My wife Julie and I had the great fortune to take two wonderful trips this past vacation season, and while we were there we picked up some inspiration for your Knoxville landscaping:

Washington, D.C.

In September, I joined Julie as she traveled to Washington, D.C. for a business trip. While I was exploring, I came across a few key things that I hope will provide you some Knoxville landscaping inspiration.

Seating. Washington, D.C. is a busy city that’s designed with pedestrians in mind so there’s seating options EVERYWHERE. From classic park benches to modern benches made of granite and wood, I was never at a loss for someplace to sit.

When you think about your own landscaping here in Knoxville, Tenn. It’s important to keep this in mind. If you’re planning a space for entertaining, you’ll want to consider how you (or your landscape architect or designer) can creatively incorporate seating into your outdoor space. 

Wood Bench

Multi-Purpose Features. A wall cap at the entrance to the National Geographic Museum caught my attention. The purpose of a wall cap is to clean up the visual appeal of the wall. This cap accomplished that, but did so with some whimsy that makes it stand out and creates a unique look for the space. What could have been a boring stone cap in an ordinary space became the essence of National Geographic with the relief of a mountain range and body of water in copper, which as it patinas, keeps the space interesting and dynamic over time. 

Wall Cap

Cleanliness. The city was clean in terms of both maintenance and design. The materials that have been selected for public plazas, monuments and buildings — granite, marble, limestone and concrete — evoke a feeling of permanence that’s appropriate in the world’s most powerful city.

Clean landscaping

The use of curbs, seat walls and ornamental fencing serve to keep people out and landscaping in, an approach that helps the longevity and sustainability of the planting spaces.

So when you’re thinking about your own landscaping projects, consider how clean you want the space to be and choose materials appropriately. Materials like those used in D.C. will provide a clean look, while flagstone, gravel and mulch might be better if you’re looking for a rougher, natural look.

It’s also important to consider whether you want or intend to interact with your landscaping or if you prefer to view its beauty from afar. There’s no one right answer, it’s about your own preferences and how you want to use your outdoor space.

Places to Be. D.C. also had no shortage of places to just be. There was plenty of large, open spaces to meet in groups but there were other places tucked away that were great to just sit in alone. Some places were clearly designed to encourage folks to linger and others intended to just pass by or through.

For your Knoxville landscaping, consider where you want to encourage people to stop and congregate, where you’d prefer to sit quietly on your own and where you want to ensure smooth and easy transition from one space to another.

Open space

Lincoln, Neb.

We took our fall trip to catch a football game between Purdue University (my alma mater) and The University of Nebraska (the alma of Julie’s stepdad).

Light cover - maple leavesAs we were wandering around downtown Lincoln we passed the Arbor Day Foundation building. Although one might expect beautiful trees to dominate the landscaping of an organization like this, what struck me most about this design was that they chose a theme that worked — trees — and they stuck with it throughout the design in an unconventional way.

Rather than just planting trees, they used the symbol of the maple leaf. It started as a lighting screen and then was carried onto the retaining walls and raised planters. The bronzed leaves that look as though they’ve fallen delicately over the wall also serve as a deterrent for skateboarders who like to ‘grind’ on the edge of the planters, but more tastefully than most.

Maple Leaf Decor

For your own landscaping, consider what elements you can carry over from one area to another to tie your design together. Whether that’s a themed-detail like the maple leaf or using the same pavers or plants as subtle accents carried throughout your space, you’ll appreciate having a common thread that ties together all the elements of your landscaping.

Your Knoxville Landscaping

With this inspiration from Washington, D.C. and Lincoln, Neb., you’re ready to start thinking big about your next patio, planting or other landscaping project. You can also check out this blog post from our trip to Kansas City to get inspired about water features in your landscaping.

If you need more inspiration or are ready to get started, give me a call at 865-765-5550 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.

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