"Don’t plant anything ’til 24 hours before Food & Wine” said my vegan chef friend, half joking when I talked about excitement for growing a bigger veggie garden. She’d seen the oncoming snow.

I’d planned to get a tall livestock drinking trough with rustic cool from the co-op to plant up the patio-courtyard I get to call my garden. I haven’t made it there yet, but I did show up to Arbor Day in Paepke Park, a terrific community event, and scored a gorgeous tall Sensation Box Elder which I am now responsible for keeping alive!

Chatting online with a New York colleague after the weekend, I learned about a new online-based landscaping service that just launched in Denver.

“I’ll try that!” I said, excitedly looking out at the bleak cloud-filled skies wondering when I might get outside again.

I logged onto Tilly-Design.com and after filling out some basic forms about garden styles and what’s growing on my patch already, Blythe Yost, one of Tilly-Design.com’s four co-founders, Face Timed me, spotting everything from my phone as we went. It took us a good half hour while she asked intelligent questions to fully understood the garden’s aspect, size and strengths.

“Looks like those Hostas are coming up, they do well there in the shade, right?”

“Oh yes, they’re the bomb there,” I reply.

She’d noticed my most successful plant line-up in an instant.

So I showed her the blind tulip foliage fail where I’d planted exotics that did not perennialize (if that’s a word?).

“While the green’s up, dig and remove” she reminded me.

“Point taken!” I said, placing the trowel in the dirt there as reminder.

I showed the wall-mounted herb troughs from Etsy I’d planted last summer and how fragrant they were while eating dinner at an outdoor rustic table there.

“I like herbs and flowers mixed since you get edible and fragrant bang for your buck.”

“So what is it you’re most stuck on here?” she queried.

“It's early season but you’re almost there.”

“There’s a gap,” I said.

“I want to plant a tree,” pointing to a DIY wall I’d built with chunks from a stone mason.

“I want to block those neighbors, but there’s an old tree stump under there, not helping.”

“OK, there’s ways round that, like planting either side, building up the raised bed, adding depth and so on.”

“Give me any other transformation style cues for this space?” I picked her brain further.

“Why not move those galvanized borders to create a more contiguous planter bed shape?” she suggested. Neat idea I thought, encouraging more of a ‘secret garden’ look than ‘stark pots standing’.

“You can always use a paver to step to the water spigot over there,” she noted.

Then I sent her a few photos of the garden at its best, mid-summer.

A few days later, Tilly-Design.com’s typical ‘mini’ package arrived. A simple-to-follow, $95 personalized landscaping blueprint, with sketch, directions, detailed but not overwhelming. It spoke to where and how to raise the wall to contain the planting of the tree and modify its surroundings. Basically tackling a problem area with recommendations and growing tips including a plant list, images, installation and care instructions. Fresh eyes on my flowers that I am totally following.

“I get urges to splurge on exotic species, not suited for Aspen’s elevation,” I sighed.

“Classic USDA hardiness zones can be misleading if used in isolation without local factors. Altitude (or exposure) is just one. It isn’t a perfect science – there is always an element of trial and error. We rely heavily on tried-and-true species for the core of our designs. But we add a few sprinkles of more exotic choices”.

Whole yard plans from Tilly-Design start at $575.

I’m going for it. All of it. Happy Arbor Day week.