The Go-To Places for Landscape Design Inspiration

By Jay Ladell

BooksWhen it comes to choosing landscape design, knowing what you want and putting that into words are two different things.

Some of my clients can visualize what they want but struggle to express it and that is where photos come in for inspiration.

The best place for design inspiration is right in Ottawa. Go for a tour with your  camera in tow.  Discover what makes you stop and stare.

Find landscapes around homes that are architecturally similar to yours so it will give you an idea of how that landscape will look on your property.

Photos give you a feel of what you like and when you put enough pictures together you have a good idea of your preferences. Now you have something to share with family members and it will springboard discussion.

The web instantly  gives you images of inspirational landscapes. The social network, Pinterest ( is a pinboard-style photo-sharing web site where  you can make image collections of landscape designs. Houzz ( is another social web site with online scrapbook capabilities.

Click to for helpful articles and inspirational photos. Or you check out their online TV shows with jaw dropping transformations.  Just remember, it take just a bit more work than what it appears on TV.

To help you refine your ideas and prioritize, check out  these web sites: Better Homes and Gardens (www. and Canadian Gardening: (

Be sure to look at the annual landscape award winners on Landscape Ontario’s web site: (

Once you find a landscape you like, you can start to identify your preferences. Do you prefer a traditional or naturalistic garden?  What is it about a landscape that make you feel good?

Whether you are looking for an entertainment center, a private refuge or adding curb appeal, my Ladell Landscape & Gardens web site: ( which provides visuals of plant selection, building elements and ornamental features that are used to enhance residential homes.

I enjoy being unplugged, sitting down with a coffee and physically flip through magazines and garden books.  Here is a list of some of my favorites:

The Garden Source: Inspirational Design Ideas for Gardens and Landscapes by Andrea Jones and James van Sweden, 2012.

The Garden Book, published by  Phaidon is an illustrated A-Z guide to 500 garden designers.

The Essential Garden Book by Terence Conran

Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love by Julie Moir Messervy

1,000 Designs for the Garden and Where to Find Them by Ian and Geraldine Rudge (available in paperback)

The publisher, Taunton, produces a series of books about home ideas such as: Stonescaping, Frontyard, Backyard, Curb Appeal and Outdoor Living.

Taunton publishes spring edition magazines as does Better Homes & Gardens. The spring editions are distributed to bookstores and home and garden stores in late winter and early spring.


Article originally published in the O.S.C.A.R. newspaper

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