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Make your shed an attractive & inviting destination!

Storage + Outdoor living provided by same focal point

The placement of the storage shed in this back yard makes it a focal point and a destination. After dining on the back patio, the owners are beckoned to take a stroll thru the garden to relax on the more intimate patio. There they can view the yard from a different perspective and enjoy flowering shrubs & features hidden from the previous view.

The photo below shows a clearer depiction of the small patio in front of the shed. What a nice place to enjoy a quiet moment in the garden and a chat with a friend! The french doors have a special appeal making it seem more like a garden house rather than a shed. The shape of the patio is interesting and flows with the bed lines.

After reviewing concepts, the owners decided on this position for the shed because it was centrally located and provided easiest access to tools. The French doors provide a wide opening for equipment and for letting in more light and air. All features that make this storage and work space more enjoyable.

All views in the yard lead to this same focal point. Here is the view from a bench on the opposite side of the yard. Large drifting and sweeping bed lines lead the eye thru the landscape.

Danna Cain, ASLA
Get more inspiration from the projects we've designed and built.
See our extensive portfolio!

Also see this project as the cover story in the AJC Homefinder
"Storage space with style"


Mini forsythias for small gardens & containers

Forsythia 'Show Off Starlet'

Add early spring color in as little as 16" - 36" of space

Everyone seems to enjoy the bright yellow flowers that forsythia bring to the early spring landscape but not everyone has the space for the full sized shrub that can easily reach 8' tall. Now there are miniature and dwarf varieties available! These jewels ranging from 16" - 36" as lovely in containers, mixed in perennial borders or added as accents among broadleaf evergreens and conifers.

Forsythia 'Dwarf Mini Gold'
Dwarf Mini Gold, pictured above, is lovely in a container mixed with herbs and annuals. At only 16" - 24", it's the smallest variety that I've found. Show Off Sugar Baby is a close second at only 18" - 30". Sugar Baby is a Proven Winner so should be easy for do-it-yourselfers to find at nurseries who participate in that program.

The dwarf variety from Proven Winner is Show Off Starlet at 24" - 36". Others in this size range include Arnold's Dwarf, Goldilocks, Gold Tide, Happy Centennial and Golden Peep.

Forsythia 'Show Off Starlet'
Dwarf and mini varieties pack more flowers per branch than old fashioned varieties. Some even hold their flowers for longer periods of time. Most have upright, erect stems rather than arching stems.

Forsythias are tough plants that can be used in any sunny to part sun area of the landscape. They are very forgiving of soil types, help to prevent erosion on hillsides and are even deer resistant!

Looking forward to using these in my designs! Are you ready to add this lovely yellow shrub to your landscape? Then contact me to schedule your Initial Consultation or Garden Walk now!

Danna Cain, ASLA


Freeze Damage & Ice Storm Breakage on plants & trees

freeze damage on plants

What to do if your landscape was hit by the snow and ice of Winter 2014

Record breaking low temperatures caused a sustained deep freeze this winter. This was followed by an ice storm and cover of sleet and snow that lasted for days. Most of the plants that are used in our landscapes in zones 7a & 7b are not rated to handle this type of weather. Some damage is likely. The extent of the damage won't be known till late April or May. Wait until then to determine what needs to be pruned or replaced. The exception would be any plants or trees that may have broken or become uprooted due to the weight of the ice and snow.

As the snow and ice melts, again, I venture outside to observe what affect this has had on my landscape. There's obvious leaf damage on azaleas, loropetalum, indian hawthorne and other broadleaf evergreen shrubs. My beloved rosemary looks sad too. All of these plants have leaves that have turned black, grey or another peculiar color. Some have lost a few leaves, others have lost most of their foliage. The cold damage is most obvious on foliage. Severely affected foliage will drop off of the plant so be prepared to rake and remove this foliage. Don't prune the bare branches now. They might resprout leaves. Wait and see what happens. 

Atlanta landscape freeze damage
Azalea foliage with freeze damage

What you may not notice immediately is damage to flowers, flower buds, bark and roots. Flowers on camellias certainly did not make it. Flower bud damage on camellias is easy to spot due to the size of the bud at this time of year. If the buds are black, they are obviously dead and will typically fall off the plant. The debris from flowers and buds should be removed from the ground so as not to harbor fungal diseases.  Other plants with developing buds may have sustained damage thus there will be less flowers this year. Some plants and trees experience split bark which then causes the limb following the split to decline or die. This happens often on indica azaleas and yaupon trees. Root damage is harder to detect. I will be observing plants throughout metro Atlanta and will share typical findings in future blog posts, so stay tuned!

freeze damage on camellias
This camellia flower is damaged,
but buds and foliage look fine

Some pansies have damage, especially red & white ones. The bleached leaves and stems can be pinched back to remove that damaged foliage. The pansies will recover quickly.

atlanta landscape freeze damage pansies
Frost damaged Pansy. Image thanks to Simply Flowers

If a young tree or shrub became uprooted due to the soft soil and weight of ice and snow, it should be straightened as soon as possible. No need to rush out in the snow to do this, just get it done in the next week or so. Do not yank on the trunk to pull it upright. Instead, the root ball should be dug and shifted to the upright position. Stakes will be needed to hold the plant upright. Pruning is recommended to reduce the weight of the canopy and the limb-to-root ratio. This plant then needs to be treated as a newly installed item so be sure to water it and give it some tender loving care.

