HGTV Landscape Designer Gary Alan

orchidtrader(z7 ok)February 18, 2010

Years ago on HGTV there was a wonderful show on landscaping with Gary Alan. I loved his design tips and the designs themselves. What I was wondering does anybody have any articles from magazines or copy of vidios from his shows ? or know where I might find them ? a fellow gardener told me recently that there was an article on him in Better Homes and Gardens or one of there other magazines Country Gardening but I could not find it.

I need to spruce up my front yard landscape and would like to review his work and ideals.

Thank You


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Seriously?? That guy in Florida who seemed to only use two plants in all of his designs (yaupon holly and aztec grass) and if you saw one show you pretty much saw them all? IMHO, you could find far more creative and inspiring designers to emulate but you can research his stuff here. Not sure how easily FL landscapes will translate to OK........

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 8:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with gardengal, but you might go to youtube and do a search.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
orchidtrader(z7 ok)

I have already searched both of those places. I myself have a degree in landscape design and want to bush up on my skills. In his show he gives great demonstration on planting bed shapes and the most basic design tips on how to keep the landscape flowing and keep it from looking not chopped up ! He did not use yaupon holly but a form I Ilex x attulata which in fact grows very well here in Oklahoma and what more can on ask for in winter color with those wonderful red berries of the holly along with the birds which feed on them.The aztec grass was used to give the landscape a sense of movement as with most grasses they give life to a stiff landscape with the slightest breeze. I am sorry you do not appreciate his sense of balance which create peace and harmony in the landscape ..........

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 11:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nothing wrong with reviewing past ideas. I must admit that the two TV shows that kept me fairly sane while very busy were the daily Gong Show which aired at noon just as I took a sandwich break and Gary Alan's PBS design program. If Gary's site is still active, ordering just one of the program tapes he offers should give you all the design information you need as his approach to low maintenance plantings and basic design formula never changed. Actually, I recall his programs to be quite relaxing with a rhythm throughout just like his plans; curves which continued over hardscapes, always curves anchored by a medium size tree such as Crape Myrtle.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 8:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
orchidtrader(z7 ok)

Thank you nandina... I very much agree.. and like you said I found his programs to be quite relaxing with a rhythm throughout just like his plans; curves which continued over hardscapes. He just had a way to make things flow. Sometimes when have done somethings for a long time its nice to open up are minds and take a step back and review the basic's again.. We just may learn something new or rethink the ways we have gone to over the years.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 11:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Some settings call for curves and some don't.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 3:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gar Alan did do nice looking projects and they were really good for a lot of the HGTV audience. He taught people to simplify. I don't mean that in a negative way. He got people who were not ready to deal with a wide variety of design principles and materials that force an understanding of those to rather focus on using a very limited pallet and very basic design principles. This is good because it makes it easy for the uninitiated to create a good looking landscape. There is nothing wrong with that.

It does happen to be very repetitive and simple, though.

My problem with him probably had more to do with the tennis shoes, shorts, and the way he butchered root balls on transplants (larger ones never seemed to make the final landscape, oddly enough). ... oh, and that little thing he'd do to flip the shovel off of the ground!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 5:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
karinl(BC Z8)

So sue me, but I'm suspicious of this post being kind of spammish. I mean, I'd never heard of the guy but I did a little search and Gary Alan has a website where it is not difficult to get an overview of his work. And your local library is a fine place to look through back issues of BH&G. And I don't think GWers are going to be sending you copies of videos or articles; there's a cost involved as well as copyrights. So why post here, unless maybe to nudge a little traffic his way?

Forgive me if you're a genuine fan, but something smells wrong to me.


