Your Complete Gardens Guide: Beautiful Spaces Inspiring Serenity




gardening tools

Your Complete Gardens Guide: Beautiful Spaces Inspiring Serenity is a book by Jan Johnsen, a landscape designer and horticulturist with over four decades of experience. Her book provides practical tips and advice on how to create beautiful outdoor spaces that promote a sense of serenity and relaxation.

In Gardentopia, Johnsen emphasizes the importance of incorporating water features like fountains in garden design. By doing so, the garden can provide a sanctuary from outside noise, attract wildlife and offer a calming effect that promote a sense of rest and peace.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Gardentopia” by Jan Johnsen offers practical garden tips and advice to create serene outdoor spaces.
  • Water features like fountains can promote relaxation and serenity by providing a calming sound and attracting wildlife.
  • The key to incorporating water features into a garden is to find a design that complements the garden’s style and location.

Tips for Creating Stunning Gardens

In this section of the gardens guide, I will share some valuable tips for creating stunning gardens that will transform your outdoor space into a serene oasis.

To create a stunning garden, seek inspiration from books like “Gardentopia” by Jan Johnsen and websites and magazines like Garden Design. Additionally, consider incorporating water features like fountains or creating a power spot that draws attention.

Choose the right materialsOpt for durable materials like bluestone or granite for pathways, walls, and other hardscape elements.
Pay attention to colorUse color strategically in your garden to create visual interest. Consider the overall color scheme and how it complements the surrounding environment.
Plan for wildlifeIncorporate plants that attract pollinators and provide water sources like bird baths or small ponds.
Consider the soundInstall a fountain or water feature that creates a gentle sound, helping to drown out surrounding noises and add privacy.
Make the most of your spaceOptimize the layout, choose plants suitable for the space, and use design elements like mirrors or trellises to create an illusion of depth and expansiveness.
Maintain your gardenRegular maintenance is crucial to keep your garden looking stunning. Prune plants, weed regularly, fertilize as needed, and provide the necessary care to ensure your garden stays healthy and beautiful.

By following these tips, you can create a stunning garden that reflects your personal style and provides a peaceful and enjoyable outdoor space.


Designing Your Outdoor Space with Professional Touches

Designing your outdoor space with professional touches will take your garden to the next level, creating a visually stunning and harmonious environment. Jan Johnsen, an award-winning landscape designer and author of books like “Gardentopia” and “Heaven is a Garden,” provides valuable design tips and inspiration for garden enthusiasts.

Johnsen emphasizes the importance of incorporating elements like trickling fountains into outdoor spaces. These water features not only create a peaceful atmosphere but also screen outdoor sounds and attract birds and butterflies.

Michael D’AngeloUsing materials like bluestone and granite to add elegance and tranquility to smaller spaces
Epoch LandscapesUsing sleek spherical fountains to complement laser-cut aluminum panels, creating a harmonious design
Colossus Mfg.Incorporating fountains into backyard lounges
Amy Martin Landscape DesignCreating whimsical gardens with fountains
Molly Wood Garden DesignNestling a concrete water feature among native sages, offering a refreshing spot for birds, bees, and butterflies
Outside Space NYC Landscape DesignCreating cozy nooks with water features in urban environments
Gilmore Landscape ArchitectureUsing water features to enhance tight spaces and provide privacy
La HondaUsing aged materials and traditional designs to add character and a classic look
ChicagoShowcasing traditional designs that provide a classic look and feel
EcoScapes LandscapingIncorporating fountains into courtyards, creating welcoming and visually appealing spaces
Simon Orchard Garden DesignUsing fountains to create welcoming and visually appealing courtyards

Incorporating professional touches into your outdoor space can elevate its overall ambiance. By following the advice and inspiration from experts like Jan Johnsen, you can transform your garden into a serene and beautiful oasis.

garden design

The Power of “Power Spots” in Gardens

One of the key elements in creating a serene garden is the concept of “power spots” – special areas within the garden that have a unique energy and draw people in. Landscape designer and author Jan Johnsen highlights this concept in her book “Heaven is a Garden.” According to Johnsen, power spots are the areas where energy gathers, creating a sense of pause or refreshment for those who experience it. These spots can be created through careful shaping of space and the cultivation of moments of energetic exchange.

