When you’ve spent a lot of time on your garden, it’s nice to see it taking shape. Sometimes everything may be growing well but something still seems to be lacking. Maybe your outdoor garden looks nice but lacks character. Buying a statue or a fountain can help but before you go to that expense, why not take a step back and figure out what kind of garden you really want.

Looking at what someone else has done is a wonderful way to find what you like or don’t like. This might be a good time to visit a public garden near you. Don’t just wander around. Use your camera and actually take notes. Think about how you feel in each area of the garden – restful, just want to walk through it, romantic, etc. Once you identify it, figure out what makes that area feel that way. Once you know that, you can bring it back to your own garden.

During a recent visit there were fresh buds on her roses. Her “Intellectual Ladies Grid Garden,” with its cement-and-grass checkerboard pattern, appeared lush and green. And her “Melancholy Garden,” where, she said, “every tree and plant is weeping,” was also thriving.

Ms. Blell bought the property in 1993. After excavating 6,000 square feet of concrete from her back yard, she began gardening from scratch. Now green ivy grows up the cedar shingles of her house to an octagonal sleeping porch, where she confessed, “I have this fantasy of letting my hair down, like Rapunzel.”

See what I mean about the different areas of her garden having themes and evoking feelings? The important thing is to determine the theme you want your garden to portray and carry it throughout your landscape. It doesn’t take much to bring your garden from ordinary to spectacular and you will be glad you did.