After years of adding gardens, couple finds it’s OK to cut back

large garden around tree in Grand Island NY
This garden in the backyard of Pat and Gary Scott used to be larger, but they’ve found that having so many large garden beds is a lot of work. They’re beginning to cut back a bit. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko


by Connie Oswald Stofko

After about 20 years of adding trees and garden beds to their Grand Island landscape, Pat and Gary Scott are slowing down and even reducing the size of some beds.

“We have to tone it down a little because it’s a lot of work,” Pat said. “If the gardens get too big, it’s overwhelming.”

I visited the Scotts on last year’s Grand Island Garden Walk.

This year the Grand Island Garden Walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 8. Maps for the tour can be picked up at the Town Commons Gazebo, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island.

You can see all of the garden walks on our Events page. Get more information on the website of Gardens Buffalo Niagara, the group that coordinates the garden walks and other events.

Don’t forget about Open Gardens. Select gardens will be open on Thursdays and Fridays in July. To get the hours and the locations of the gardens, you need the booklet, which will be sold for $5 in local garden centers. The booklet should be in garden centers by Mother’s Day. We’ll share the list of garden centers that will carry the booklet as soon as the list is available.

foot bridge over low wet area of backyard
This foot bridge is functional as well as decorative. It crosses a low, wet area and provides access to the area at the far back end of the Scotts’ yard. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko


One of the things I noticed about the Scotts’ yard was the way they incorporated a low, wet area. Instead of trying to ignore it, they treated it like a water feature and built a charming foot bridge over the wet area to provide access to the far back end of the yard.

Pat said that she doesn’t plan out her gardens.

“It’s all trial and error,” Pat said. “I’m more hands-on and just try it yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I have moved things to different places. It’s just experimenting with different things.”

She’s something of a plant collector.

“I like to go to all the nurseries because they all have different things,” Pat said.

While Pat likes doing the gardening herself, when it came time to install a patio and deck, the Scotts had it done by professionals. They had the landscaping around the deck installed by landscapers, too.

“It was too big of a job,” she said.

Tip: Pat used pavers from the old deck as edging around garden beds to prevent weeds and grass from creeping into the bed.

deck and new landscaping in Grand Island
The Scotts had recently had the new deck, seen here, and the new patio, which is to the left, installed by professionals. Because installing new landscaping would have been such a big job, they had landscapers do that, too. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko


shed with flower boxes on Grand Island
“I had to get a shed that looked like a little home,” said Pat Scott. Window boxes and potted plants add to the homey feel. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko


garden along fence in Grand Island
The Scotts started a garden along the fence, but it won’t stretch along the entire fence. “It’s too much work,” Pat said. She decided, “We’ve got to calm down here!” They also have a large vegetable garden.


7 Comments on “After years of adding gardens, couple finds it’s OK to cut back

  1. I agree with Pat’s gardening philosophy. It was so nice to read this article. I too am always adding new plants to my landscaping and adding on. I always have a vision of what the finished product will look like, but it is always a surprise in the end. I am not one of those gardeners that can envision a final product and match it. I appreciate those sentiments in this article.
    Gardening takes a lot of time, but I also do it because I find so much peace in the garden. Not everyone finds that kind of enjoyment with gardening. I am the only one in my family that LOVES to spend all day outside and take on new projects every year. If that is not your PASSION, then it is just hard work. If you love it, your garden will become your peaceful, unique space that grows with you; and each one of your little plants holds a special memory. 🙂

  2. Just a beautiful place to relax and enjoy all the glorious flowers. Your hard work has always been seen in your gardens.

  3. WOW!! Awesome job Pat and Gary. I may take a few ideas from yours and add them to mine.

  4. Eva, the Scotts do have a lovely landscape, but yes, it does take time. My landscape will never look like that either, but it’s okay. Everybody has their own style. It’s wonderful that gardeners like the Scotts share their landscapes with us!

  5. Wow. This garden is spotless and beautiful. I can see hours and hours of work that went into it. But the result is “priceless”. I’m envious because my spaces will NEVER look like that.

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