Jan Johnsen’s work has received critical acclaim for her ability to simplify design tips and inspire creativity. Her expertise is evident in her landscape design firm, Johnsen Landscapes & Pools. Water features, such as fountains, play an essential role in creating power spots. These features not only add a sense of serenity and relaxation but also serve as focal points, attract wildlife, and screen outdoor sounds. Designers like Michael D’Angelo and Efstathios Lazarides incorporate water features into their designs to enhance the overall atmosphere.

botanical garden

Whether it’s a sleek spherical fountain, a traditional cast lion-head fountain, or a brightly colored one, fountains have the power to transform a space and create a captivating power spot. To create a serene garden, consider adding a water feature that reflects your personal style and complements your outdoor space.

Enhancing Serenity with Water Features

Water has a calming effect on our senses, and incorporating water features into your garden design can greatly enhance the overall serenity of your outdoor space. Jan Johnsen, a renowned garden designer, emphasizes the importance of incorporating water features into garden designs to create a peaceful atmosphere.

Water features can come in many forms, from simple fountains to elaborate ponds and waterfalls. The key is to choose a water feature that complements the overall design of the garden and creates a focal point that draws the eye and invites relaxation.

In addition to enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a garden, water features can provide a habitat for wildlife and create a harmonious ecosystem where plants and animals can thrive together. They can attract birds and butterflies and create a serene environment that promotes relaxation and well-being.

Whether you have a small courtyard or a sprawling backyard, there is a water feature that can enhance the serenity of your outdoor space. From sleek and modern designs to more traditional and rustic styles, the possibilities are endless.

Consider consulting with a landscape designer who can help you choose the right water feature for your garden. They can assess your space, listen to your preferences, and design a water feature that fits your needs and complements your overall garden design.

Remember, water features are not just decorative elements; they are also sources of relaxation and tranquility. So, take the time to research and plan your water feature carefully, and enjoy the serenity it brings to your outdoor space.

water features in garden design

Water features in garden design not only add visual interest but also create soothing sounds that can mask outdoor noises and promote a sense of peace.

Captivating Content and Easy-to-Read Format

This gardens guide is highly recommended for both novice and seasoned gardeners alike due to its captivating content and easy-to-read format. Jan Johnsen’s book, “Gardentopia – Design Basics for Creating Beautiful Outdoor Spaces,” has been praised for its elegance, providing practical design tips that are easy to understand and apply. Readers appreciate the book’s captivating content, inspiring them to experiment with different design elements and themes.

Reviews note that the book is accessible to both gardeners and non-designers, making it an excellent resource for anyone looking to create a beautiful outdoor space. Johnsen’s writing style is engaging and straightforward, guiding readers through the design process with ease. The book’s layout is visually stunning, with beautiful photographs and illustrations that showcase the concepts discussed in each chapter.

Aside from her work as an author, Johnsen has also received recognition for her expertise in the field of landscape design and horticulture. Her books have been featured in prominent publications, such as The Wall Street Journal and Martha Stewart Living, where they have been described as “valuable resources for garden enthusiasts.” Johnsen’s extensive experience in the industry further affirms the value of her works, providing readers with expert advice and a wealth of knowledge.

Captivating Content and Easy-to-Read Format

Overall, “Gardentopia – Design Basics for Creating Beautiful Outdoor Spaces” is a must-read for anyone looking to create a serene and beautiful garden space. Its captivating content and easy-to-read format make it an enjoyable and valuable resource for both novice and seasoned gardeners alike. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your current garden, this book has everything you need to create a stunning and relaxing outdoor space.

Jan Johnsen’s Recognition and Awards

Jan Johnsen, the author of this gardens guide, is a renowned landscape designer and horticulturist who has received numerous accolades and recognition for her exceptional work. She was awarded the Award of Distinction by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) in 2019, which acknowledges outstanding achievements in landscape design. Jan is the author of several garden design books, including “Gardentopia – Design Basics for Creating Beautiful Outdoor Spaces,” “Floratopia,” “Heaven is a Garden,” and “The Spirit of Stone.”

