Podcast, Ep. 49: Landscape Architects Spencer Tunnell and Will McDonald

Landscape architects Spencer Tunnell and Will McDonald of Tunnell and Tunnell Landscape Architecture

With Spring in the air, we thought we’d talk about our outdoor spaces. They’re just as important as your indoor ones, but for many of us, knowing what to do with them can be a challenge. Atlanta landscape architects Spencer Tunnell and Will McDonald of Tunnell & Tunnell Landscape Architecture stopped by to talk about when we need to call a professional, how to add a little curb appeal to your space, why non-native plants aren’t a smart choice in many cases, and much more.

Tunnell and Tunnell's work on the Fragrance and Levy Parterre Garden Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Tunnell and Tunnell’s work on the Fragrance and Levy Parterre Garden Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

What You’ll Hear On This Episode:

  • We talk about Curb Appeal and how it isn’t so different from interior design
  • I talk about my backyard project and Will’s wild hair to tear it all up
  • Karen wants turf in her yard. We ask Spencer and Will their thoughts.
  • Taryn asks about why and how you can choose plants that will bloom year round
  • We talk about when you should hire a pro to help you and when you can do it yourself
  • We talk about consultations and how a professional could help you make a master plan for your property that you could fulfill over time
  • Taryn talks about her experience splitting plants and her neighbor who’s helped her learn what’ll work in her yard
  • We ask Will and Spencer about their favorite plants
  • We talk about goats and how you can use them to rid your yard of invasive species
  • Why it’s dangerous to plant non-native plants
  • Taryn wants to know about all of the pine trees in her yard

Decorating Dilemmas

Hi —

I love the podcast! I have started working on our bedroom, a long neglected space. I just got pillows and a bedskirt made. I love the fabric! I wanted to ask for your opinion on bedside lamps. My husband and I have bedside tables that are different heights. He is very attached to his so it must stay even though it is really too small in my opinion. Should I look for a pair of matching lamps? Or a larger and a smaller lamp to give the illusion of our tables being the same size? Or swing arm lamps that could be mounted to the wall? Are there Ballard products you would recommend? Any advice is appreciated!

Next up, I need to paint and work on art for the big bare wall behind the bed. Feedback welcome in those areas as well! 

Thank you very much!



Thank you so much for your question. We have two different suggestions for you. I personally love the swing arm lamps we have over our nightstand, and I think they’d be the perfect solution in your space for two reasons. First, they’ll be the same height and you won’t notice at all that the tables are different heights. Second, because your husband’s nightstand is so small, he doesn’t have a lot of surface area. A lamp that’s mounted to the wall will give you both more space for coffee mugs, books, or whatever else tends to accumulate next to the bed.

Taryn and Karen have a different suggestion. They both like the idea of matching buffet lamp which will be narrow and not take up a lot of space. Maybe even get a fun, colored lampshade that coordinates with your bedskirt to make more of an impact on that wall.

We all think you need a really big, impactful piece of art over your bed — or perhaps a mirror. Something at least 3/4 the width of your bed should do the trick. We have some really pretty coastal art pieces that might appeal to you, but look around for something you really love that will work with your new bedskirt and pillows.

Good luck!

Show Notes

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    Herndon Inge

    May 1, 2018

    Informative, and fun. Great job. Always interesting guests.