The Importance of Landscaping


It’s cold out, and the last thing you’re thinking about is your front lawn. But for the sake of the imaginary home I’m building, I want to go ahead and get a little down-and-dirty in the landscaping department.

Landscaping is a crucial part of any home because it’s the first thing people see when they arrive. More than shutters and fresh paint, landscaping defines “curb appeal.” In my house, I’m (obviously) the one in charge of interiors, and my husband Michael handles what happens on the outside. That doesn't mean that he just makes sure the lawn is mowed and the sidewalks edged; Michael designs the outside just as I do the inside.

That means being conscious of color palette, not just in bloom color but in coordinating and contrasting the various greens, and we do have a lot of greens down here. He blends hardscape with lush foliage, and adds features for interest. He thinks about traffic flow, about how people use the yard, thinking about a yard as a series of rooms — intimate spaces for the two of us to enjoy a glass of wine, places for Sammy and Lily to run, and great landscaped patios for entertaining. I’m so lucky I found a man with an eye for design (and for designers, I suppose).


Michael is active in the yard, but we’ve had expert help through the years. And even with his great eye, he knows to talk through his plans with a professional. Even if his design ideas are perfect, he doesn’t have the encyclopedic knowledge of plants and soil types and sunshine and shade that they do. Plus, if you can get someone else to handle the fertilizer for you, by all means do so. That’s not a bad motto for living.

Before you meet with a landscaper, spend some time thinking through your style and budget. Instagram is a great place to search for designs, and if you’re in need of extra inspiration, you can check out the Pinterest board I’ve created here.


One quick recommendation: Page|Duke Landscape Architects are known in the southeast as the best of the best. I have worked with Ben Page and Gavin Duke on multiple projects and they really have a vision. Michael and I had a very specific vision in mind for our Tuscan-inspired home, and Gavin Duke was an asset to our project. If you’re a Nashville local, you would be surprised how many homes you drive by owe their landscaping aesthetic to these guys. Check out their portfolio here to see some of their fantastic work and follow them on Instagram @pagedukeland.

How important is landscape to your home design? Do you have any grand plans to start digging?

Mary Spalding is a Nashville based interior designer with over 30 years of experience. She has overseen countless home revitalizations, renovations, and restorations. She can be reached with your projects and ideas at

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  • As someone who has handled enough fertilizer in my life to fertilize the hanging gardens of Babylon, I totally agree with your motto for living!
    Oh the wisdom we gain as we age!

  • Hey there! Thank you and what a collaboration it was with you all. So fun. And don’t forget the day axel vervoordt and company walked on site and devised a wonderful idea ”why don’t you put the car park in the rear of the house? “ which left a beautiful uninterrupted lawn. Cheers!