Camelot Homes

Gardening in Small Spaces with Pat Hasbrook

Pat Hasbrook of Hasbrook Interiors was for many years the premier Interior Designer in and around the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. When the time came to slow down from her work in interior design, she and husband Dan did what many of us only dream of doing; they bought a farm and moved to Woodstock, Vermont. During her years there Pat spent the bulk of her leisure time doing what she loves best; blissfully tending to her many gardens. When the time came to move back out west, they decided on California, where they purchased their first ever, new production home. Inspired by beauty, Pat set about the task of landscaping, turning the ordinary into extraordinary. Here are a few tips on how she did it:

When their home was being built, Pat would find herself standing in the back yard wondering, what on earth she would do with such a small space? Being a person for whom gardening and creating beauty is a great passion, she took it on with her typical, unbridled enthusiasm. “The answer is that it doesn’t have to be small visually.” says Pat, “It is all about creating an illusion…”

For starters, Hasbrook began by going vertical. “When you are confined to a small space, go up!” she says. With this in mind, Pat suggests going to an architectural salvage or something of the like and purchasing iron trellis’ for the walls and above the windows. “Cover them in Bower Vine, it will grow like a weed, is impervious to pests and gives the house a mature look.” says Pat.

Another optical illusion Pat loves is the use of outdoor mirrors. In her garden she surrounded the mirrors with a green wall of Ficus Netituda, which reflects back, giving the appearance of a secret garden that goes on indefinitely. “When you look out of your window, a well tended garden will look like arms reaching out to you. It’s better than any painting you can imagine, in that it changes becoming more beautiful every day.”

Pat also says to introduce some huge, old, “anchor” trees. “Multi trunked, extraordinary in size and species. Old trees will transform the look of new landscaping into something mature, beautiful and weathered, while actually enlarging the look of the space. If they look too big, they are probably just right.” Pat recalls (with a wink) many of her neighbors commenting on how lucky they were to have purchased the lot that has all of the old trees.

To the beginner many of Pat’s ideas would seem counterintuitive, for instance bringing in giant pots, more of Pat Hasbrook’s visual trickery. “Buy some focal pots, two or four. Spend some money on them and you will see your investment pay off. Again, if they look too big, they’re perfect!” says Pat, maintaining that scale is everything.

Having seen the result of Pat’s efforts in the enchanting garden space she has created, it is clear that she knows what she’s doing. Her garden continues to evolve, and it is still the place where she so eloquently declares, “I find me.”

A few more tips from Pat:

~ Repetition, repetition, repetition. “Using a little bit of this and a little bit of that, tends to look like Granny’s garden.”

~ Create a “dichotomy of tension” by blending the orderly with the wild.

~ Don’t re-invent the wheel. Everything good has already been done, so stick with classic shapes. They’re “classic” for a reason.

~ Include the sound of water

Now get out there and garden!

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