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


"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.


AJC writes about our storage spaces with style!

HGD in the AJC Homefinder's Jan. 7, 2014 issue

This time the article about our projects focuses on innovative ideas for outdoor storage spaces.  I love that the writer called them "Snazzy"! Three of our projects are pictured with one of them being on the headline page shown below! In addition there are tips from Danna Cain on how to make your storage space attractive, functional and certainly not ordinary!


5 Modern Fire Ideas for outdoor living areas … think outside the circle.

Photo by
Low maintenance fire features in the landscape

I’m loving these contemporary and low maintenance ways to add the warmth and glow of fire to the landscape. Think outside the circular fire pit and imagine linear fire! Here’s some examples I’ve found that introduce strong horizontal and vertical design elements. These are all easy to use and clean to use because they don’t require firewood. These modern fire features use either gels, propane or natural gas.The torches shown above are odorless, smokeless and portable. I can imagine so many ways to use this idea: scattered thru plantings, outlining a path, clustered as a focal point or anchoring the 4 corners of an outdoor dining area. These deliver the warmth and glow of a fireplace in a small space that will get people talking around your fire and about your fire.

Gel fuel powers the torches and the vertical flame pictured below. Both are instant fire that can be extinguished just as quickly and simply.
Photo by Venturi Flame

Linear burners, especially those with electronic ignition, are also easy to use. The fuel source doesn’t need replacing as often because most are fueled by hidden propane tanks. There’s also the option to connect to your gas line.

I love the simple, clean lines of the granite & stucco fire table pictured below. I would place comfy outdoor sofas around this for a very relaxing outdoor living area. The patio below it could be stained concrete or bluestone possibly edged with Japanese garden pebbles to echo the sleek luster of the granite on the table.

Uptown gas fire pit table

The reflecting fire wall below would certainly be the focal point of the landscape where it’s used. The bench shown, though beautiful and artistic, would not be very comfortable or practical in a residential back yard. I would suggest different furniture unless the theme is Minimalist or Zen.
Photo by Colombo Construction

The fifth idea I’d like to share is of a wrap around linear fire. Give me an circa 1950’s/60’s brick planter around a carport or patio and I’ll transform that space into something interesting, exciting and usable.

Photo by
All of these products make sense for the way we live today. Upgrade your home. Enjoy your outdoor space. I can design one of these ideas into your back yard. Construction is available also.

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


Atlanta InTown features HGD's Buckhead play garden

Before & After section features the Starr project

This kid friendly back yard design for a Buckhead home was featured in the April 2013 issue of Atlanta Intown. This client wanted an attractive play area that could easily be converted to more garden space when the kid grew older.
Here we leveled the yard and used granite cobble stone edging that complimented the architecture of the house. The large round sandpit will one day become a fountain just off of the rear patio with fireplace. The area where the custom play set sits will be an extension of the shade garden that features hostas and ferns.


On the cover of the AJC Homefinder!

"Outdoor Activity Havens" article 

What a thrill to open the Sunday paper and see one of our projects on the cover! The custom play set that we designed as a part of the Urquhart discovery play garden gets center stage.

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