Major broken limbs on large shrubs and trees should be pruned soon also. Additional pruning might be needed to reshape the entire tree or shrub to return it into a balanced shape. Always make pruning cuts at the branch collar. Do not use black pruning paint over the cut. The trunk of the shrub or tree will heal on it's own if you prune it as indicated. Make your first cut where indicated. This reduces the chance of the limb ripping off the tree. Your second cut (2) will remove most of the limb and weight so that it is easy to make a clean third cut at the branch collar. 

how to prune large tree limb
How to prune a large limb

Schedule a "Garden Walk and Plant Consultation" if you need assistance with pruning. I can advise what needs to be done or teach you how to do it. Later in the spring I can evaluate what needs to be replaced and help you decide if the same plant should be reinstalled or a different species chosen.

Danna Cain, ASLA
Home & Garden Design, Inc.
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Atlanta City Biz picks up our news

More great press!

Home & Garden Design's recent receipt of 4 awards has caught the attention of Atlanta City Biz. See the article

Atlanta Business Chronicle recognizes us in "People in the News"

Professional recognition given to Danna Cain

Exciting things are happening when the Atlanta Business Chronicles notices! We're thrilled about being included in "People in the News". See what was published in the .BizJournal


"Best Of Houzz". HGD wins for second consecutive year!

"Best of Houzz 2014" Customer Satisfaction Award given to Home & Garden Design, Inc. - Atlanta.

We are beyond excited to receive this for prestigious award from the Houzz community for a second consecutive year. We were chosen to receive this award by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community. Only 3% of all Houzz professionals receive this prestigious award that comes with a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz. You can see our profile here.

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish - online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality. For more information, visit
This national recognition is so significant, as it is based solely on our clients’ satisfaction. We work closely with our clients throughout the entire design process to make sure that they are happy with every decision. In fact, we encourage them to utilize the inspiring photos on Houzz to communicate with us about their dreams. The Houzz database is easily searched for plants, hardscapes and design styles which our clients can assemble into digital "Ideabooks". These quickly and clearly enable us to understand the look that our clients prefer.
best of houzz danna cain

We then start the design process by providing multiple concepts for them to choose from, and then build on each decision until the entire project pulls together. Creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space is a thoughtful process that requires both artistry and technical knowledge. We truly love what we do and thankful to Houzz for this wonderful resource.

You can see our profile here.


2 "Awards of Distinction" received from UAC

HGD wins first professional awards from UAC

Our first entries into this professional annual awards competition earns HGD two "Awards of Distinction". Hoover's front yard makeover and Urquhart's discovery play garden both received honors. We're honored to have our work recognized by both our peers as well as the public.

You can also see Hoover's project which was recently won 1st Place landscape by Home Improvement Magazine

Urquhart's discovery play garden was recently featured in the AJC Homefinder

"Green Star Award" received for environmental sustainability

Urquhart project by HGD receives more honors!

The Urquhart discovery play garden in Alpharetta was awarded the coveted "Green Star Award" by UAC, the Urban Ag Council of Georgia. This professional landscape award is given once a year to projects that exhibit innovative and sustainable solutions.

This back yard was created to provide a healthy and safe place for the children to play and discover nature. Everything is eco friendly from the raised beds of chicken manure compost & worm castings to the selection of plants for an organic vegetable garden, butterfly garden plus other plants in the landscape that will attract pollinators and beneficial insects. Hardscape are permeable. The design is water wise with drip irrigation that has state-of-the-art weather monitoring system for automatic adjustment based on current weather conditions.


Three Awards just presented to HGD

Milestone Night!

Danna and Conrad Cain of Home & Garden Design, Inc. won three professional awards last night at the Urban Ag Council of Georgia's annual competition. Here we are with Walter Reeves who was the presenter and master of ceremonies.

Flashback to 1997 when we received three awards in one night from the Georgia Green Industry Association.


Rolling Planters move with the sun

Rolling planters present an opportunity to grow flowers and edibles in places never before possible.

What if the sunniest place in your yard happens to be in the middle of the patio where your tables and chairs are? Since you rarely sit there every day and certainly not all day long, consider this ... push the furniture aside and roll your planters to that location so your plants can benefit from the rays of the sun!

I discovered these planters while searching for a solution for a family living in a mid century Modern home. The industrial look of these planters fits their style perfectly. The general concept is workable, however, for any style. Choice of materials, trim and color can easily modify the idea to work with a Traditional or even a Zen garden.

The key is heavy duty wheels that swivel so the planter can be moved easily in a small space. A light weight soil mix would be a benefit too, such as the soil used for roof top gardens, green roofs or hanging baskets.

I can't wait to find more uses for these planters along a driveway, near a pool, or even to transform the parking lot of a church or school. There are so many paved areas that are very sunny and unoccupied during the week or during the summer. Let's make that space productive and beautiful with edibles, flowers, and even fragrant small shrubs.

Get details about the planters shown in the photo above at and Both are shipping from the West coast. I will be looking for other planters from suppliers located closer to each job site. Let me know if you discover anything.

Read more about us and my ecological, sustainable landscapes.

Danna Cain, ASLA
Home & Garden Design, Inc., Atlanta

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