Summer Style | Growing Gardens - Design Bureau

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GH Design’s grass ottoman

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Above and below: A modern garden by GH Design

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Above and below: A traditional garden by GH Design

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Summer Style | Growing Gardens

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

It’s easy to spot the difference between traditional and contemporary design aesthetics when it comes to an armchair or a coffee table. But, as California-based landscape designer Nancy Favier of GH Design will tell you, the style divide is not as cut and dried when categorizing, say, an olive tree or a palm frond. Favier, who designs landscapes of all visual varieties, shares her approach to styling outdoor areas.

MB: What’s the difference between traditional and modern landscapes?
Nancy Favier: They aren’t so different to me. I see all plants in terms of texture, color, structure, and scale. Clients, however, can have preconceived ideas. One client who spent his childhood along the Mediterranean coast told me he hated the olive tree because it’s too traditional. A week later, another client told me that he hated them because they are so contemporary. 

MB: Should your garden’s style match your home?
NF: Landscapes introduce the residence or building and most views from indoors look outwards, so they must complement the architecture and interior design. They should invite you in and out.

MB: You also design outdoor furniture. What inspires these objects?
NF: My designs usually spring from whichever project I am working on at the time. With my grass ottoman, I needed something fresh and durable for a pool project. The design was born when I saw a tuft of plastic wheat grass in a craft shop, and now the ottoman is sold around the world.

MB: Do you have any advice for fledgling gardeners?
NF: Walking large estates, parks, museum grounds, and commercial gardens can help you get a sense of scale. Though these areas might be larger than your own garden, the same elements can still work on a smaller scale.

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