Here is a link that might be useful: And look at this, Martha

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

Orchidtrader has been on GW since 2004, so I doubt he's spamming for Gary Allen. What I found a little strange was not that there were two posters asking about Gary Allen (millions saw his show after all) but that the answers to the two posters were almost identical - down to commenting on the root ball of a tree! That must have really stuck out in that episode! lol

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 9:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>the way he butchered root balls on transplants (larger ones never seemed to make the final landscape, oddly enough)Balled and burlapped plant materials usually contain soil significantly different than that of the
transplant site.
Differences in soil texture will impede both water movement and root establishment.
Root defects can only be found and corrected if root ball soil is removed.
Proper root preparation combined with best practices for installation will greatly improve tree
establishment and survival in any landscape

Here is a link that might be useful: The Myth of Collapsing Root Balls

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
orchidtrader(z7 ok)

Oh my goodness me a spammer ? and yes you have offended me !!! You say that you do not know the show or the guy so I guess I am wondering why you are even responding to this post ! Yes I am a fan but not a #1 type fan, but a fan. His show was very educational, in the fact, he showed the common person how to do landscaping using flowing curving lines and how to repeat plant material so that it tied everything together and for that he has my respect for trying to teach the basics to people wanting to learn.

I did look at his site but that is just a peek at what his landscaping is all about..... I have contacted him but in the mean time I was looking to learn more.... I am headed to the library this morning to look for more info. I was not asking people to send me things... I was only looking for other fans to share information with...and learn from... I am not asking for someone to make copies of their video's but I do believe his show is still being aired on some PBS channels along the east coast but not in my area and beside the fact if something is taped from a TV channel I believe that is public domain and not a copywrite issue.

I thought gardening was suppose to be fun !!! and part of that fun is to share information with other fellow gardeners .... so when we have success or failures with something in the garden we gladly share that with one another like when we have extra fruits ,veggies or plants it is nice to share the fruits of are labors with others. What is this world coming to !!!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 9:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

orchidtrader, as you can see, not everyone shares your opinion of Mr. Alan's skills as a designer. I'm not sure what that has to do with gardening being fun - it is for most of us - but for a number of members of this forum, it is also a profession and it's only to be expected that professional designers may have strong views about the process. If you appreciate his techniques, that's great for you. Unfortunately, unless you contact him directly and purchase copies of his TV episodes, if available, you may not be able to find much more than you have. The show is no longer carried on network TV and DVD's are apparently not offered for sale anywhere. He has also not published anything that I could locate other than a book of plans offered through his website. Maybe you would find that helpful.

Typically one trained or practicing as a landscape designer has their own rather specific and personal ideas about how to go about designing and exercise the same within their own garden, so it is just a bit curious to encounter someone who is looking for design 'tips' from another designer on how to "spruce up" their front yard.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 12:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
karinl(BC Z8)

Well then I sincerely apologize. I think the other thing that mystified me is that the advice you seem to be in pursuit of is not uncommon advice. It sounds pretty generic; very similar to what is found every year in any landscaping magazine or book or website you might come across, or what any of us here might suggest if you posted your property and asked what to do. The excitement about this particular guy saying such generic things, on two postings on the web no less, was suspicious.

So on a more positive note, I would recommend that you open yourself up to other sources. One of our favourites here on LD is the one linked below, but there are also many excellent books.

And you could also peruse old threads on this forum. I can't remember search terms to look, but what was the wonderful thread where the guy was doing his back yard in the middle of a subdivision, and the forum coached him from two corners to a whole flowing yard installation?

There are a couple of other good oldies that maybe some of us can recall and try to hunt down. We should bump them up anyway.

We have also answered questions about book recommendations before, you could search for those threads.


Here is a link that might be useful: Renegade Gardener

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 12:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Some people can work in the abstract and some work best pictorially, show a blue print to some people and visualizing it as a cathedral never gets off the ground (geddit?). TV programs can be annoying/useful because they are able to demonstrate ideas in real time, ideas that seem self evident to some. I don't know this guy or his program but from what Andrew says there was a fair amount of showmanship involved so if this gets your juices flowing, go for it, although it sounds like a jump start only.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 4:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Sudden leaps can also land you in a bad spot. The more you know about what you are about to do beforehand, the better.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 6:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

I liked to watch Gary Alan's shows also. If I remember, he was out of Jacksonville, Fla. area and I feel that he planted plants related to that area, where the summers get hot and there is lots of humidity.

