What can you learn from this Amherst landscape?

garden along fence in Amherst NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
backyard garden looking through arbor in Amherst NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

When you’re visiting landscapes on the many garden walks and Open Gardens here in Western New York, it’s fun to just be wowed by what you see.

You might think, “I wish I had a garden like that.”

You can never completely replicate someone else’s landscape. Your yard might be shady where theirs is sunny. Or you might have a much smaller yard. Or you might not want to spend as much time watering and weeding as they do.

But you probably can find elements that you like and can use in your own space.

I visited the landscape of Dan and Peggy Murak on the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View in 2021 and shared a few views of their gardens then. Let’s take another look and try to see what we can take away for our own gardens.

One element that I tend to see in “wow” gardens is the large size of the plants. In the first photo, notice that the plants closest to the fence are quite tall. They include Asiatic lilies and clematis on a trellis. Height adds pizazz to gardens.

A mixture of different heights adds even more interest. Mid-size perennials are placed in front of the tall plants, and short annuals fill in the space in front.

large pot with annuals in Amherst NY garden
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

And notice how many plants there are. If you want this look, you may want to create beds over several years. It can be expensive to buy so many shrubs and perennials all at once, and those plants may take some time to fill in the space.

This garden bed is along the fence, but the bed doesn’t take on the straight line of the fence or end in right angles. The bed is bordered by a gentle, meandering line.

Try to have different views of your yard from different angles. The second photo in this article is a view from the arbor that separates the pool from the rest of the yard. See more ideas about 360-degree views here.

Flowers don’t have to stay in garden beds. Use them in containers on patios. Above, the pot itself is large, and tall millet adds more height. A good number of calibrachoa plants fill in. Don’t skimp on annuals in pots. Unlike perennials, which need some room to grow, you want annuals to look good right at the beginning of summer–they’ll be gone with the frost.

columns with plants in pots near pool in Amherst NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

The yard is fairly large, so large objects feel right at home. Above, plants in large pots are elevated on a pair of tall columns. The height draws your eye to shrubs and trees.

tomato plants and trellis in Amherst NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

Many of us fence off our edible plants to keep rabbits and deer from eating them before we get a bite. If you don’t have that problem, there’s no reason you can’t mix vegetables in with flowers. And you can give your tomato plants attractive trellises.

5 Comments on “What can you learn from this Amherst landscape?

  1. Hi! Just wanted to Thank you for all the inspiration you give – though your articles and photos! you have a gift from God that you share with others, may you be Blessed right back!!!

  2. Thanks for the compliments. The edging is granite block from Felbers building supply. It’s durable and stable.

  3. Wow! What a nice thing to see on a cold gray day. I’d love some edging tips, are those commercial pavers or natural stones? Everything looks so well- maintained and neat but not fussy. Thank you Dan and Peggy😀

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