A Woodland Garden Tour

Inspired by woodland and Asian gardens, Atlanta designer David Ellis creates an unforgettable oasis in his own home.

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins/www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins/www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins/www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins/www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins/www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins/www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins/www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins www.thebenrollins.com

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins/www.thebenrollins.com

A Designer's Best Friend

Garden designer David Ellis moved to his historic Atlanta bungalow in 1997. He set to work transforming the neglected house, vacant for several years, and a garden overtaken with poison ivy and crabgrass. Ellis's dog is Tsuga, named for the hemlock genus.

Garden Focal Point

Ellis removed the front lawn of his home and transformed it into a woodland garden. The front garden features natives like oakleaf hydrangea, saucer magnolia and smilax which Ellis says "grows like 'Jack and the Beanstock'... up to six inches a day."

Spring Eternal

Biennials like foxglove, dianthus, campanula and other plants and flowers that look lovely in a spring garden are the focus of Ellis's front yard garden. "This delphinium is purple, but was supposed to be blue," Ellis laughs. "That's the way life is."

Vertical Thrills

Delphinium provides a lovely vertical counter to the spread of mounding shrubs and plants in this garden.

Layering Effect

Layers of color and texture mark this Atlanta garden as the work of a talented design sensibility.

Water Landing

Part of the charm of Ellis's garden is how it provides multiple habitats and also resources—like this bird bath—for wildlife.

Lavishly Planted Containers

The extravagantly planted containers in David Ellis's garden provide another opportunity for the garden designer to showcase his interest in predominately Southern plants and flowers.

Container Design

Wide, shallow containers allow for a lighter vessel, but with plenty of room to show off an array of plants and flowers.

Let the Outside In

Windows thrown open allow designer David Ellis to embrace the garden, even from inside his home.

Pot of Gold

This striking container near Ellis's front door features golden leaved anise.

Framing the View

Designer Ellis created the charming rustic arbor from black locust tree, which beautifully complements the storybook feel of his home.

The Lush Life

Acanthus, magnolia trees and a profusion of textures and colors define the lush border facing the sidewalk in front of Ellis's home.

Stone Crop

Stones are placed lengthwise underground to create this walkway effect.

Gardening Genes

Ellis, who grew up in North Carolina, may have inherited his love of gardening from his grandmother, who died when he was two. "All my relatives would say, if she saw you out here, she would be so happy."

Garden Love

A love of gardening is evident at the front door of Ellis's home where visitors are greeted by this charming garden trowel door knocker.

Walk This Way

A wide path in David Ellis's front garden provides the perfect vantage to take in his woodland garden and a necessary route for proper maintenance of the garden.

Pruning Fun

Pruning isn't just for boxwoods or for garden maintenance: designer David Ellis injects humor into his garden with this whimsically shaped tree.

Beauty Everywhere

David Ellis's design skills show in every facet of his garden where even the smallest detail becomes beautiful as in this center strip in his driveway filled with a stunning mix of chartreuse and deep purple plants.

Purple and Gold

The contrast of rich, dark purples and bright chartreuse add interest in this garden.

Painter's Palette

Delicate, surprising touches of color define this unique garden.

Rich Color

A deep chocolate brown color on Ellis's garage works well with the pea gravel driveway and provides an ideal background for green foliage.

Garden Sentry

This garden sculpture provides the perfect bookend and definition for this threshold into the back garden. Use sculpture as a way to enunciate and define transitions in the garden.

No Detail Too Small

A talent for garden design is evident in even the smallest detail like this canine door pull on the door leading to David Ellis's backyard garden.

Rest and Relaxation

This shady nook accented with hostas in containers is the perfect place for cocktails or to unwind with a good book.

Asian Art

Tuck interesting sculpture into your garden to create memorable vignettes.

Koi Corral

A small waterfall in David Ellis's koi pond uses the sound of water to add to the restful ambiance of this memorable garden space.

Urban Oasis

This Asian-inspired backyard garden is a  refuge from the busy city surrounding it.

Room With a View

Create definition and flow in even the smallest garden by breaking space into separate outdoor rooms, in this case connected by paths.

Koi Pond

Ellis has been known to soak in this small but deep koi pond when the Atlanta weather turns steamy.

Outdoor Room

The frame for a greenhouse provides definition for a charming outdoor room with a table, seating, lantern and plenty of containers to give the space definition and purpose.

Add Element of Surprise

Nothing makes a garden special as quickly as pieces of art like these blown glass shapes, whose placement in a tree is whimsical and inspired, partly because it's so unexpected.

Garden Drama

A substantial concrete table and chairs occupy a secret nook in designer David Ellis's garden.

Decorate Your Water Feature

Glass orbs bob on the surface of a small water feature, adding interest and magic to the space.

Path Keeper

A stone path meanders through Atlanta garden designer David Ellis's back garden.

Guard Dog

David Ellis's dog Tsuga does a good imitation of a sculpture guarding the entrance to the designer's backyard garden.

Secret Garden

Nothing builds anticipation for the garden to come like wooden doors that partially obscure the view to come.

Meandering Path

A stone pathway winds around a small backyard garden, keeping visitors moving through the space.

Asian Archway

A dog sculpture and wooden Asian arbor announce he entrance to Ellis's lush backyard garden, which has the feeling of a secret hideway and an entirely different vibe than the more public front garden.

Wit and Whimsy

Hollies and other trees are pruned with whimsy in mind, with unique pom-pom shapes not only offering a delight for the eye, but allowing more sun to penetrate the garden.