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May 04, 2015

Landscaping and Garden Design Plan | Hydrangea, Boxwood, Peonies, Lavender...

The time has come for us to actually be doing some physical work at the house.  After months and months (7, but who's counting...) of doing walk-thrus and watching subs work, I actually get to get my hands dirty (and my fingernails...) and do some work, which thrills me.  I'm not a very good observer - more of a doer.  Being able to "do" for the last week has made me feel so rejuvenated.  Rejuvenated and ready to move it in just a couple of weeks; )

You can browse through my plan above to see where I'm going.  I'll share photos of my actual progress later in the week.  This is a finished project plan drawing.  I'm picking and choosing what I'm working on this year to start.  I've already put in the front landscaping - boxwoods and hydrangea.  I've planted the hydrangea hedge in the back left, along with the dogwood.  The cherry tree and lilacs are also in.  I transplanted some very old peony bushes in the back right that I'm so excited about - more on those later.  

As you can see from the design plan, I'm doing a lot of symmetrical beds - my style.  I'm trying to incorporate some curves and some flowing places, too, to create movement and natural lines - a little out of my comfort zone there.   Just making the plan has helped me feel a little better - and helped curb my enthusiasm to do everything at once.

So, this is where I've been for the last week.  Our old new yard.  Okay, actually, this is where I've been for the last week...

This is a major Before picture standing on our back porch.  As you can see, we have an overgrown fence line in the back that is our neighbors.  I like the natural backdrop, but want to put a pretty cedar fence in front to hide where their chain peeks thru.

The previous owners didn't do too much in the back, so we are left with a nice blank slate.  I do wish we had some more mature trees like our neighbors to offer shade, but we'll have to plant small and let them grow the old fashioned way.

To my left, very charming south neighbor's yard.  We'll be matching her fence for our gates and back fence line.

To my right, North side neighbor's privacy fence.  We'll be adding landscaping to soften.  The first think Mike did was rip out the bush to the left.  I think it was just a giant weed.

I assure you after a week of work it already looks better than these photos I took a couple of weeks ago.   In fact, here's your first sneak peek of the exterior paint color.  

You can also see the stepping stones (some of them) headed to the new patio area.  

We still have a ways to go.  There are a couple of things that will help tremendously :
1) New back cedar fence to match south side neighbor.  Mike and my Dad worked on it over the weekend and should be ready very soon.
2) New sod everywhere - something Mike has been dreaming of for a long time.

As always, I've gathered a lot of inspiration... I'll be pleased if I can somehow create even just a glimpse of these luscious gardens in our yard.  Hopeful, but not entirely sure : )

We are doing pea gravel for our patio and I'd like to put some big pots scattered around the yard, too.

We all recognize this garden.  This is an older photograph of the Barefoot Contessa's.  I love the wild mixed with the hedged boxwoods.

Newer photo.  Purple and white.

And an arial, just because it is interesting to see the structure.  We will want more play room in our yard, but maybe I'll do some hedged square beds, too?

I want our front walk to be spilling over with hydrangeas like these.  The boxwoods will be more for the winter months when the hydrangea are sticks.

Wish me luck!


  1. Oh Jenny - I love it.... Hydrangeas and boxwoods are my absolute favorite. I have already been dreaming up yard designs/plans but for now I will have to live through you. I am just concentrating on getting some good trees going and making sure that it's not all corn and bean fields. Also - I love the outside of the back of your house - that back porch is perfect

  2. I love it all! I may have to copy, too! I adore hydrangeas and boxwoods, and peonies are my all time favorite. Our new (old) house has none. We used to have a fence line of them at our previous home and I miss them! This will be beautiful!

  3. I love your classic plant choices of boxwood, hydrangeas, and lavender. Those are some of my favorites too. The only thing I don't like about boxwood is the smell (I know some people love it) so I use it sparingly. I can't wait to see it when everything is in.

  4. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Hi Jenny,
    I can't tell you how happy I am that you shared your garden plan along with the rest of your renovation! It has been so fun to follow you, as we have started an addition similar to yours, although we are about 5 months behind you. I feel like so many people do these beautiful home projects, but then only finish them off with a few boulders and boxwood. Putting in a garden (vs. "landscape") can really add so much! I love your choices of boxwood, hydrangea and trees for structure, but also the flowers (peonies, lavender, roses, lilacs). Korean Spice Viburnum shrubs have a lovely scent, and bleeding hearts and brunnera are also beautiful in the spring shade garden. I'm so impressed that you are doing so much of it yourself - it's fun! Can't wait to see how it turns out!
    Laura in Naperville, IL

  5. Anonymous3:30 PM

    Beautiful! You are doing meticulously good job at planning your backyard. You are a girl after my own heart. Although I am much older than you, I love your site because we love the same things. I cannot wait to see your home when it is complete. Caroline M., Princeton, NJ


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