Email Freda Cameron in Raleigh area; she has her own blog/website..Defining the home and garden or something like that title. Also writes columns on flowergarden for newspapers. Another one that might be able to help you is Anna Looper ( in Clemmons, NC

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 8:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ah! spontaneity as an after thought bboy. Be bold but always carry an umbrella.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 8:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"The more you know about what you are about to do beforehand, the better."

That actually is the benefit of a guy like Gary Alan. He taught people that if they are not yet able to grasp a lot of the diverse concepts that can go into landscape design, then they can have success by keeping it simple. That gets a lot of people "off the ground" safely. I can't knock him for that.

It is not high design, but it works and it is easily learned and easily mastered which is beneficial to the audience.

I never thought I'd advocate for him, but clearly there are people who can benefit from it. Hopefully, they'll go on to experiment with more concepts and grow from there. Its better than trying to use every design theory in the book all at once when you are first starting out and winding up with a hogepoge mess.

It is like juggling with two balls instead of twenty.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 8:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
orchidtrader(z7 ok)

Thank you laag. I think you have my point.

pippi21 Thank you also for the information I will check it out.

karinl You have some nice times to say as well Thank You...I will try to take some pictures of what I have and post them once the weather clears up a bit. I guess what I am seeking is some new sujestions as I have be come a little bored with my landscape and it needs a few plants replaced any way, So I am looking for ideals and I just have what you would call a writers block !
I do not find it unusual for a designer to ask another deisigner for in put. In all the places I worked in the past us designers feed off each others ideals and got those juices flowing and came up with some very creative ideals and great landscapes. I was just thinking of Gary Alan and thought that if I reviewed back from the begining that I might pick up some pionters and unblock my writers block... I was not really looking at the types of plants he used as we all know to substite differents plants.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 9:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mjsee(Zone 7b, NC) WONDER I had to spend so much of my time telling people to loosen the rootballs on their shrubs and trees...someone had taught them that it'll kill the tree if they do!

My garden center warranties anything planted in the ground for a year. Not in pots, though. Too easy to let things dry out in pots.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 5:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Steady on mel this is a dangerous area and you shouldn't swallow Linda Chalkers advice whole.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 5:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Ink...I dunno...perhaps with b&b things are different? Or maybe it's our red-clay soil? We don't sell b&b...we sell only container stuff...15 gallons is the biggest. (And those are plenty big!)

I can tell you that I've seen stuff come back where people obviously DIDN'T loosen their root balls...and the poor plants barely grew any new roots. I don't think it's a stock issue. You know me...practically one of everything follows me home and finds a place in my yard, and my stuff (mostly) grows just fine.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 7:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My reference that prompted bboy was of Gary Alan beating a tiny root ball out of the ground on large shrubs in hot sunny Jacksonville. It was not loosening roots of a pot bound plant.

I'd like to see Linda guaranty leland cypresses planted in July in my neighborhood doing it her way.

.... are you out there C.L.?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 7:21PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
On Site Calculations - Area
If you do construction as well as design, sooner or...
Landscape Designer or Landscape Architect?
Can anyone tell me what is the difference? I am considering...
Plantings for Driveway/Walkway Design
We would like to pave the driveway. (I hope I am in...
Landscape Advice Needed | New Homeowners
We just purchased our first home in the southeast and...
Sarah Bain
Sponsored Products
Down & Memory Foam Luxury Pillow - FD69441
$118.99 | Hayneedle
Target Darts Pro Player Black Steel Tip Darts - Alan Tabern - 122920
$89.99 | Hayneedle
Amisco Alan 24-inch Metal Counter Stool
22 by Alan Hunt - 45W x 33H in. - ART017HN
$211.99 | Hayneedle
Gold Medal Apollo Pillow - SF62541
$80.99 | Hayneedle
Gary & White Round Casserole Carrier
$11.99 | zulily
Alan Blaustein 'Aquatic- set of 2' Framed Art Print 18 x 18-inch Each
Alan Blaustein 'Panchina di Lago' Framed Art Print 20 x 43-inch
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™