Two For One — Shrubs as Garden Accents

Shrubs as Accents are GardenWise

Something I often think about is how to get as much as possible out of a garden space. I keep my eye out for multi-purpose planting choices, and like to include multi-purpose items.  A fantastic way to add a colorful and textural interest to a garden space is to use an eye-catching shrub as a garden accent, which will give your garden a additional focal point.

I was re-reading a 2100 issue of ASLA’s Landscape Architecture and came across a story about the very same idea — using shrubs as accents. I know, great idea, right? Below is the first page of the story (click once to enlarge) shows how a Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’ can be used as an accent to bring warmth to a garden space. The story, written by Marty Wingate, shows a wonderful picture of the ‘Color Guard’ which is used as an accent that provides a new seasonal focal point to a garden space.  

Intimate Indoor/Outdoor Garden Living

Transitioning from Indoor to Outdoor Living is GardenWise!

Ease of movement and flow are essential when connecting your indoor and outdoor spaces.  This can easily be achieved, especially in an older home, with a few inexpensive additions.  Changing a door style from solid to french, and adding a few wooden stairs, will create the connection between the two spaces.  Create areas in your outdoor space for entertaining, as well  quiet conversation.     

Here are before and after pics of a project we designed and installed in  Georgetown, featured in Home & Design, that shows how a bare space can be transformed into a zen and beautiful outdoor getaway. The transformation of the interior is amazing. 

By adding an arbor and a table and chairs, you’ll create an intimate sitting area and a gathering spot for friends & family. A water feature as a focal point by using an urn in a bed of decorative stones will add a couple of visuals while lending the wonderful soothing sounds of water.  Strategically placed potted plants with bursts of color and texture will soften the space while lending to an oasis quality.  A garden space with plantings and trees can nicely frame and enclose a space while blocking views to a neighbors yard or an alley.  


Look out for GardenWise‘s J. Mark White on HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” today.    This episode, featuring Mark’s real life clients, Matt and Chris, was a lot of fun to shoot.  Mark had the chance to bring Matt to the GardenWise Studios to see the different types of flowers and plants that thrive in the Washington, D.C.-area, which is included in the episode. 

GardenWise created, designed, and installed all of the landscape, hardscape, stonework, garden accents, lighting, and custon ironwork featured in this episode of Curb Appeal.  GardenWise, Inc. also owns the rights to design work.  

Below is Mark’s plan that the GardenWise crews installed, and a before and after picture.  


A GardenWise, Inc. Landscape Design Plan

In addition to the new brick walls, new front walkway, all new plantings and urns, and additional lighting we designed and installed for this episode of HGTV’s Curb Appeal, the custom iron work for this Washington, DC home helped make the transformation that much more interesting.

Here is the GW design plan, with iron work details for those who asked for a closer look!   

DC’s GardenWise and J. Mark White on HGTV’s Curb Appeal May 30

Curb Appeal Tips From an HGTV’s Curb Appeal Home

Here’s a home we did for HGTV’s Curb Appeal which will air again on May 30.  The front was neglected and dilapidated, and just kind of sad, with not a single foot of garden spaces for the homeowner to enjoy.  I added hardscape and iron elements that included the lower front brick wall, a new front walkway from the curb, higher brick walls, additional lighting for safety & new front steps, which separates and protects the home from the street.  However, the most important part of this home’s new “curb appeal” can be completed by any homeowner as a weekend project.    

The multi-level planting and use of urns and topiaries which drive the eye to the front of the home is a significant feature of this home’s new appeal.  Focus is granted through the use of symmetry and you can draw attention to home entries by using taller shrubs and garden accents to flank the entry, which will inject variation where you want it most.  This was the least expensive part of the project, and the difference between before and after is significant.         


Start 2010 with J. Mark White and HGTV!

