Garden Tours Landscape Design

Garden ‘Whimsy’ Done Right!

Backyard Garden Overview

I will just say right now that I hate the phrase ‘whimsy’ as, to me, it’s just a polite way of saying “tacky”.   That’s probably because of all the design styles for gardens, a ‘whimsical’ style using re-purposed elements is the HARDEST to get right.  It requires an amazing eye and a keen aesthetic that’s honestly hard to come by- even for those who excel at other design styles.  However, every now and then you happen upon a garden that gets it right.  And when “whimsy” is done well, it is a pleasure to behold!

Backyard Garden Overview

There is such a garden in Lindon, Utah.  It’s owned by Mayor Jim Dain and his uber-talented wife, Pamela.   Pamela has created a series of spaces we design geeks call ‘vignettes’.  The garden covers more than an acre and consists of a series of cleverly created and, more importantly, immaculately maintained gardens.  I hate to say ‘rooms’ because that’s too trendy a word and not exactly the right description.  The attention to detail in this garden is incredible and the elements all combine to make an adventure out of everyday items.

An example of a 'vignette'- an accessory structure is grouped with objects which provide a complete, detailed scene or 'vignette'

Festive front porch

The Garden isn’t just generous in terms of design, the garden creator, Pamela, was also incredibly generous to allow me to tour and photograph her garden to share with you.  I’ve driven by for years on the way to my sister-in-law’s home and I’ve always wanted to stop but was too shy to go and ask.  I finally did and I’m so glad.  Pamela and her family were enjoying the back porch when I arrived and she was kind enough to give me a spur-of-the-moment tour and history of the Garden.

Awesome Treehouse!

old truck, new life

Everywhere you turn in this garden there’s something new to see.  While the various vignettes have developed organically over many years, the entire garden feel like it was planned and executed perfectly.  That’s a significant achievement, without a plan, most of us would end up with an awkward layout.  Of course, having an acre+ to sprawl out on certainly helps!

The Virginia Creeper covered building reminds me of the Witch's candy house in the nursery rhyme of Hansel and Gretel

Path to front entry

Window box details. Shutters and an overhang complete the look.

Large potting shed made of salvaged vintage windows

One of several vintage outbuildings

The school bus was a retirement gift to Pamela from her family (Pamela drove a school bus for years)

Beautiful wooded path allows for the winding in and out of covered spaces- spacial variety is a key element of design.

Backyard Garden Overview

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  • Carolyn Kesler
    March 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I contacted you at the home & garden show about Sandy City Garden Club.
    Can you present information for about 45 minutes to 1 hour in length on June 12th 2012 at 10:00 am on succulents and vertical gardening. We will be meeting at a members house in Sandy. I will send you the address when I get it. If you could please confirm or decline within the week I would appreciate it so that the club can send out its agenda to members.
    Thank you.
    Carolyn Kesler
    Sandy City Garden Club
    P.S. this is a separate meeting than the Jordan Valley Conservancy Garden Tour on Sept 11th.

  • Lolly Jane
    April 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Cynthia I loved your class at SNAP! I wrote down so many tips, glad to hear you! You’re adorable (: