Garden For The Soul | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

In most American homes, usually one must enter the home through the garden. Some people like it beautiful, manicured and structured, some like it a bit natural, low maintenance and some like it made into vignettes (me). I adore going through gardens and find many elements of surprise and various sceneries. A well-designed garden is based on elements of designs or elements of architecture, then textures, forms, colors and clearly marked pathway.

Plants variety enhance the garden and make beautiful sceneries. Follow the rule of sizes for the best look, tall plants go in the back (wall, fence or island), they are the sentinels of the garden,  short plants go in the front and then ground cover to finish.
It’s important to study the rotation of the sun around the house. The area with the most sun during the day takes plants that can stand full sun.
Use container planters and potted plants to move around and change the scene. Today, conserving water is of the utmost importance. Consider an easy maintenance xeriscape made of plants that are not temperamental and don’t need much of anything, only water, and seldom nutrients. I sing at my plants.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Corner Vegetation

Corner Vegetation

Colors. Can we ever do anything without thinking of colors? Absolutely not. Have you ever noticed when driving on highways, traveling miles after miles, that the colors of trees change from light to dark, and from monochromatic to complementary colors? The change of colors assures a harmonious drive to avoids boredom and to keep the drivers attentive. Color schemes in the garden are just as important for a great composition of light and dark, soft and bold, cool and warm, they just add pleasure in our eyes.

Succulent making pink flowers when in bloom

Succulent making pink flowers when in bloom

Style of the garden – classic with symmetry or free form?
In a classic garden, it’s important to create symmetry. If you look at buildings in Italy, you will see a row of windows with a triangle pediment, and a row with arched windows. Then look down and will see two columns of the same size framing the entry of the building. In classic architecture, details are symmetrical to infuse peace in the eyes of the viewers. It is the same when creating a classic garden. The position and the cut of plants must be symmetrical. Curves are the details of a classically designed garden, which is usually an area with flower beds all around the curves to make us feel embraced. Most often in the center of a curvy area, there is a water source, a fountain, a pond with colorful fish, or a small pool.

Allied Art Round Area Garden

Allied Art Round Area Garden

A free form garden is made of whatever you want, just don’t mix the styles. For example, in a Japanese style garden, there will be a small bridge, stone lanterns, maybe a Buddha, stones of different shapes, and some sandy area. In a fantasy garden, there might be fairies and gnomes, whimsical metal sculptures, funky statues and everything that strikes your fancy.

Garden Fairies

Plant an orchard. If space allows it, in between flowers, you might want to cultivate some of the food you eat. We know how effective color blocking is in fashion and in interiors, use the same method to create a color blocking for products in the same family, for instance, red and green romaine lettuce, purple and green cauliflowers, green and purple cabbage, yellow and multicolor corn. You get the idea.

My orchard with funky characters

My orchard with funky characters

Lighting – I can’t stress enough how important lighting is for the garden, mainly for security purpose and to beautify. The entry landing should be always well illuminated, that’s where we greet people, the light should feel welcoming. The light around bushes under windows will keep unwanted people away and pathways must be clearly defined. Led lights are the best solutions today – https://bit.ly/2LDa4zU.

Led Solar Light

Led Solar Light

 

Following these simple criteria will help to conceive a beautiful garden. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina is an Italian Interior Designer since 1990 designing for the USA and Europe’s markets. She loves to remodel homes and gardens. With her many years of experience, she is able to cover a wide range of design solutions. Often her clients ask to design the landscape concept complete with lighting to complement the interiors she restyles. She creates “exterior rooms” as she calls them and limits the garden design only to vignettes, no structural work. She offers design consultations online anywhere in the world through Skype and Zoom. Valentina is the author of four books available on
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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Arrow To The Front Door | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Choosing a design for an interior space, a garden or outdoor space for some people is an overwhelming task. To get ideas a long process of collecting things starts: photos from magazines, roll millions of Pinterest and Instagram images, color chips, textures and hard material. Some people put those pictures in folders, some create visual boards, some other scatter them all over tables, on the floors, stick them on the walls, fill up their computer, get confused and make the task more difficult than anticipated. If all the ideas are there, why is it so difficult to choose colors, style, appearance of a room, or create a nice corner in the garden? The reason is simple. Each design has its distinctive style, if the designer’s work has been done correctly, each room we see in magazines and online reflects the customers’ personality. Trying to compose a puzzle with a color from one picture, a detail from another picture and a style of furniture from one more picture will never work. Designing to follow own personality and lifestyle is the way to go to assure a successful design. (Click on each photo to view it larger).

