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Pro of the Week – Glenna Partridge

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When it comes to making the most out of small outdoor spaces, Glenna Partridge is one of the best. With her hands-on approach, thoughtful consultation process and uncanny attention to scale, downsizers and city dwellers have come to trust her expert eye. And so they should. Just one look at her portfolio and it’s plain to see she has mastered the art of curating modest sized gardens.

“I have created a number of spaces now with planting mainly in containers and/or living walls,” says the Vancouver-based garden designer, who loves the challenge of maximizing limited square footage. “When you don’t have a lot of space to work with, you can still plant vertically.”

Which is exactly what she did with one of her latest projects. She took a penthouse rooftop and turned it into an outdoor oasis with a privacy screen and living wall made out of Western Red Cedar.

“I love how this particular project turned out because of the mix of the materials,” says Partridge, who appreciates how cost effective WRC is and how beautifully it weathers. “Custom WRC planters were made to go the length of the terrace, and we punctuated the custom troughs with large decorative fiberglass containers. The mix of the materials (WRC & fiberglass containers) gives interest.”

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Along with vertical planting, Partridge has plenty of other great suggestions for gardeners of all levels. Here, then, are Partridge’s top three tips for designing, building & maintaining outdoor sanctuaries:

Test the Boundaries
“Besides doing a rough design on paper for the space it’s always good to lay out beds and borders with a hose so you can physically see how they will look on site.”

Find A Pro in the Know
“Have a good contractor/garden designer help you with some of the larger building designs. These are investment pieces to your garden and pros can help you with the right placement and scale.”

Factor In Upkeep
“Every garden needs maintenance…even low maintenance gardens. There is no such thing as ‘no maintenance!’ Try to do a few hours a week and then it won’t get out of hand. There are other times where you might need to spend a day or 2 with maintenance like spring and fall clean-ups, or summer planting time. And there’s nothing wrong with having a glass of wine in hand as you do your deadheading in the summer!”

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