"I had been a gardener for 20 years, so I knew plants. But I knew nothing about landscape design," Robin admits. Her remedy was to hit the books and study magazines. Research extended her education, but it also expanded her wish list. In order to incorporate every fantasy that hatched—from classical parterres to ebullient, less structured spaces—she had to think big. That's when she took out her colored pencils and drew up a plan for the series of rectangular rooms within a larger rectangular framework. The patterns in each garden—from intersecting circles to fleurs-de-lis—were complex. The 200-by-300-foot format provided ample room to let her artistic leanings run free. She used conifer hedges and tall shrubs as walls to give the gardens a cohesive look, and she surrounded the whole studio garden with an 8-foot-tall open-lattice fence that allows good air circulation but dissuades marauding deer.
Shown: Blue-green fences define the studio garden.