a Shirley Watts’ garden

Monday features two long-time friends (and family) of AGO. Oldest son Mitch took these photos of a Shirley Watts-designed garden a few years back and kindly agreed to let me share them here.

The garden had a lot of formal, established features and furniture to incorporate into the new design, but nonetheless, to those who know her work, Watt’s artistic eye and hand can easily be seen throughout. Like all Watts’ gardens I’ve seen, there’s a uniquely timeless, modern/classical fusion that always lends an air of tranquility and simplicity — but with plenty of startling details, beautifully sensual plants, and bravura flourishes to discover.

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Iron bedstead Shirley cut in half for the outdoor daybeds

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photos by MB Maher

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12 Responses to a Shirley Watts’ garden

  1. rusty duck says:

    That is beautiful.

  2. Love it, love it, love it. This garden looks great taken as a whole but it becomes even more special as you begin to explore the smaller vignettes.

  3. hoov says:

    well done, looks functional not just beautiful.

  4. Alison says:

    Thanks so much for sharing these photos! Fabulous.

  5. Just lovely! I didn’t want her recent talk here in Portland to end. I could have looked at her work, and listened to her talk, for hours.

  6. Anja says:


    What a beautiful garden – on one a Northerner exotic way.

  7. Amy says:

    Beautiful house and garden, and excellent photographs!

  8. Pam/Digging says:

    Gorgeous hardscaping, sight lines, furnishings, and plantings. Wow! Beautiful garden AND photos.

  9. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Incredible! She’s one talented designer/gardener and your photographer did an excellent job of showcasing this great garden. (Apples don’t fall far from the tree!)

  10. Denise says:

    So glad you all enjoyed the photos!

  11. Well-said, quite the mix you described of modern and classic. I also don’t feel so bad I refunded a return client from 12+ years ago, who doesn’t get gravel paths without edging…even if the desert is less densely planted. I think what I enjoy here is framing views using plant masses or informal hedges w/ sculpture or containers.


  12. Wow, I’ve never seen a Clematis look so elegant. And those Agave attenuata… someday I’m going to get one. Beautiful setting.

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