of the effort of creating complex layers of patio both functional and beautiful. photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5 photo 6 photo 7 photo 8 photo 9 photo 10 photo 11 photo 12 photo 13 photo 14 photo 16 photo 16 photo 17 photo 18 photo 19 photo 20 photo 21 photo 22 photo 23 photo 24 photo 25 photo 26 photo 27 photo 28 photo 29 photo 30 photo 31 photo 32

Disappearing Waterfalls

Disappearing or pondless waterfalls are becoming popular with the backyard gardener who wants more for the outdoor spaces.  The disappearing waterfall is a great way to incorporate a dynamic effect to accent the hard surfaces and plantings of the patio garden for the sophisticated homeowner.  These waterfalls are refreshing and virtually maintenance free and create a tranquil effect for the homeowner.  They are a simple closed system with an unseen filter below a couple of inches of 1″-2″  sized ornamental stones where the pump is located.  The beauty is in the details of the stones, drops, pools, and cascades to create a spectacular overall effect with the soothing sounds of moving water.  The pump pushes the water up and the falls return the water to the filter and the cycle repeats itself.  Pondless waterfalls are the perfect option for the homeowner that enjoys water without the once a year maintenance of the koi pond. The following 4 links are short movies of the brand new disappearing waterfall shown above that Teacup Gardener installed last week in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Teacup Gardener Waterfall 1

Teacup Gardener Waterfall 2

Teacup Gardener Waterfall 3

Teacup Gardener Waterfall 4