At A Glance: The Holiday At Home

holiday lighting (2)My holiday at home came very late in December. I do not even think of decking out my own home for winter until all of my work is done. That only seems fair. Buck and I are both used to the last minute nature of our holiday. This December 23rd, I was so glad to see my crew driving up and unloading what would hold down my landscape for the winter. Fortunately, the weather was so mild that the installation went fast. They were working. I was breathing a big sigh of relief.

holiday lighting (3)The Branch Studio people made short work of constructing and hanging the garland. As I like the garland hung straight across the top, we attach that section to a bamboo pole. The pole gets attached to the wall via screws that are set in the mortar, and concrete wire looped around the pole.

holiday lighting (4)the finish at the front door

December 23, 2015 004one of the four cast iron pots original to the house that are visible from the street.

holiday lighting (5)I have a very formal landscape. The tenor of the seasonal display is in sharp contrast to that sober and spare landscape. The contrast here is in form. The pots and garland are loosely made, and not all that formal. Contrast is a very important element in design. Too much of the same can be monotonous at best, or overwhelming at worst. Contrast makes each element look better. There is a lot of green here, but the textures vary.

holiday lighting (6)The grapevine garland is wound with lights. This will help to keep my porch well lit over the winter months.

holiday lighting (7)at dusk

holiday lighting (10)night light

holiday lighting (9)My front porch is lighted as best I can. If I have company coming,I want the way to the front door to be brightly lit. If I have a winter ahead of me, I want some entertainment and pleasure from the dormant landscape.

holiday lighting (8)Pots that are full up for the winter, and warmly lit make the quiet and dark a little easier to bear.


  1. buck moffat says


    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Buck, I am happy for your approval. We do have a great winter display going on-don’t we? You do not often comment, but this comment I appreciate. all the best!! Deborah

  2. Deborah Crabtree says

    All I can say is “spectacular.”

  3. Stunning. Your house has beautiful eye appeal!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Therese, it is important to me, how my house looks from the curb. I even more value my neighbors, and what they see. I am a fan of community. all the best, Deborah

  4. Outstanding! I love the Garland

  5. It all looks very beautiful and your grass is so green and lush! We’ve had one snow fall of six inches last week and, prior to a few days ago, balmy temperatures. So much so that shrubs are budding up! Scary! Temperatures are more normal now.

    A happy and healthy New Year, Deborah.


    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Suzanne, I am always happy to hear from you. A happy and healthy New Year to you too. I have great hopes for our gardens in 2016. best, Deborah

  6. Beyond stunning!! As always, much thanks to you and your team for so generously sharing these inspirational visual “gifts”.

    PS – I think if I were your neighbor, I would either wave the white flag and do almost no decorating OR break my financial and creative reserves trying to keep up. 🙂 🙂

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Brett, if you were my neighbor, we would be thick as thieves. There would be no white flags, nor would there be any breaking of the reserves. We are both members of a gardening family. I believe this. all the best, Deborah

  7. Debra Lenzen says

    So beautiful!!! This is my favorite garland that you make!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Debra, I do make a lot of garlands. The garland I make for my own house represents my point of view. I only want to see what I like at home. Every gardener needs to sort out what they like-and represent exactly that in their garden.

  8. Worth the wait! So stunning. Maybe I could learn to like winter if I had my home decked out like yours! Love it.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Kathleen, every passionate gardener needs to attend to helping themselves through the winter season. I do it. You can do it too. best, Deborah

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Kathleen, figuring out how to love the winter is work well worth doing. Just saying. all the best, Deborah

  9. I love your work. I am a recent follower of your blog and want you to know how entranced I am by it. I am not a landscaper or in the business at all. Retired from the university and live in a senior apartment in Savoy, IL and have friends who work in landscaping here, the northeast and coastal cities of the south. Very much admire the talent and cleverness of designing out door places to suit varied needs and tastes. I am planning a trip north next summer and will try to visit your shop. My sister loves her yard and I am sure I can find a perfect gift for her there. Best wishes to you and thank you for the beauty you create and share. A friend in Atlanta posted a picture and comment for something you had done to Facebook and I followed url to your blog.

  10. Paula Stemen says

    WOW!!! Like I’ve said before, you should write a book! Your designs are outstanding!

  11. Jennifer in KS says

    Stunning and such a warm sight on a cold winter’s night.

  12. Cathy Peterson says


  13. Gerald Salerno says

    Wish you were my neighbor!

