• When designing a garden area, view it from different directions and take notes of the light, shade and elevation. Draw up designs on paper.

• Repeat colors and textures throughout the garden. "We did grasses, evergreens, hosta, coneflowers and the colors maroon and gold," said Dan Engebretson.

• Do your homework on a plant's requirements before buying it. That said, if a plant you purchased doesn't do well in one area, try moving it to another area, hopefully one with more suitable soil and light conditions.

• If you live in a townhouse development, present designs to your association board for approval. "We were lucky to have friends and neighbors who value gardens. And it doesn't hurt if one owns a tractor to haul rocks," said Dan.

• Try to be environmentally friendly by minimizing chemicals, using organic fertilizers and avoiding products that are harmful to bees.

Lynn Underwood