The Charmed Garden

From Planning to Planting, and from Harvest to Table.

Before & a Whole Lotta Afters of a Brand New Garden


This new front yard garden was put in last month, when it was still pretty cold and wet.

This front yard was a soggy, sloping mess. With Sun on one side and Shade on the other, the homeowner was at a loss, and frankly frustrated.  Once we got started planning her inner designer came out and she actually started to get excited about gardening. Good garden design planning makes all the difference in the success of your garden, and your confidence as a gardener.

Solving the soggy slope issue was a two step process.  First we graded the slope by moving some of the soil from the center of the bed to both ends of the bed. We added a dry stack wall at each end and some in the middle to keep the soil in place. The roots of the plants will do that over time as well.  We then added flexible drain pipe to the downspouts. The end of the new drain pipes come up through the new sod added to the front of the design

Yes, I know they need to water that sod.

The curvealinear design was a natural for this spot. All that was left were the plants.

Talking to my client about design I learned she likes a clean minimalist look with a small color palate. She likes green and pink, so first we choose boxwoods, which will grow in sun or part shade and contrast beautifully with the white brick.  She also likes pink and we needed some height, so we put in a Weeping Cherry which blooms in the spring. We edged the plant and highlighted the curvy design with spring blooming creeping phlox that also matched and therefore highlighted the color of the Weeping Cherry blooms.  The opposite end of the new garden gets the most sun. We chose Dappled Willow bushes, which have pink and white leaves. We added three Lambs Ear perennials, which have a silvery soft green color and bloom a soft lavender in the heat of the summer.

These photos are from early spring, just a month ago, so they really don’t show the beauty of the plants.  For now, you’ll just have to use your imagination.  And – check back to see this garden grow!!

The importance of a well defined curvilear bed, is definitely highlighted when your plants have no leaves on them.

It also helps to have really nice hardscape (the natural stone wall).

This design started out with the homeowners shopping last fall for plants. The original design had all the plants that were available in mid September. They didn’t really know what they liked, and we garden designers tend to want to fill the space with four season color.  Although they weren’t sure what they liked, they knew for sure what they didn’t like and it was lots of flowering color.  By this Spring they knew what they wanted and we just ran with it. The lesson here is that taking the time to do a little recon so you know what you like, helps you to like your garden a whole lot more. These homeowners will be adding plants to this new garden over the couple of years and that’s because they feel like it’s their own and not someone else’s plan for their garden.



Author: Laurine M. Byrne

I received my certification as a Landscape Designer from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and I received my horticulture education through classes at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois and through the master gardener program at Univ of Illinois Extension. In my designs, I love mixing veggies and herbs with native perennials and flowering bushes as you can see from the pictures of my own yard. I love creating gardens for people who like to garden, not just installing traditional landscaping, but actually creating gardens that the homeowner connects to personally. I love that my clients who thought they couldn't grow anything now have green thumbs, because all it takes is the right plant in the right site. And I really love that my clients become my friends in the process of creating their gardens.

2 thoughts on “Before & a Whole Lotta Afters of a Brand New Garden

  1. You have made such a difference to that plot. I am sure they will get a lot of pleasure now, filling it with plants.


  2. Thank you. I sure hope so. I like to bring as many people as I can to the green side and creating a ready made garden bed might just do that. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s