1. Find your passion.
Start with what you love most. Is it a plant, a color, an existing feature on your property? Pick just one, and forgo trends. Turn to what you've been drawn to for as long as you can remember.
2. Create unity with repetition.
Echo your theme in various forms throughout the garden. From hydrangeas to arbors, Verla has paid homage to her favorite color. "I even drank some pretty bad wine to get blue bottles for the garden," she says with a grin.
Left: A portable cabana anchors the garden and provides a place for reading and visiting.