The art of landscape design has to be learned and as amateur gardeners know it is not as simple as it might appear. So this is a great opportunity to pick up some tips from the award winning landscape designer Marie Limoge. This is the transcript of an interview carried out by Amanda which I found on the American Meadows website.

Marie Limoge is an award winning Landscape Designer who works in Northern Vermont at DiStefano Landscaping. I sat down with her to talk about her landscape design process, favorite plants and several of her recent projects that received awards.

landscape design
This project won the Large Scale Residential Build Merit Award from GreenWorks.


What is your design process?

?It has a lot to do with what the individual client wants, because every project is so drastically different, which is one of the nice parts about my job because it’s not the same thing over and over again.?
?I?ve been to some houses where people are like, ?I want my beds flowery and colorful and I want something blooming all year round.? And then the next person I talk to says, ?I want straight lines, no flowers ? only grasses.? On a normal project, I chat with the clients first about what their goals are, whether they want things for butterflies or just want color, something blooming year-round to have that interest. Then we start talking about colors ? do they lean more towards cool colors or warm colors, what colors do they not like?
What people don?t like is almost more important than what they do.
Nine times out of ten people are like, ?Don?t put orange in the front of my house.? Then you get the occasional person who?s like, ?I love orange? and I get [excited] because there are a whole grouping of plants I can actually use.?

landscape design drawing
A drawing for her large-scale planting in Colchester, Vermont.

Once I narrow down what the client is looking for, then I pull out my plant books and start my list. If people want more warm colors, I use things like Ninebark, Bee Balm, Rudbeckia and those bolder colors. If they want cool colors I like to use Nepeta, Geranium and Salvia. I usually have my long list and then work on the design with heights and bloom time, narrowing it down to a shorter list.

Is there a certain formula you use to decide which varieties to use?

?I?ve been doing this for 12 years so I kind of have my staples now. I know what?s going to work in certain places and every once in awhile I learn about a new plant and get really excited and it shows up in a lot of projects ? color is such a big part of the garden and texture, the texture is really important too. Having different leaf sizes and shapes makes it interesting.?

landscape design with annuals

What are your favorite plants to use in landscape design?

?That is a super hard question. My favorite trees are Honey Locust and Catalpa. My favorite large shrub is Amelanchier canadensis (Shadblow or Serviceberry). It?s a native Vermont plant and it?s the first thing that blooms in the spring. I love Rudbeckia and Cranesbill Geranium just blooms and blooms and blooms. This summer I have been using a lot of Astilbe, the texture and foliage are so nice. I love the height, color and smell of Bugbane. Nepeta is nice if you need a big impact in one little spot. I just fell in love with Butterfly Weed this year ? I love the orange. I also really started playing with a lot of the different Heuchera (Coral Bells), some of those colors are just amazing.?

See more at American Meadows

I am a keen gardener and so created Garden Pics and Tips for people who love gardens and enjoy great pictures of plants and gardens. Also covered are practical tips on all aspects of gardening.