Plant It Yourself

O’Donal’s Nursery worked with a client to give them a specific plan and tools to grow their own garden
Words By Anna Mangum
Photos By Francois Gagne
Landscape DesignO’Donal’s Nursery|

Some people like painting their walls, making shelves out of repurposed wood, or installing their own tile in the bathroom. But the Williams family turned the amp up on DIY projects with the help of O’Donal’s Nursery and their landscape designer: they took on their own landscaping. They had just upturned an overgrown landscape at their home in Falmouth and were looking to replace it with something perennial, soft, and casual. Amanda Monaco-Sturgis at O’Donal’s drew up the initial design for them, and the Williams family bought and installed the plants themselves.

All of the necessary plants, seeds, and tools are available at the nursery
The client was looking for a perennial garden that could be enjoyed from inside and out.
Amanda notes that tension is key when designing a landscape.

The home’s location is close to the ocean and receives a lot of sun, but it also gets a lot of wind. They opted for sturdy plants to survive the wind tunnel effect of the property. “We designed it to be over-planted,” Amanda says. “The idea is that everything will grow together and be a naturalistic planting.” Many of the plants are pollinatorfriendly, inviting butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds to the flowers. That, plus the wind causing natural movements of the plants, creates the look of a garden that is alive. A Korean maple is a notable feature of the landscape, and it’s something that the client had sought after. It’s a hardier alternative to a Japanese maple, and the coloring of the leaves gives off an apricot undertone. To balance the flowering perennials, Amanda suggested they include dwarf blue spruce and Ilex ‘Sky Pencil’ so that the winter landscape will have something to offer with its evergreens.

The small garden area feels alive with color, texture, and buzzing pollinators.

“A good landscape needs structure mixed in with the softness,” Amanda says. “The grasses balance the boxwood. Having soft grass and salvias moving around is pretty, but that tension is key.” The dramatic ledge at the back of the property adds another element of high contrast to the landscape. Even though they are close to the ocean, the ledge suggests a large forest rings the property. The clients not only work to maintain the balance on their own property, but she and her son have started doing little gardening projects for the neighbors as well. 

Installing the landscape themselves deepens the clients’ connection to their yard.
A naturally occurring rock ledge surrounds the landscape, adding a dramatic background.

Amanda loves being able to help clients through O’Donal’s, and she often sees the spark of landscaping passion in them. “It gives people an awareness and appreciation of their surrounding environment and what they can create and change on their own,” Amanda says.

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