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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

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Admiring the Garden From Inside the Home

Garden design by Andrew Fisher Tomlin. Click on the image to see more of this garden.

A garden can become the extension of the interior of a home. Some windows may create a seamless view that begins inside and extends outdoors.

A client touring Cape Cod, Massachusetts purchased a 10 feet tall wind sculpture consisting of a latticed tower topped with a stylized sundial, which spun when the wind blew. On her return home, she instructed the handy man to install it outside the kitchen window so that she could see it while drinking her morning coffee.

In a similar vein, my daughter looked out the window of her daughters’ bedroom and decided that the barren plot of land under the trees outside, that were visible from indoors, appeared boring. “Children should see plants when they look outside” she thought. So began her project of planting a shade garden that the children could focus on when they got dressed in the morning.


Garden design by Andrew Fisher TomlinDuring very hot weather, when being outdoors is uncomfortable, I stand in front of my bedroom window and admire the portion of the flowerbed that I can see from there. While the flowerbed is actually 60 feet long, only 20 feet is visible from the window. That’s why I made sure that the visible stretch of garden is better planted than any other, because it is the first thing I see when I get up in the morning.

Photo by Carole Ottesen, The American Gardener, American Horticultural Society, November 2009.What do you see when you open the window shades in the morning, when you stare outside during a rainstorm, or stare at the yard from a kitchen window?

When planning a garden layout, it is worth taking the time to step indoors and study the garden from inside, looking out. It is from these interior garden perspectives that we sometimes get lost in thought as we admire the natural beauty around our homes. For passionate gardeners, these scenes will transport us to imaginary places when we are housebound in winter.


This garden view belongs to Chen at Garden Canadensis. Click on the image to visit this "must see" site.

Photo by Carole Ottessen, The American Gardener, American Horticultural Society, November 2009Consider planting gardens that are visible from many interior vantage points. Look through windows and patio doors to determine where the best indoor views of the garden will be. Pay attention to what a plant, tree, or shrub looks like through a window in summer, how it transforms itself in autumn and try to imagine its appearance from indoors in winter.

In the November 2009 edition of The American Gardener, garden writer, Carole Ottesen calls these garden spots “look into” gardens that are “beautiful little scenes to enjoy from indoors, especially during the long winter months.” Continuing, she writes that “being conscious of how your garden looks from the interior of the house brings a new perspective to its design and will help increase your enjoyment of it”.

To see more landscape designs by Andrew Fisher Tomlin, click here.

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Reader Comments (3)

How appropriate! I am in the midst of trying to figure out what to do with my rinky dinky backyard (8 x 10'). I happen to have my little "office" look out into it and during the wintertime I often wished I had some sort of garden scene to look at.

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Well, Allan you know I totally agree with you about the importance of what we view through our windows from the inside. We sometimes do the right thing in spite of ourselves, but we need to be more aware of views when we plan a garden.


April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

Just gone through your blog and found it interesting. It was nice going through your blog. keep on posting.

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnn Flowers

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