Her books have received positive reviews for their elegant layout and accessibility to both designers and non-designers. Jan has also been recognized for her work as the co-principal of Johnsen Landscapes & Pools, receiving a Merit Award in residential landscape design. She is a sought-after speaker and teacher, sharing her knowledge at institutions such as Columbia University and the NY Botanical Garden.

Jan’s designs and tips have been featured in various magazines and websites, including Fine Gardening, Garden Design, and The Huffington Post. Her work has also been showcased in several national publications such as Country Living, Better Homes and Gardens, and House Beautiful. Her extensive experience and expertise in the field of landscape design and horticulture make her an excellent resource for anyone seeking inspiration and guidance for creating beautiful outdoor spaces.

Jan Johnsen

Tips for Creating Stunning Gardens

In this section of the gardens guide, I will delve deeper into the process of transforming your outdoor space into a serene oasis, exploring various garden styles and offering practical advice along the way.

Transforming your outdoor space into a serene oasis requires careful planning and thoughtful design choices. Here are some tips to help you create a stunning garden:

  1. Select the right plants: Choose plants that are suitable for your climate and soil type, and that complement the style of your garden. Group plants with similar watering and fertilizing requirements together for easier maintenance.
  2. Design a layout: Plan the layout of your garden, taking into consideration factors such as sun exposure, wind patterns, and the proximity of your garden to your home. A well-designed layout can enhance the overall aesthetic of your garden and make it easier to maintain.
  3. Maintain a healthy garden: Proper watering, fertilizing, and pruning are essential for maintaining a healthy garden. Regularly weed and remove dead or damaged plant material to prevent disease and pests.

By following these tips, you can create a stunning garden that is both beautiful and functional.

gardens guide

The Importance of Plant Care for a Serene Garden

Taking care of your plants is crucial for creating and maintaining a serene garden atmosphere, and this section of the gardens guide will cover the essential plant care practices you should follow. Maintaining plants and giving them proper care is crucial for creating a serene garden environment. Jan Johnsen, an experienced landscape designer, emphasizes the significance of plant care in her book “Gardentopia – Design Basics for Creating Beautiful Outdoor Spaces.” She offers a wealth of design tips that are accessible even to non-designers, encouraging readers to be creative in their gardening endeavors.

In addition to the aesthetic benefits, taking care of plants has several other advantages. One of these is the ability of water features to create a peaceful and soothing atmosphere. Fountains, in particular, can drown out urban sounds and provide a focal point while also attracting birds and butterflies. Incorporating a fountain into a garden design can help achieve a tranquil and relaxing ambiance.

Furthermore, plants contribute to the overall energy and ambiance of a garden. Jan Johnsen suggests that all gardens have a “power spot” – a place where the energy causes pause and provides a sense of refreshment or inspiration. By shaping the space and finding this moment of energetic exchange or pause, one can cultivate a garden that promotes tranquility.

Proper plant care also plays a role in welcoming wildlife to the garden. Native plants and water features can attract birds, bees, butterflies, and even pets, creating a harmonious relationship between humans and nature. Taking care of plants involves not only watering and appropriate maintenance but also considering the types of plants that will thrive in a specific environment.

Besides the aesthetic and wildlife benefits, plants also contribute to providing privacy and reducing surrounding noise in urban settings. The gentle sound of water from a fountain adds a layer of privacy and helps mask unwanted sounds, creating a more secluded and serene atmosphere in gardens that are frequently exposed to noise pollution from the surrounding urban environment.

In conclusion, plant care is essential for creating a serene garden. The proper maintenance of plants not only adds to the overall aesthetic appeal but also contributes to the peaceful ambiance, attracts wildlife, provides privacy, and helps mask surrounding noise. By incorporating water features, shaping the space, and using suitable plants, individuals can cultivate a garden that promotes relaxation and serenity.

Exploring the Beauty of Botanical Gardens

Botanical gardens are a treasure trove of inspiration for any garden enthusiast, and in this section of the gardens guide, I will highlight the beauty and design elements found in these botanical havens. Exploring botanical gardens is an opportunity to experience the artistry and creativity of landscape design, as well as appreciate the beauty and diversity of plant life. These gardens are carefully curated and designed to showcase different plant species, design concepts, and artistic elements that can be incorporated into personal gardens.

The peaceful visions of Japanese gardens, the cozy nooks and grand courtyards adorned with fountains; these gardens showcase the splendor of the natural world. With each visit, individuals can embark on a sensory journey, connecting with the wonders of nature and finding solace in the beauty of botanical gardens. The lush vegetation, vibrant colors, and diverse textures of these gardens offer a sensory delight for visitors.

Not only are botanical gardens a source of inspiration for gardeners, but they also serve as a sanctuary for wildlife. The soothing presence of water features, such as fountains, can enhance the serenity of these gardens and attract birds, bees, butterflies, and other creatures. These features can also serve as focal points and provide privacy, making them particularly useful in urban settings.

Jan Johnsen, a renowned expert in the field of landscape design, has explored the concept of “power spots” within a garden in her book Heaven is a Garden. These spots are places where the energy is palpable, drawing people in and offering a moment of pause and refreshment. Botanical gardens present ample opportunities to identify such power spots and incorporate them into personal gardens.

botanical garden

Visiting botanical gardens can be a transformative experience, providing inspiration for individuals to create their own unique outdoor spaces. By experimenting with different plants, textures, and design elements, one can create a serene garden that reflects their personal style and preferences. These gardens are an ever-evolving canvas that encourages creativity and experimentation.


Creating a beautiful and serene garden is within your reach, and this gardens guide provides the necessary tips, ideas, and inspiration to transform your outdoor space into a personal paradise. Through the work of Jan Johnsen, a renowned landscape designer and author, we have gained insights into the importance of landscape design and plant care in creating a serene garden space.

Jan Johnsen’s expertise and contributions to the field of landscape design have been recognized through various awards and publications. Her books, including “Gardentopia” and “Heaven is a Garden,” offer practical design tips and inspiration for creating a beautiful outdoor space. Her passion for teaching and speaking engagements has also made a significant impact in the industry.

By incorporating professional design touches, such as creating “power spots” and adding water features, we can enhance the serenity of our gardens. Proper plant care is essential in maintaining a garden’s beauty and tranquility. Visiting botanical gardens can also provide inspiration for personal garden styles and themes.

Overall, creating a serene garden space requires a combination of practical gardening advice and artistic elements. The gardens guide, along with the work of Jan Johnsen, provides a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for transforming outdoor spaces into personal oases. Start your garden journey today!

Can Home Gardens Bring the Same Sense of Serenity and Beauty as Public Gardens?

Many garden enthusiasts have discovered the joys of gardening at home. While public gardens offer breathtaking beauty and tranquility, home gardens can bring the same sense of serenity to one’s daily life. Whether it’s tending to fragrant flowers or growing wholesome vegetables, nurturing a personal garden can provide a peaceful retreat and an opportunity to relish the beauty of nature right at your doorstep.

What Are Some Expert Tips for Creating a Beautiful and Serene Garden?

Want your garden to be a tranquil oasis? Follow these expert tips for garden success. Start by selecting plants with calming colors like lavender or white. Incorporate elements such as a trickling water feature or a soothing wind chime. Utilize layered landscaping to create depth, and strategically place seating areas for relaxation. Don’t forget to add scented flowers like jasmine to heighten the sensory experience. With these expert tips, your garden will become a serene sanctuary.


Q: What is the book “Gardentopia – Design Basics for Creating Beautiful Outdoor Spaces” about?

A: The book provides design tips and inspiration for gardeners who want to add professional touches to their gardens.

Q: Who is the author of the book?

A: The book is written by Jan Johnsen, a landscape designer and horticulturist with over four decades of experience.

Q: What other books has Jan Johnsen written?

A: Jan Johnsen has also written books such as Floratopia, Heaven is a Garden, and The Spirit of Stone.

Q: Has Jan Johnsen received recognition for her work?

A: Yes, Jan Johnsen has received recognition and awards for her work in landscape design and has been featured in various publications.

Q: What does the book emphasize?

A: The book emphasizes the importance of creating a “power spot” in gardens, a place where energy gathers and inspires serenity.

Q: Does the book explore the use of water features?

A: Yes, the book explores the use of water features, such as fountains, to create beautiful and tranquil outdoor spaces.

Q: Is the book recommended by reviewers?

A: Yes, the book is highly recommended by reviewers for its captivating content and easy-to-read format.

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