Natalie Selker Blog

Pollinators Carry On Through the Seasons


Despite the heat and lack of rain, the gardens are still alive with drought resistant perennials and the continuous motion and song of pollinators. When I visit with new clients, especially those who have not had the opportunity to enhance their landscape, the feeling is summer has dragged on too long and the gardens are finished. But that's when I get to share the good news, that when a garden has a healthy selection of drought resistant plants and shrubs, the gardens, while they may be little on the dry side, are far from done.

Some of my favorite pollinator plants are naturally drought resistant. So while the heat dragged on a bit too long, many of my go-to plants were, and still are, looking rather fine. Add to that, the plants are still attracting pollinators in droves. Even plants that are starting to fade a bit are still covered in bees. And should this oppressive heat and drought carry on one week too long, the pollinator-friendly trees and shrubs, chosen for their texture and architectural form, will sustain the beauty of the landscape. 

Recent Posts

A Simple Elegance

This small front and side yard makeover called for restraint to create a setting of simple elegance. Not every yard begs to be a garden, sometimes it asks for refreshed garden lines, a pleasant view from a window, updated plant material and new hardscapes to ease visitors through the yard to the front door.

Such was the case with this Hyde Park home. In a way, I feel like we took what the original idea was for the landscape and rearranged it a bit, injected a bit of Southern influence and added cleaner lines and a lovely splash of color in the side yard. 

Small Spaces, Big Garden Dreams

After a day of designing new landscapes for our clients and visiting gardens as they are being installed or that were created last year, I often come home feeling a bit like the shoemaker whose kids have no shoes.

With two young boys at home, much of our yard is designated a play area: as it should be. But that doesn't mean I haven’t carved out some space to experiment with new materials as well as plants. At the foot of our deck I have a modest garden in which I use to experiment with various hardscape materials, shapes and of course plants.

If you are in the same situation, more inclined to have a yard for play than gardens, a small garden space tucked in the landscape is an attractive alternative to one large garden. Smaller gardens provide a manageable way to keep your garden interest thriving. They also allow you to experiment with plants you may want to plant en masse when the yard transitions from playfield to expanded garden spaces.


The Stone Planting Wall

You would be hard-pressed to find a yard in Cincinnati that doesn't have some slope to it. Some yards are quite steep and others, like this one, have a gentle incline from the sidewalk. The slope of this yard, as well as the clients' desire for a landscape of distinction inspired by nature, guided me in the design of this stone wall. 

Starting the Design Process with Natalie Selker

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">&ldquo;The first meeting with a client and touring the landscape reveals a great deal of information,&rdquo; shares Natalie Selker, Landscape Designer with Wimberg Landscaping. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m beginning to learn the new landscape, how it is now and what potential it holds as well as meeting the new clients to discover their expectations for their property. It really is an exciting time.&rdquo;<br /><br /></span><strong>The Landscape&rsquo;s First Impression<br /></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">&ldquo;That first look at a landscape and the neighborhood in which it resides speaks volumes,&rdquo; Natalie shares. Natalie looks at the landscape&rsquo;s topography, water drainage and retention as well as viable plants that may be incorporated into a new landscape design.<br /><br /></span>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s great when we can incorporate existing, healthy plants into the a new design. But sometimes a closer look at the plant material reveals disease, damage or simply the wrong plants for the space and we need to start from scratch,&rdquo; Natalie says.<br /><br />The neighborhood also provides clues as to the direction of the landscape redesign. If a landscape is well below par for the street, bringing it up to snuff may be the first objective. The look and style of the surrounding landscapes is also quite telling. As Natalie explains, &ldquo;many times a client simply wants to be in line with the surrounding landscapes. The style and plant density is something they want created in their own yard. On the other hand, we have clients that are embracing the new garden theory of more naturalistic plantings. When this happens the client often requests a more conventional garden in the front and a more natural design in the back.&rdquo;</p>


Wimberg Landscaping is pleased to announce a new addition to our design team, Natalie Selker LEED AP BD+C. Natalie brings her love of incorporating nature inspired design and sensibility to her large scale projects as well as more intimate, residential designs. I asked Natalie to share what inspires her designs and what she believes makes a successful landscape.

Natalie, let’s start at the beginning. Where did you study landscape design?
I earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder in Environmental Design with an emphasis in design. I went on to earn my master's degree at the University of Colorado in Denver in Landscape Architecture. I built upon that well-rounded design degree by specializing in landscape architecture where I learned design theory, history and overall concepts. I was taught to design big (with no budget to be considered) which pushed me to go beyond what was typical and expected. Today, I apply that out-of-the-box design insight to all my projects, from pocket-size backyards to large commercial projects.

Everyone has that moment when they fell in love with designing with plants. What was yours?
I discovered landscape architecture my junior year in college. I enjoyed creating models so I shadowed the masters program where I fell in love with the landscape architecture studio and using plant material to design interest through layers, textures and colors. It was at my first landscape design job after graduation that I was given the opportunity to study for the LEED exam. Even though mostly architects were taking it at the time (it is very architecturally focused on building systems), I felt that it could only help me professionally. Throughout the years I have been contracted to help on various residential and commercial LEED projects.

What landscapes inspire you and why?
Natural landscapes in any capacity always intrigue me, from the simple colors of a prairie to the colors of the mountains. On the other side of the spectrum, I love the very formal and manicured gardens found throughout Europe. Surprisingly, one of my favorites was a kitchen and herbal garden in Ireland because not only was it beautifully laid out and quite formal, but it was juxtaposed with the irregularity of the plants and vine's natural tendencies.

What makes for a successful landscape?
A successful landscape needs to be loved by the one experiencing it. If I can help a homeowner create outdoor spaces and rooms they love whether that’s in the form of a simple garden bed re-design or creating a space they've always dreamt of, it doesn't matter, as long as they are happy with the result. However, I believe the most successful designs have varied colors and textures that can be experienced through all seasons in some capacity.

What do you first notice when visiting a new landscape?
The first thing I want to ascertain is how is the outside of the client’s home going to be used. Do the homeowners entertain? Do they garden? Do they like to experience their garden from the outside or would they prefer to experience from the inside looking out? Having a clear understanding of the client’s expectations enables me to create a beautiful landscape plan that makes their vision come to life.

How do clients benefit from your LEED certification?
I am more conscious of how my client’s landscapes affects their home's sustainability.

When you are not designing, how do you spend your time?
I love spending time with my husband and two boys, especially when we are traveling. My family and I love snow skiing and biking the many trails Cincinnati has to offer. I enjoy growing herbs and making delicious meals. Baking is my true passion, I love baking pies, cakes and of course cookies!

Call today to set up an appointment with Natalie.
Natalie Selker
Landscape Designer

Voted Cincinnati’s
#1 Landscape Company

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