EntireView(Before) 

This project was developed online, I knew nothing about the virtual client, but soon everything became clear during our conversations online. She mentioned the existing driveway was too straight and long, too gray, too much concrete, too much grass and no harmony or colors in the vegetation. To her eyes the driveway seemed more like a spear shooting straight to her front door. I also kept hearing themes of mysticism and Feng Shui in her conversation with me. Right there I had her answer. I thought of adding games of lights between plants, running water and create a moon garden with plants that would shimmer silver highlights under the moonlight.
exist.cond(Before)

Her house is a contemporary Mediterranean style, in fact the area where she lives is called “Tuscan Hills”. It is located in a newly built development area, clinging to the hill where weeds grew freely and now huge houses propped in clusters take over the hill.  All the houses resemble large cubes missing the true elements of Tuscan Hills and especially missing the Tuscan personality.

©CortileSolut1
First, I tackled the small courtyard at the entry by adding flag stone on the pavement, travertine quoin stones around the door, round travertine landing steps with step lights, window sills and a colorful mosaic fountain with lights. A gazing globe and two larger planters with tall plants would close the vignette. I got rid of the dolphins jumping in the air without water in sight. In a beach house dolphins would have been perfect in a running fountain.

©DrivewaySolut1a

For the driveway I choose an “S” shape designs to avoid that feeling of a straight arrow going directly into to the entry door. Nice colorful pavers would substitute the grey concrete with inserts of medallions in contrasting color pavers forming designs of the sun, moon and star. If she wanted to keep the driveway in a straight line, the view of the second concept offers a harmonious vignette to look at while driving on the long driveway.

DrivewaySolut2a

The two design concepts I submitted to the client are self-explanatory. I played with colors and architectural balance. As the eyes follow the “S” shaped driveway, they will also go the up and down the tall and short plants, stop at the roundness of the rocks and feel joyous looking at the variety of colors. At night the moon will illuminate the silvery plants and in the daytime the sun will touch all the other colorful plants making them even more cheerful.
At this time all flowers and plants are in bloom, this is the time to redo a front yard, landscape, or your outdoor rooms. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val in ParadiseAs a designer in business since 1990, I am interested in helping people designing their interior and exterior spaces with an overall feeling of peace, relaxation and harmony that will draw them home eagerly. I am always looking to add that special touch with original findings to the spaces I design. Featured on Vogue Italia magazine, Gentry and many prominent magazines in California, appeared on RAI, National Italian T.V., my story as a designer continues. Find copies of my three books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

I For Illuminate Your Space | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/

Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, until Jan. 13, 2014, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information.
http://myatozchallenge.com/?s=Valentina+Cirasola+

I have the opportunity to design the exterior lighting of the house featured in my video. The house is located in an upscale area, but the landscape is not really upscale. it is utilitarian greenery. Most of the plants in this landscape are evergreen, lot of foliage and very few flowers. This kind of landscape is congenial for public streets, as it requires little maintenance and little water. Basically it’s a xeriscape planning, which is OK for today’s need to conserve water.

If I were the owner of this house, I would have had the guest areas, the main entry and the front yard made up with seasonal flowers. I would plant vegetation synchronized with the regeneration of each season, where one group of flowers goes dormant, while the other group comes alive and together swing out colors and scents all year around. Then I would make up a xeriscape for the hidden, utilitarian and not so pretty areas, like the service areas and driveway. This is my first time designing only the exterior lighting without redesign the landscape, that’s the owner wish.

All that green foliage doesn’t reflect the moonlight and makes the house very dark at night, while  during the daytime makes it very heavy. The front door is not easy to find as it is completely covered with heavy vegetation, making it not inviting either. There is no curb appeal and no focal point.  The backyard, with the exception of a few rose and Agapanthus bushes has no interest. Being the house positioned in an upscale area, it needs an elegant landscape with character and “manners” and not vegetation for highways.

I will eliminate outdated fixtures and will create layers of LED lights that will cast silhouettes on the walls and shadow on the ground. Some fixtures will have colored filter lenses to give some depth in the darkest areas, as the bamboo area and some trees will be illuminated with soft string of lighting. I will highlight the balcony wood rail with bullet lights. The backyard needs the ambience of an outdoor living room. My games of lights will enhance the heavy foliage and will change the feel of the existing landscape into a garden that is comfortable for the people of the house and their guests, livable, energy-efficient and easy on the eyes.

Sharing is caring. Share me as often as you like. Through Skype line, I offer design consultation on-line, other than the traditional “in house” consultations. I design for people all over the world without moving an inch away from my desk. I am here to help. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Cappello GialloValentina is an Italian Interior Designer since 1990 designing for USA and Europe’s markets. She loves to remodel homes and gardens. With her many years of experience she is able to cover a wide range of design solutions. Often clients ask her to designs the landscape concept complete with lighting as a complement to the interior design.
Valentina is the author of three books available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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