This past weekend I had the pleasure of touring several gardens during the annual Foster-Powell Garden Tour. It was a relaxing way to spend a sunny Saturday and find some garden inspiration. Here is a sampling of the gems I observed.

There were surprises up in the trees in many gardens. These lanterns would make a garden feel so magical if little tea lights were placed in there at night.

I am such a fan of grass-less front yards. This one was filled with perennial flowers and shrubs. I am not sure they have enough evergreen structure to make this hold up over winter, but I think it was only planted a year ago. The mulch ground cover likely keeps it low-maintenance.

This house was not on the tour, but I loved their use of potatoes as a sidewalk plant. It hides some of the ugly chainlink fence and is a great use of narrow, sunny space. If you don’t have the time or money to finish every corner of the garden, think about filling it temporarily with easy edibles like these guys did.

I can be too utilitarian in our garden, forgetting to make room for ornamentals here and there. The geraniums in this hanging pot reminded me of traveling through Italy. Sometimes a simple little touch can add so much.

What a simple and gorgeous gathering space! Grass mats hid the drab fence and screened the space from the neighbors. Outdoor furniture was painted bright colors. I’m not sure how much maintenance goes into the pea gravel ground cover, but it looks great.

Chickens and veggies! Two of my favorite things to see in a garden. The chickens had room to lounge with the vegetable beds out of reach. This colorful homestead also had a kids play area and a cozy gathering space. I loved the outdoor lights they had strung up over the garden – gotta get those!

Someone had a front yard garden run by garden gnomes. Gotta love the occasional fearless gardener who just lets their whimsy run wild.

There were little details here and there that I adored, like the way the blue flowers on this Ceanothus played off the blue house color. It gave the garden a calm, cool and relaxed vibe.

This gal had her work cut out for her: full shade backyard with a huge Doug Fir. Over a few years though, she cultivated a gorgeous four-cornered, English shade garden. There were lots of subtle colors and textures. Not many vegetables, but herbs and flowers really made it dreamy.

There were some major renovations being done on this house, which I am guessing this outdoor sink was part of. Imagine doing all your produce cleaning outside, where it’s fine to make a mess. I can dream…

I found the garden tour thrilling, but Juniper was not so interested. She slept through the whole tour while I wore her in a baby carrier, running from one garden to another. I walked away with some great ideas and I can’t wait til next year!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson