Julia Pentecost Blog

A Master Plan of Smaller Projects


There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to installing a new landscape. We are often called to redesign entire areas of the client’s yard, be it the front, back or quite often, the entire property. Before anything can be done, the most important step is to create a master plan.  

Recent Posts

The Persistence of Pollinators

I know it's Cincinnati and we are apt to have unreliable weather, but this ongoing heat and lack of rain has many gardeners, especially those new to the challenge, a bit on edge. In my own yard, the plants are doing well. Those that are well established seem to soldier on with a bit of supplemental watering. The younger plants, ones that have been in the ground less than a year, have received a bit of extra attention: I like to make low stress gardens, but even some plants need attention in times like these. 

Taking Shape

The complete landscape renovation at this Clifton home is making beautiful progress. You may recall our first step was to remove most of the plant material from the front and back yard spaces: it was simply old, overgrown and not to the homeowners' liking. The hardscapes were in need of an update as well. And, while we were creating a bit of a mess, at least for a week or two, it was the ideal time to address water issues in the landscape. 


(Above: Thenew patio is in and the furniture os in place.)

Curved Bed Lines Bring an Old Garden to Life

Perhaps equally pleasing as seeing a new front landscape is the dramatic difference in the before and after of this recent installation. The yard was a bit overgrown, the bed lines not quite right and the island bed simply wasn't meeting the needs of the homeowner. A good cleaning of the landscape, removing all the unwanted plants, revealed a blank palette that was ready for a new garden. 


Notes: Julia Pentecost- A Design Partnership

The extensiveness of services I offer my clients ranges from a complete design with installation and ongoing maintenance to a more collaborative effort, such as with this garden. The homeowner is an avid gardener, but wanted some direction in establishing a large woodland landscape in the backyard. I provided the design, complete with foundation plants such as these lovely hydrangeas with white blooms to brighten the shady garden space and curved beds to add fluidity and visual interest to the beds themselves. With those elements in place the client is free to add annuals and other unique perennial finds. 

Are you ready fo a new landscape or garden, but don't want to do it all? Call me! I can handle it all from design to ongoing care, or work with you to design and install a new garden that you tend to as you like. 

A Quick Chat with Julia Pentecost

When you are  working on a new design when or how do you know it's coming together? When is that BINGO! moment?
A: Usually when I see a property and have that first meeting with the client I can start visualizing how it should work, but my ah ha moment usually happens when I am actually designing, working through the measurements, problem areas and challenges.

Was there a plant, a garden or class that was the moment you knew you wanted to be garden/landscape designer?
A: I knew I wanted to work with plants and designing when I was 15 years old. I started working at the Loveland greenhouse in the summer, it was an all glass greenhouse, and I worked there every summer, over spring break, weekends or anytime I could through high school. I knew the name of every perennial, shrub and tree we grew. It was a great experience.

Three Things Julia Pentecost Sees in the Landscape

When we begin work with a new client, we spend a lot of time listening to what the homeowner likes and doesn't like about their landscape as well as what they wish for their updated landscape. Then we examine the landscape, which has its own story to tell. The existing space offers clues as to how we may need to alter the landscape to meet our client’s expectations. Here are the first three things Julia Pentecost, a designer with Wimberg Landscaping, notices when she views a landscape for the first time.

The Curves and the Flow
The contours of a landscape reveal so much. Does water flow toward the house or away from the house? Are there low areas that might collect water? Are there steep slopes which could be a challenge? Water is both necessary in the landscape and, if not properly controlled, can be very detrimental to the landscape and the home.  

Health Status
You can have a lushly planted landscape, but if that plant material is failing, it may be a liability, not an attribute to the new design. I look for a specimen tree that is really lovely, a healthy row of boxwood or liriope that can be repurposed and show stopping perennials that may just need to be transplanted to fit into the new design. Whenever possible I integrate existing plants that are healthy and have lots of life left to give into the new plan.

Hardscapes Elements
If the landscape already has hardscape elements I evaluate them to see if they are in good condition, make sense, will contribute to the new design or need to be replaced. Hardscape elements are meant to last a long time and be enjoyed year-round. I take notice if a patio is too small for the house, a path is leading nowhere or a retaining wall is leaning. Sometimes I discover a beautiful boulder that should stay or an old stone and mortar wall with character that still looks beautiful. Understanding which existing hardscape elements add value to the landscape and noticing those that do not can improve not just the landscape, but property value and function.  


Julia, the lead designer and horticulturalist at Wimberg Landscaping since 2011, earned her degree in Horticulture and Landscape Design from the University of Cincinnati. Julia employs her 22 years of vast plant knowledge as well as hardscape design experience to make her clients' dreams and visions a reality. We asked Julia about her design process, trends she is identifying as well as her design inspiration.

Wimberg Landscaping (WL): What do you consider first when evaluating a client's existing landscape?
Julia Pentecost (JP): When I look at any landscape I first look to see if it complements the home and the space. Then I take into consideration the condition of the plant material.

WL: What trends in landscape design are you seeing in the Cincinnati area?
JP: Fire elements in the landscape are in demand. It can be as elaborate as a new gas fire pit, to a simple extension of a patio to accommodate a portable fire pit. Another trend is outdoor kitchens featuring a built-in grill, counter, cabinets and other kitchen elements. When it comes to plant material, sustainable, native and edible plants are gaining popularity.

WL: How do you describe your landscape design style?
JP: I design with the client in mind so every design is different. No matter the design style, I like the landscape to be interesting in every season and sustainable. The gardens at my home have strong structural elements and lots of colors and textures.

WL: Why does it behoove an experienced gardener to work with a designer and landscape company?
JP: A landscape company can take care of all of the not-so-fun chores such as pruning, edging and mulching. Our services afford the homeowner more time to work with his or her plants and enjoy time in the landscape. Also, a landscape company can identify and safely treat problems as they arise in the landscape such as fungal and insect problems, including diseases that aren’t always easy to treat. Many experienced gardeners will work with someone like myself to tap into our knowledge base and experience. Anyone who gardens knows that there is always more to learn, from design techniques to new plants. Partnering with a designer is a great way to gain perspective from someone who shares the same passion for plants.

WL: What keeps you motivated and creatively inspired?
JP: I love looking at landscapes everywhere I go, such as cityscapes, parks, home landscapes and arboretums. I'm inspired by what I see in nature every day.

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