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Refresh Your Garden Design | A Quick Q&A with Rebecca Sweet (Plus, Photos)

Refresh Your Garden Design | A Quick Q&A with Rebecca Sweet (Plus, Photos)

Landscape designer Rebecca Sweet. This and all photos courtesy of Rebecca Sweet and F&W Media, Inc.

Rebecca Sweet, the Northern California garden designer known for her ability to creatively transform ordinary outdoor spaces into balanced, living works of art, released a new book last month. And, as expected, it’s as useful as she is talented. In a quick e-mail interview with editor Shannon Roxborough, the dynamic designer dishes on her latest work.

From garden shows and seminars to the pages of Horticulture and Sunset, designer and blogger Rebecca Sweet, it seems, is everywhere. Two years ago, she helped fuel a trend in the horticulture world as co-author of the best-selling book, “Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces.” And now, she has penned Refresh Your Garden Design With Color, Texture & Form, a thorough how-to guide loaded with helpful advice to unleash the hidden designer in you. Her keen design sense sprouts from its smartly-written and richly-photographed pages, helping gardeners to overcome their reluctance to take on design projects and inspiring can-do confidence when tackling them.

The cover of Refresh Your Garden Design With Color, Texture & Form.
The cover of Refresh Your Garden Design With Color, Texture & Form.

Q.  Why did you decide to write this book?
A. As a garden designer, my business is divided into two main categories: creating comprehensive landscape plans and hourly consulting. And after consulting with literally hundreds of gardeners over the years, one of the most common complaints I’ve heard is a sense of frustration at the lack of harmony that has crept into their gardens. While they might have been happy with their gardens at one point, something happened over the years and they don’t know how to identify what has gone wrong or how to fix the problem. They’re frustrated because they don’t want to rip out their gardens and start from scratch or hire a team of professionals to come in and take over. Instead, they just want to enjoy the process of refreshing their garden again, but are unsure where to begin.
Rebecca Sweet 1I decided to write this book to help gardeners everywhere learn how to look at their garden with fresh eyes to identify its problem spots, and how to specifically go about refreshing their garden’s design. I emphasize the word ‘specifically’ because instead of writing about design theory followed by one beautiful photo at the end, I want to show how to create these transformations using a series of photos to help illustrate my points. My goal is to help gardeners enjoy the process of refreshing their garden’s design while transforming it into the garden of their dreams.
Rebecca Sweet 2Q.  What do you want readers to gain from it?
A. My main objective with this book is to give gardeners a sense of empowerment, an excited feeling of ‘A-ha! I can do this!’  After reading my book, if I’ve given a frustrated gardener a newly found sense of confidence then I’ve succeeded.
Rebecca Sweet 3Q.  What’s the one thing you would stress to people wanting to design their own gardens?
A. If I had only one piece of advice for gardeners I’d say to have fun experimenting with your own outside-the-box ideas.  Don’t be timid and don’t worry about making mistakes. Just enjoy the process of creating!
To learn more about Rebecca, go to or follow her blog, Gossip in the Garden.
Rebecca Sweet 4Rebecca Sweet 5Rebecca Sweet 6Rebecca Sweet 7—Shannon Roxborough
Shannon Roxborough is the editor-in-chief of Garden Variety.
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  1. Scripting Happiness
    November 30, 2013 at 3:00 am

    Great! Love that first one with the succulents

  2. katharinetrauger
    December 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Very beautiful and tantalizing photos! Cannot wait to access the books!

  3. staceyweichert
    December 15, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Will look to add this one to my garden book pile! 🙂

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