Outdoor Authority

Chris Passiglia, owner of Passiglia's Nursery, gives his tips for designing a luscious landscape.

Edited by Melissa Mauzy
Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton


Family owned and operated since 1950, Passiglia’s Nursery features a large selection of high quality plants. 

SLHL:  What makes a good garden?
Chris: A good garden starts with factoring in the site’s light and soil conditions. From there, building with a variety of evergreen, blooming and interest plants. It is important to have contrast and variety while keeping continuity.

SLHL: What are some garden or design challenges that are unique to St. Louis?
Chris: St. Louis weather can play a tricky role in gardening. Our mild winters, yet sometimes-harsh winters, as well as hot summers can be hard on plants. Also, deer and other wildlife always keep landscaping interesting.

SLHL: Are there any plants you feel a garden isn't complete without?
Chris: Each garden is tailored to the clients’ unique requirements, and we create designs in a variety of styles. Gardens such as a perennial garden may just have one type of plant, namely perennials. However, it is best to keep a mix of plants in your garden. This way you will have winter color with evergreens, spring or summer bloom color with shrubs or perennials and also fall leaf color.

SLHL: How do you alter a design for the level of maintenance a homeowner wants to do?
Chris: It is important to remember there is no such thing as a maintenance-free garden. We listen to the client’s needs and tailor the design to meet their maintenance requirements. To reduce the maintenance, plants that require minimal trimming can be used. Also decorative gravel can be used instead of mulch. Decorative boulders or other hardscape can also be used in lieu of other plantings.

SLHL: Does the style of garden need to fit with the architectural style of the home? 
Chris: When possible, it is best to tie in the architectural style of the front of the home with the landscape. This gives your home style continuity. Often times in the back of the home, if other architectural features do not exist, a different gardening style can be used.

SLHL: What is the biggest mistake people make in their landscape?
Chris: The biggest mistake we see again and again are large trees planted too close to the house foundation, driveway, patio or other structure. These trees end up being removed just as they mature because they become a nuisance. Large roots begin to heave up the sidewalks, driveways and patio. We see this often with maple and birch trees. It is sad and costly to remove trees and best to plant them responsibly.

SLHL: What is trending now?
Chris: Adding hardscape elements to your garden is popular right now. This could include columns, seat walls, patios, fire pits and more. Clients want a way to enjoy the outdoors. 

Passiglia's Nursery, 636-458-9202