Garden tours can be very inspirational. They can fuel your passion for gardening and they are a great way to get new design ideas.
Have you ever gone on a tour and compared and contrasted the tour gardens against your own? You might find this exercise helpful if you have some specific objectives for your gardens. For example, perhaps you are working to build the bones of your garden; shrubs and trees that can add definition, diversity and winter interest. Or, you are looking for ideas to help construct walls or paths. If you have a focus, you will more successfully see what you are looking for in the gardens you visit.
This summer the Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County Maine hosted a wonderful tour – Private Gardens of the Kennebunks. There were some beautifully landscaped properties on this tour. I was surprised to see how extensively hosta was used in most of the landscapes (a personal interest of mine).
The gardens selected clearly had an appreciation for hardscaping. There were many fine examples of stonewalls, walkways and even a beautiful outdoor fireplace. Here are some examples:
I probably noticed the hardscaping because I was looking to see how others used it in their garden designs. If you would like to see more photo's of this garden tour, check out the video 2009 Private Gardens of the Kennebunks' on the Child Abuse Prevention Council website.