Fresh Lemonade Gardens

Landscape + Design + Lifestyle

Month: August, 2017

Garden Design: Sun-Shade Terrace

I’m so exited to share my first Garden Design!, as I explain on my profile, every project and its information is going to be public, so everybody can learn and get ideas for their own garden, terrace or indoor salon.

So, today’s design is about a particular “L” Shaped Terrace,¬†I was asked to design for this terrace a relaxing “tea time” area, a sunbathing area during the summer and a space for aromatic plants; Another tip is that the owners love maples and so do I (+1 for them ūüôā ).

General Information

The terrace is placed in the 4th and last floor, pointing to North,¬†it means that each side of the garden is going to have sunlight for at least a couple of hours. It turns convenient because “all” the different areas of the¬†terrace can be use depending on the needs (nobody wants some unused and forgotten areas and we are here to help!)

The idea for this project is to “divide” the terrace in two seating areas, the first one is going to be the relaxing “tea area”, with some shades and soft lights in the afternoon, while the “sunbathing area”, will have sunny afternoons.


Plant selection:

Different zones

A. Tea area
B. Maples angle
C. Orchard / Sunbathe

  1. Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
  2. Iris ‘Wedgwood’
  3. White Hortensias in tall containers (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  4. White Hortensias in tall containers (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  5. Hosta ‘Halcyon’
  6. Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’
  7. Coral bell (Heuchera x ‘Midnight Bayou’
  8. Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’
  9. Festuca glauca
  10. Bergenia cordifolia ‘Purpurea’
  11. Aromatic herbs



Tea-time area

The tea area (on the right), was designed as a seating area, with an outdoor sofa in dark wood with cream cushions and a tea table in the same material.

  • On each side of the sofa, tall vases or containers carry white hortensias or Hydrangea macrophylla¬†which, we love and will give the “big garden” effect to the terrace.
  • On the right side of the couch, Trachelospermum jasminoides or star jasmine, gives privacy to the owners and in the same containers, a line of Iris¬†bulbs like Iris ‘Wedgwood’ for a touch of color and different shapes during blooming time; it has purple blue flowers with a yellow mark on the center, it grows up to 65cm tall and blooms between late spring and early summer.

Maple’s angle

As the owners love maples, I decided to design an angle that contrast the tea area with colors and also shapes, this angle¬†needed to be as important as every part of the terrace, it could be a new sitting area in the future, that’s one of the reasons the plants are in separated containers (the other reason is the weigh a big and continuous container can generate on the floor).


  • The same line of containers in clear colors, carry red and acid green maples.¬†Those are filled with small ivy Hedera helix¬†that gives a falling effect and different shapes to the garden.
  • Winter bulbs like Galanthus elwesii or snowdrops will make the difference in cold seasons, mixed in the same container with the ivy.
  • Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’¬†is a 6m tall maple with yellow-green leaves and red coral brunches visible during the winter. This maple is in constant color change during the year, even in winter, when the leaves fall, the red brunches will give another shade to the garden.
  • Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’¬†is a 5m tall maple, with dark red leaves that change into vibrant red in autumn.
  • Small but strong plants surround the A. p. ‘Sango-kaku’¬†like: Hosta¬†‘Halcyon’¬†a half-sun to full shade compact shrub, tall 35-40cm and 70cm wide. It has blue-grey heart-shaped leaves and grey-lavender bell-shaped flowers carried on stems, tall 40cm.
  • Another great shrub is the Heuchera x ‘Midnight Bayou’ a dramatic coral-bell with red foliage, perfect for growing in containers and beautiful in contrast of green foliage plants. It grows well in partial sun, it is 30cm tall and 50cm wide, in summer it forms stems with white little flowers.
  • Next to the A. p. ‘Bloodgood’ goes the Festuca glauca¬†or blue fescue, an evergreen grass, tall 30cm and blue-gray foliage of erect tufts, it highlights under the red maple foliage.

Sunbathing in an orchard

Some aromatics will help the owners relax while sunbathing, a free space and seating area that’s not visible from the tea area, thanks to the shape of the terrace and the plant selection.

  • The aromatics selection is always easy and hard at the same time, because all of them are beautiful and tasty. Perennial shrubs like rosemary, chives and sage will work just fine to look at and to cook. Other herbs like basil and parsley are placed in separate containers so the owners can rotate and change them in winter.
  • In separate containers I proposed annual plants, like Pelargoniums, better known as geranium,¬†and change it if they want every year.
  • Also in separate containers, I propose perennials like the evergreen Bergenia cordifolia ‘Purpurea’ better known as elephant’s ears; It has rounded deep green leaves that turn into purple in winter, it’s¬†60cm tall and it’s perfect to help the garden looking alive in winter.

  1. Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
  2. Hortensias in tall containers (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  3. Hosta ‘Halcyon’
  4. Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’
  5. Coral bell (Heuchera x ‘Midnight Bayou’
  6. Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’
  7. Festuca glauca
  8. Aromatic herbs
  9. Bergenia cordifolia ‘Purpurea’

There it is!
It’s all about colors during the different seasons, contrasts between colors and shapes is all it takes to start a good project, I hope you’ve enjoyed it!.


Italy’s Beautiful Gardens: Villa del Balbianello

We are in beautiful Italy, it’s summer, it’s sunny and there’re big quantities of gelato.

Last sunday I decided to visit Villa del Balbianello¬†in Lake Como (North Italy), somehow I always thought about this kind of places to be full of tourist and I rather go first to the “local” places, but, obviously, there’s a reason why they are so famous, and¬†I’m glad I finally did it (after a long time, may I add).

