The $150 Garden Makeover
Before: Initially, there was virtually nothing in the property's backyard. They bought the hunkered-down house on the strength of its location, interior, and the mature trees gracing the property. But it had a singularly boring yard until construction for an in-law addition yielded and opportunity for the garden to achieve its full potential – with just a little help.
Before: The side yard.
Now, in the backyard a lush herb garden runs nearly the length of the house, with 'Newport Blue' boxwood for winter structure, creeping thyme engulfing the stepping stones, eryngium and salvia providing perennial color, plus petunias lending a buzz.
Petunias and Lobelia
Debbie had experience, strong instincts, and was fully capable of doing the grunt work, but needed some help pulling it all together.
She called a local landscape designer and asked for a consultation. By the end of the afternoon, Debbie had a rough design, grading directives, placement suggestions for fencing ("bring the fence in close to the pool for intimacy"), and paving ideas as well as a second opinion on the plants ("add evergreens for year-round structure" and "vary the palette with complementary colors"). The bill came to $150 – at $75 an hour; the dividends will last a lifetime.
Anatomy of a Transformation: The flagstone walkway leading to the front door was one of Debbie's first projects. She moved some mature rhododendrons to act as a backdrop to the flower bed, then flanked the walkway with shade-loving perennials to form a tapestry of color.
Anatomy of a Transformation: The pool is framed with flagstone and the beds are laid out with evergreens, perennials, and annuals that pick up the dark blue water. The landscape consultant urged her to complement the blues with cream accents to prevent saturated color.
Shaded Front of House
Nothing worked on the shaded front of the house until Debbie tried ostrich ferns behind the retaining wall. When they succeeded, she worked within their framework, accenting with alliums and bleeding hearts that disappear into the foliage at bloom's end.
Anatomy of a Transformation: A fence was essential, due to the pool, so Debbie followed the consultant's advice to keep it close in, to create a sense of intimacy. The white pickets lend the house importance. Rather than planting on both sides, she lets the lonicera flirt through the pickets.