  14. Absolutely Beautiful!

  15. Joyce B in Atlanta says

    Yours must be the prettiest and most tastefully lit house on the block! I love the way the lights on your garland meet symmetrically in a dip at your door. The touches of white berries can last well into the year without looking ‘holiday’. Can’t believe you found a house with such lovely pots already on the property! We’ve bought and lived in 9 houses over the years, and not once have we found one that had been loved by a gardener!! Have a wonderful New Year!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Joyce, I was so pleased to get my house dressed for the winter. My crews are the best-they were so worried about getting my house done. The 4 pots out front at my house sealed the sale. They are the only pots that the General Motors foundry ever made. How could I resist that? I made the decision to buy the house before I ever went inside. I was head over heels about those iron pots. best, Deborah

  16. Very understated and natural. Here in the UK, it is only in London, perhaps at the smart hotels such as the Ritz etc.., do they create this type of decoration. Here in rural Kent decorations are very minimal outside, usually just white lights in a tree and ofcourse a wreath for the front door. I’d love to come and see creations such as yours sometime. Is it just affluent residents that decorate like this? Great and wonderful work. Keep it up! PS what is your background? Design? Horticulture?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Clare, decoration for the holiday and winter varies a lot, from region to region, or country to country. Every gardener chooses what is important to them. I do not think of my clients, or generalize their issues in terms of affluence. To me, an affluent gardener has a stand of delphiniums in June that rocks the planet. Make of this what you will. I think of all of my clients in terms of what is important to them. Every gardener decorates their winter garden in a singular and particular way. My background is a long story. If you read enough of my essays, you will get that story. Thanks for your letter, Deborah

  17. Deborah,
    I do believe the decorations for your winter season are the prettiest of all I’ve ever seen on your blog. It sets off the Paladian arched door and windows and brickwork, and the proportions of the greenery to the architecture are perfect. The sturdy green boxwood hedge leading up the path to your front door loves all that greenery to keep it company. Just beautiful, lit up or in daylight. Lush and lovely. Magical.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thanks much for your letter, Starr. If I make magic in the landscape, I am a happy designer indeed. best, Deborah

  18. Outstanding. I love your work. Will you consider opening a shop in the Boston area? I’d be a loyal customer from day 1!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Susan, thanks for your vote of confidence. Would that I could open shops in other parts of the country, but what that takes is not in my genes. A great shop means hands and heart on, every day. It would be tough for me to travel to manage a shop out of state, considering my commitment to my landscape design and installation business.I would want the Boston shop to be every bit as good as the Michigan shop. When I figure out how I could make that work, I would certainly consider it! Thanks for your letter, Deborah

  19. Heather Burkhardt says

    Festive! What an inviting entryway. I love your philosophy on lights during the dark winter months. The thick snakey coil of light on the garland is inspiring. What kind of lights and structure do you use to create it? TY

  20. debra phillips says

    if only i lived across the street………..

    wishes for a healty, happy & successful 2016.

  21. Absolutely fabulous! I love the different levels of light. Your landscape just glows! And you’re right, we need light as winter progresses. As always, an inspiring post! I hope your holidays were lovely…

  22. Just Outstanding!!!! I really do wish you were my neighbor. I absolutely love a neat pretty garden and respect people to keep up the garden. My passion is home and garden and I try to have a neat place year round and respect my neighbors. I have always said you can have the most beautiful home but if you don’t have a beautiful garden you might as well not have the home. I am 58yrs young and have always enjoyed working in my garden to make it look better. I too love the formal look with boxwoods. Your home and garden is gracious!!!!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Nancy, I appreciate it too when people keep up with their home and garden-that is a pleasure to see. best, Deborah

  23. Mark Becker says


  24. How wonderful to see your beautiful home all decked out for the winter. It looks stunning. Happy New Year Deborah, and thanks again for all you share with your readers!

  25. Kathy Klaus says


  26. Tom Baldinette says

    They say winters are cold in Detroit but not at your home. Beautifully warm.

  27. Deborah, Your talent is beyond words for me!! Absolutely beautiful. Wish you lived in my neighborhood.

  28. I don’t think there is anything left to say that hasn’t been said in your Comments section. Just want you to know there is another reader out there who loves your blog and reads it everyday. In the cyber world creating that draw is such an accomplishment. It has also been a huge inspiration to me in my projects. Thank you for sharing with all of us.
    Beautiful and inspiring work and team!

  29. Barbara BRoerman says

    Dear Deborah
    IT was such a pleasure to be able to visit your marvelous garden works on December 30th. I have been an admirer of your work and your blog posts for the last six months. Your posted pictures and the blog make it possible to see the inner workings of a great garden soul. We had a marvelous time in the yard admiring the collection and trying to figure out how we could bring it all home. And then you and Milo turned up in the shop and the day was complete. We enjoyed our visit and look forward to coming back for your special days. I’m so glad we’re only three hours away. Thank you again for your wonderful work.
    Barbara from Guelph (Ontario)

  30. Christopher Nicholson says

    Sorry if this is a repeat comment, I don’t think my first comment went threw. Your pots are awesome! Can you tell me the source of your black twig dogwood?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Christopher, thank you for your letter. The source of my black twig dogwood is Detroit Garden Works. Rob does a terrific job of sourcing and buying great materials. We will have it again this coming fall. best, Deborah

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