Villa del Balbianello is part of the Italian National Trust (Fondo Ambiente Italiano РFAI) which owns a list of awesome historic buildings and gardens. Villa del Balbianello had existed since the 13th century and its firsts residents were Franciscan Monks. In 1785, the Villa was purchased and the changes in the building and gardens started along with new owners until 1988, when its last owner died.

It’s last owner was Guido Monzino, a¬†renowned Milanese businessman, art collector and a passionate traveler who left the Villa, the Gardens, the furnishing to the Italian National Trust; He also donated a¬†dowry which still helps to cover the Villa and Gardens maintenance.
Since then, they have renovated the Villa and partly turned it into a private Museum with Monzino’s art collection, memorabilia from his famous expeditions to the North Pole and the Everest (between 1971 and 1973) and obviously, the Gardens.


The Gardens

This time I only entered the Gardens, the thing I love the most and what I wanted to show you.

The gardens frame the Villa, they’re developed in different floors and paths, as they follow the rocky mountain shape. From the beginning the big shaped Platanus acerifolia stand out, a nice Magnolia and alternating Hydrangeas follow the paths. Then, as you keep walking, the Lake takes control of the view, it just blends with the gardens like a perfect painting.

The most interesting thing about this garden is that, because of the rugged terrain, they couldn’t design a formal “Italian garden” nor a romantic “English garden”, so, they had to work and create paths around the Villa and make an unique space that gives you the opportunity to enjoy the lake from different angles. You really get to discover different scenarios just by descending the paths.

They made a pact, between the formality of the design and the “informality” of the nature when they design the Gardens.

Numerous statues guard the surroundings of the Villa and get to watch the Lake through every season.


Plant Selection

  • Wisteria sinensis: full with color in late spring and early summer
  • Hedera helix: covering some walls facing the lake
  • Agapanthus: that welcome you if you arrive by boat
  • Buxus sempervirens: elegant and a formal icon from antique gardens

You can use some of this plants to make your garden a “Royal Garden“, it’s always worth to invest in some strong and long lasting plants, you’ll get your reward, trust me.

Also, you probably recognize the name of this Villa because its appearances on Hollywood films since 1990, like:

  • A month by the Lake (John Irvin – 1995)
  • Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones ( I said “probably”. By George Lucas in 2002)
  • Casino Royale (Martin Campbell – 2006)

Quick tip: if you don’t like crowded places, like I do, just try to go early in the morning, there’s basically no line, your photos will be better and the lights are really favorable in the morning, plus, if you want a summer selfie, your face won’t be all shiny and sweatty ūüôā
Also, I took the bus to get to the Villa; It’s about 45min from the Lake Como’s bus station and the price was around 6$ round trip. Lenno is the name of the village and the bus stop.


Marrakesh discoveries: Majorelle Garden

This time, I’m trying to give my blog a new and fresh direction, so today, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite trips I took this year. The destination: Morocco.

Last spring we (my partner and I) decided to go for the first time to Africa, this sunny and kind continent that we knew nothing about, its people, its food, nothing, so we booked a flight to the nearest and convenient place for both of us. I mean, I wanted to see some gardens, my BF wanted to do some surfing and both of us needed to eat some good stuff.

So, we arrived into chaotic Marrakesh, where we were welcome with some mint tea and amazing cookies (already in love with the city).
I dedicated myself to find some good green spots (very difficult, specially the “green” part)¬†to visit while relaxing at the Riad near to the city center, although, the riad had some vines, cactus and rose smell that make you feel in a natural place from the moment you arrive.

Our first visit was to the Majorelle Garden and it was so worth it! here’s why:

Majorelle Garden is a Villa were a Botanical Garden take place along with an Archaeological Museum. It took us about an hour to visit the gardens but you can bring a book and relax siting by the shade of their palm trees and bamboo selections.

A public open space diverse from others in Marrakesh, with nice refreshing and shade areas designed by the French painter Jaques Majorelle, passionated about botanics and gardening, who put heart and soul to the gardens and it shows.
Jaques Majorelle bought the villa in 1923 and  also, a rare variety of trees and plants for over 40 years, creating this unique and relaxing space.

There are plants from the five continents like:

– Cactus,
– Palm trees,
– Agaves,
– Bamboo,
– Coconut palms,
– Thuyas,
– Willows,
– Bouganvilleas,
– Tree ferns, among others.

This was the first time I saw a plant selection like this in the harmony of a real open garden, it was different, eye-catching, beautiful and surprisingly fresh.

My favorite plants, beside the bamboo areas and tree ferns were:

  • Echinocactus grusonii: known as golden barrel cactus or mother-in-law cushion (pretty funny), is a spherical shaped cacatus, endemic from east-central Mexico. It can reach 1m tall with sharp spines from yellow to white colors. It looks great in rock gardens, it obviously needs its space and it blossoms after 20 years old, so, if you like it, buy it for the beautiful shape.
  • Pilosocereus azureus: columnar cactaceae with beautiful blue stems, hairy areoles and golden spines. It’s very interesting for indoor spaces because of its slow growth, blue color and big flowers that cover the stems during the summer.
  • Carnegia gigantea: known as Saguaro, you probably relate it to western films (I do), it is a tree-like cactus with white flowers from april to june and it goes from 12m to 21m tall. Very flashy.

Quick tip: go early, that way you can take good photos and relax if you want to ūüôā