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Outdoor/Garden
Cultivating a Mature Garden
Tablescapes are nice but sometimes ambience is all the garden design you need.
Creating a beautiful garden is a labor of LOVE. Little by little, day by day and year by year gardens change and grow. Seasonally the gardener finds what works and what doesn’t. They take risks and try new things, some will surprisingly work and some will be painstaking to care for with no payoff. Experienced... Keep Scrolling
Written & Photographed by Molly Snelson


Creating a beautiful garden is a labor of LOVE. Little by little, day by day and year by year gardens change and grow. Seasonally the gardener finds what works and what doesn’t. They take risks and try new things, some will surprisingly work and some will be painstaking to care for with no payoff. Experienced gardeners know that mature garden design comes together over time. When spring has fully sprung and that hard-earned garden is in full bloom, hosting friends to bask in all that garden glory takes on a whole new meaning.

Peak through a garden gate to roses growing up a latticed arch.
Peak through the garden gate to see pink and yellow roses crawling up a latticed arbor.
Bougainvillea and deep purple flowers.
Deep purple salvia arranged in front of a sea of fuchsia bougainvillea.

Dreams from the Dust

This lovely and mature garden belongs to Kevin & Kathy, the homeowners of 35 years. Their garden design has grown over that time as they discovered what they loved and what would work. The once all-dirt yard has transformed through many iterations over those years of dreaming and planning. Swing sets and dirt, retaining walls made of railroad ties and sod, saplings that have grown into mature trees that shade the yard and eventually beautiful laid brick and the stunning gazebo.

A welcoming open garden gate and lovely purple pansies.
Heart-shaped stepping stones welcome you into the yard through the side gate.
Tablescape on an outdoor seating area topped with pink and white florals in terra-cotta pots.
The outdoor dinner table topped with petunias and baby’s breath.

A Love of Daily Gardening

The yard has become a welcome place for their family and friends. A retreat after long days of work, Kevin says that spending a little time every day is what it takes to keep up the yard. Decompress and beautify all at the same time. Kathy has been known to spend quiet mornings in the gazebo with a good book and a cup of tea.

Out door white bistro set and charming light pink chrysanthemums.
White bistro set along a stone walkway and a charming bunch of light pink chrysanthemums.

This sweet white bistro set can be seen through the bay window in the kitchen and with the windows open the fountain next to it can also be heard.

Outdoor table with white table cloths and chairs with a white gazebo in the background.
This is the lovely view for guests when they enter the yard from the home.
Pink adirondak chair on the brick porch and a light feature hanging from a tree.
An Adirondack chair and petunias in a decorative urn greet guests at the front door of their home.

These lovely metallic hearts were hung from the trees and filled with battery-powered twinkle lights to help set the scene once the sun went down.

one white and yellow flower in focus with it's bunch in the background.
A lone standout Shasta Daisy.
Pink and purple bougainvillea and pots overflowing with multi colored flowers.
The wall of purple and fuchsia bougainvillea creates a gorgeous wall of privacy in this yard.

Nighttime Ambience

String lights zigzag across the yard for nighttime ambience and twinkle lights wrap up the tress as well as the gazebo for added magic.

Set outdoor table over looking the yard and white gazebo.
The outdoor table set up, waiting for guests to come and have a seat around the charming pink petunias.
Water fountain with birds on the top and heart shaped stepping stones amongst pea gravel.
The calming sounds of a fountain really round out the look and feel of the garden.

One of the three water features of the yard, how sweet are these heart-shaped stepping stones? Kathy knows that that details like this are what makes ordinary corners feel special and personal.

Red dahlias with a yellow edged accent.
Uniquely yellow-rimmed, bright red dahlias.

Multi-colored dahlias, hollyhocks and milkweed are nestled amongst the bougainvillea and roses that create the most beautiful of privacy walls, adding even more character to this mature garden.

Stone bird statue amongst bright colored flowers.
Small pieces of garden art are displayed throughout the garden like tiny hidden easter eggs.

The sun sets behind the house and allows the yard to cool in the warm Southern California months before the sky goes dark.

Outdoor table set for guests overlooking a hammock and bougainvillea.
Grab a seat under the twinkle trees and feel the grass under your feet.

A Signature Scent

One of the couple’s favorite flowers to grow each spring are sweet peas. They grow in multiple places throughout the yard, in a variety of colors and end up in vases throughout their home filling the air with a lovely and familiar scent.

Sweet peas and snapdragons.
The family’s beloved pink sweet peas.
Milkweed and Penstemon Arabesque Red.
Penstemon Arabesque Red intertwined with Milkweed plants draw in the butterflies and hummingbirds.

Is there a floral scent that reminds you of home? Here’s to hoping you feel inspired this summer to start small with a planted seed and reap the rewards of beauty and quality time with your yard and people you love in the future.

Want more simply beautiful ideas or ways to start your own soon-to-be mature garden? Check out this post on designing your garden by color. 

Of course, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of cottage inspiration!

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