Start 2010 with GardenWise, Inc. on HGTV’s signature program, Curb Appeal, on January 3 at 8AM.   Watch as Mark’s exclusive for HGTV landscape, hardscape, stonework, lighting, and iron work designs transform this outdated Washington, D.C.  home.  Be sure to keep an eye out for the beautiful iron work Mark designed that sets this home apart from all others in this Capitol Hill neighborhood.  GardenWise owns the rights to all of the design work in this episode, so feel free to ask Mark  about his work from this or other episodes he appears in on HGTV.   

GardenWise, Inc. D.C. Landscape Second August Episode of HGTV’s CURB APPEAL

GardenWise’s Second August Episode of CURB APPEAL

It’s a busy month for GardenWise as Mark is featured in his second episode of CURB APPEAL this month, airing on HGTV on Saturday, August 15th at 7PM. 

In this program, Mark creates a more classic look for homeowners Matt and Chris who wanted to put their own stamp on their home with a more open and welcoming approach.  Mark replaced the dated and uninspired entrance with a bold and broad open staircase that leads directly to the front door.  By adding a small landing at the top of the first staircase, Chris and Matt were able to add a bench to create an intimate and gracious seating area.  

The staircase continues to a new front door, and a new flagstone porch and stair treads that are highlighted by a decorative wrought iron  railing.   Furnari Iron Works did an excellent job bringing life to Mark’s iron work design which adds sophistication and elegance to the home.  Mark also created a shade garden, that includes a lot of woodland planting.  Other design elements include additional hardscape features and new retaining walls, additional landscaping, flanking piers, and new decorative lighting.

This episode was great fun to shoot as Mark’s real life clients Matt and Chris are a pleasure to work with, and Mark had the chance to bring Matt to his own home to see the different types of flowers and plants that thrive in the Washington, D.C.-area.  If you look closely, you’ll see a souvenir Mark picked up from an earlier trip to Greece — a cast!   Mark injured his foot in a motorcycle accident, and this episode was shot a few weeks after his surgery.  

Here’s an inside scoop for this episode — Mark reached out to popular Washington, D.C.-area architect Dwight McNeill, AIA, who met with the homeowners to go over choices for the exterior color palette.  Dwight’s taste is unmatched,  and  he saved the day by giving Chris and Matt the exact color combinations they hoped to find, which were used in the episode.  To see more of Dwight’s work, check out this  feature  story  from  Better Homes & Gardens and his web site, 

Below is the GardenWise, Inc. plan for the Curb Appeal of it all, as well as before and after pictures.   








D.C. Landscape GardenWise, Inc. on HGTV’s CURB APPEAL


Another GardenWise, Inc. CURB APPEAL Success!

Don’t miss tonight’s Curb Appeal on HGTV at 7PM with J. Mark White as the D.C. Landscape Design expert.   “French Bistro Front Porch” features the GardenWise, Inc. crew installing Mark’s design work that transformed this neglected and dilapidated D.C. Capitol Hill row house  into a true “Curb Appeal” success. 

With the help of City Iron Works, who did a fantastic job bringing Mark’s  ironwork designs to life, the new landscape, including the lower front brick wall, new front walkway from the curb, higher brick walls, new front steps, extensive multi-level planting, new patio, additional porch lighting, and garden accents, create the beautiful and much needed  garden space that successfully separates and protects the home from the street.  GardenWise, Inc. owns the rights to all of the landscape, hardscape, and ironwork design work seen in each episode of Curb Appeal that Mark appears in on HGTV.  

Here’s a little secret and some fun insight into how some of these design programs are produced.  This project actually took over three months to complete from start to finish.  Yes, three months!  Mark came up with the design ideas and put them to paper, creating a wonderful French  inspired design in two weeks.   The permits necessary to install the landscape, hardscape and ironwork, which is all of the design work in this episode, took two months to obtain by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the office that approves all building work in D.C.  Once Mark’s design plans were approved by the DCRA, things moved right along, and the GardenWise, Inc. crew installed the entire project in four weeks.       

Below is the GardenWise, Inc. plan for the Curb Appeal of it all, as well as a before and several after pictures.  For more information on this episode, please visit HGTV at






Landscaping After
Custom Ironwork