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About Barbie

Audrey Hepburn stated “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow “.
I have learned that gardening teaches hope, patience, resilience, tolerance, and observation. Think about how each of the senses are activated when you enter your own special garden room ….. sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste. I ADORE my job !!!! What is better than being asked to create an outdoor space designed for family gatherings, relaxation, entertainment or solitude.

Since 1991 I have had the privilege of “Creating Classic Exterior Designs”. Not only do I have the dream job of designing your outdoor space but I have an incredible team of trusted and talented contractors who meticulously and efficiently work with me on installations. It is tremendously gratifying to implement my designs ( i.e. contracting) because as we all have experienced… A poorly executed plan results in mistakes, substitutions and alot is lost in translation!

I consult with clients on small projects or very large, multi faceted projects. Often, I am able to leave a client with a plan after just an hour. I jokingly say that after 35 years of working on properties, you get the best out of me in the first hour because I know immediately what needs to be done. However, the process of an on site consultation with the homeowners is very important in order to determine their needs, visions, style, the architecture of their home and the way they intend to use their exterior spaces.

Good communication with clients and my team is a priority in order to provide the best possible results. I am a firm believer in that the difference between “average” and “excellence” is in the DETAILS. I am able to design any style of garden, but prefer a more tailored, manicured look. Experience has taught me that a backbone of evergreens, symmetry, repetition, various textures , and negative space makes for the most pleasing design. It is also the most easy to maintain. I tell people if I give you a lot to maintain you will not like me in 5 years! On the other hand, I strive to create functional outdoor rooms which are conducive to relaxing.


Sweet Briar College 1971-73
University of Kentucky, BA Political Science 1973-75
Kentucky State Landscape Design 1991
Weikel Real estate school 2011

Professional Profile:
Coordinator for the Louisville International Tennis Classic 1973-76
Partner with Mary Webb (Webb –Thomas Landscape Design) 1991-2006
Garden Editor, Kentucky Homes and Gardens Magazine
Barbara Tafel Landscape/Exterior Design 2006-present
Kentucky Select Properties 2011-2022
Skelton Company Realtors 2022-

Locust Grove Board 2011-present
The Norton Cancer Institute Leadership Cabinet 2012-present
The Glenview Garden Club 1992-
Olmstead Parks Concervancy Board 2001-3
Norton Health Care Board
Derby Divas (Breast Cancer)
Kilgore Garden Tour Chair 03-04
US Tennis Association
US Paddle Tennis Association

Published Articles:

Southern Living
The Washington Post
Kentucky Homes and Gardens
Today’s Woman
The Voice of St Matthews

Commercial Projects:
Maker’s Mark Distillery
Home of the Innocents
Anchorage City Hall
Louisville Country Club
The River Valley Club
Prospect Pointe Shopping Center
Kentucky Country Day School
St Francis in the Fields Church
Broadway Baptist Church
Crescent Hill United Methodist Church

Out of Town Projects:
Kentucky: Owensboro, Paducah, Lexington, Frankfort, Shelbyville, Maysville, Lake Nolin, Lake Cumberland
North Carolina: Wilmington, Asheville , Boone, Blowing Rock
Virginia: Charlottesville, Richmond, Alexandria
Florida: Palm Beach, Ft Lauderdale, Mountain Lake, Del Ray
California: San Diego
Mexico: Salulita, San Miguel
Abaco: Marsh Harbor, Green Turtle Cay
Italy: Ficulle, Umbria
France: Bremtome