Imagine Your New Garden

Once you know what you have to work with, you can start the fun part - imagining what you want your new garden to look like. Visiting gardens and looking at landscape photos are great ways to discover what you like and don’t like. There a lot of resources for inspiration!

Questionnaire About Your Preferences
This questionnaire (PDF) helps you think about what you want and don’t want in your new garden.

Gardening in Contra Costa County
An interactive website offering virtual garden tours and vivid, color-photograph galleries of gardens and plants. Click on the Garden Tours or Garden Gallery tabs for landscape photos that will give you ideas for the look that is right for your garden. View a video on how to use the Gardening in Contra Costa County website.

Water-Efficient Demonstration Gardens
Do you wish you could really see what plants look like in a garden setting before planning on using them in your new landscape? Visiting demonstration gardens can kick start your imagination, showing you first-hand the appearance of the live plant in a much better way than only looking at pictures and text can. You may even discover plants you previously overlooked!

The East Bay is home to several examples of water-efficient gardens open to the public.

Garden Tours
Private gardens are open to the public during these special tour events.
Your local bookstore and library have numerous books on garden design and plant selection. Browse through them for ideas. The Native Again Landscape website has a useful listing of books for California Native Gardeners.

Suggested Books
  • California Home Landscaping - Creative Homeowner
  • Design with Plants - Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury
  • Designing California Native Gardens - Keator and Middlebrook
  • Garden Design - Chris Young - A Dorling Kindersley Book
  • Garden Design Course - John Brookes
  • Garden Master Class - John Brookes
  • Malcolm Hiller’s Color Garden - A Dorling Kindersley Book
  • Planting Design Gardens in Time and Space - Piet Oudolf and Noel Kinsbury
  • Reimaging the California Lawn - Carol Bornstein, David Fross, Bart O’Brien
  • The Essential Garden Book - Three Rivers Press
  • The Book of plans for Small Gardens - Michell Beazley
  • The Essentials of Garden Design - John Brookes
  • The Gardener’s Book of Color - Readers Digest
  • The New American Front Yard, Kiss Your Grass Goodbye - Sarah Sutton
  • The Perennial Garden - Michael King
  • Wild Lilies, Iris and Grasses - Nora Harlow and Kristin Jakob