Tag Archives: landscaping

Our Pretty Stone Pathway

Since I last blogged about the Dutch colonial,

there’s been unbelievable progress, out front!

Let’s remember the sad before, a few weeks after we bought the house:

dutch colonial -- front 'before

Here’s a look at the midway:


And as it looks today, the ‘almost’ after:



I think I’ll just share bits of it at a time, in small doses.

Let’s start with our new stone pathway

which transitions between the new brick sidewalk + our side yard.

Here’s a glimpse of it, as one approaches the house:


We went shopping at a nearby landscaping place + looked at stone,

+ we bought 3 large slabs of limestone.

G.O. brought out his trusty 4″ angle grinder with a masonry blade, as one does,

+ cut the slabs into smaller, stepping stone friendly pieces:


IMG_1660 (1)

We had scooped out a shallow trough for the stones.

Once we decided we liked their arrangement,

we put a layer of ordinary play sand underneath each stone:

IMG_1662 (1)

Funny story.

He grabbed some bags of said play sand at the garden center,

not realizing until he got home that one of the bags contained purple sand!

Who knew?  Crayola makes colored play sand!

IMG_1664 (1)

In his defense, he said he thought the bag was purple!  HA!

IMG_1671 (2)


Look!  It’s Chloe the Dachshund!


I’m love the gentle curve of the stones,

because I think curves in the landscaping are beautiful + visually pleasing.

Now it’s time to discuss all those beautiful plants!

After weeks + weeks of indecision,

I knew this side of the porch needed a topiary


I remembered seeing some blue spruce topiaries at Home Depot,

+ since I am a huge fan of the blue spruce any-thing, off we went.

Over G.O.’s very strong objections.  Of course.

cats fighting

But people.  COME ON.


Nailed it!!!



Those spiky, grassy plants underneath are ‘Lucerne’ Blue-Eyed Grass,

which have small, bright purple-blue flowers in Spring through early Summer.

plant blue eyed grass

Nearby, we planted some silvery-white Artemisia,

as I wanted to repeat the silvery blue needles of our topiary.


Those are going to look great, once they fill in.

Since white flowers also complement silvery foliage,

we planted these cuties along the curve of the stone pathway.

Rapido White Bellflowers:



We repeated these sweet small rose plants on both sides of the pathway,

as I wanted to visually tie that area together.


The green + burgundy Purple Palace Coral Bells

are repeated from the opposite side of the porch,

to once again, tie the whole front foundation plantings together,

from 1 side of the house to the other.

The Coral Bells were planted to accent the 2 curves in this bed —

both the stone pathway . . .


. . . + the curve where this bed meets the lawn (+ the new grass!), out front:


Disclaimer:  everything is going to look so much better with dark brown mulch!

I ordered nearly $80 worth of Spring-flowering bulbs

a couple weeks ago, + I want to plant them before the mulch goes in.


Stay tuned!



Finally! Our Informal Hedge!

From the minute we closed on our Dutch colonial,

I have been trying (but failing) to design our lot line landscaping.

Then this happened.

Just last weekend, I found (my favorites!) Oak Leaf hydrangeas

at Menards, a Midwestern home improvement store:

oak leaf alabama

$11 each for one gallon size plants!

Can you believe it?

Yesterday we drove to a Menards about an hour away,

to find enough plants (7 total) to  make our informal hedge.

Like this, hopefully:

oak leaf hydrangea big hedge

Back to NOW — here we have our new plants,

marching along our lot line, at left (below).

Imagine, if you will, what our hedge will look like, in a few years:

Good things come to those who wait!

Oak Leaf hydrangeas grow to 6′-8′ tall by 6′ x 8′ wide.

This means our backyard will be less of a fish bowl.

Our hedge will begin + end  between 2 large existing trees —

a huge walnut (L) + a gorgeous maple (R):

Oak Leaf hydrangeas have cone-shaped white flowers

which turn a pretty, faded pink as the blooming season progresses.

Yes, those flowers are gorgeous,

but in my opinion, their leaves are the all stars.

Look at what happens in the Fall:

Is it any wonder that Fall is our favorite season?

Anyway, I am so relieved + happy,

after suffering through all those months of indecision.

oak leaf hydrangea 2

It’s hard to believe I found one of my favorites,

+ at such an affordable price!

Fingers crossed we’ll find the time to plant them THIS week.

Stay tuned!

Shady + Sunny White Flowers

Tabula rasa is a term I learned in college Psychology 101.

Tabula rasa:

the mind before outside impressions or experiences have affected it;

a clean or empty slate.


That’s what I call our Dutch colonial’s front yard,

now that we’ve yanked out the errant, overgrown evergreens . . .

. . .  a tabula rasa!


7 years ago, when we bought this brick bungalow,

we inherited another blank slate.

Our very first plants were the 6 boxwoods you see here,

 planted at the foundation of our north-facing, shady front porch.

* * * * *

Looks nice, if I do say so,

but don’t you think it ‘needs’ some white flowers to add brightness + contrast?

Well, here are my go-to white flowers for any + all shady spots in our yard:

impatiens #1

White impatiens!  They really do ‘pop’ in the shade.

At dusk, they turn into little white stars — so beautiful!

Don’t they look great as companions to pretty, green boxwoods?

boxwood path #3         boxwood path #2


Even more stunning — in my world — are THESE white impatiens:


They’re called ‘doubles’ impatiens,

+ I think they look like small, white roses,

which, coincidentally, are my favorite SUN-loving flowers!

box + roses #5

Iceberg roses

+ this brings us back to our Dutch colonial’s south-facing + quite sunny front foundation:

Here 'tis again.

What shall I plant here? — I’ve been asking myself, pretty much from Day One.

  Well, since I love the combination of boxwoods + white flowers so much . . .

. . . I want to do that again.

No shade-tolerant impatiens this time, though . . .

. . . here I’ll spring for sun-loving white roses, instead!

See some of my inspiration photos for yourself:

box + roses #7     box + roses #4

Very beautiful, no?

Perhaps the most beautiful of all is this photo:

boxwood path #8

These are ‘standards’,

which the dictionary describes as

a tree, shrub, or other plant having a tall, erect stem.

Here’s what I envisioned for our front bay:

box + roses

I know.  Perfect!

I saw some Knock-Out (brand) rose standards at Wal-Mart

for a mere $25 apiece.


And how fast could I get 5 of them inside my Volvo wagon?

Not very, as it turns out.

Saner heads prevailed, + I’m going to WAIT to landscape out front.

I blogged about it here:


Yes, that’s right — I’ve been forbidden to plant anything

until AFTER our house’s siding is up + at ’em.

Otherwise, we may end up with a trampled mess, like this:

Oh, dear.

Oh, dear.

Fingers crossed, though, that the siding will be up + at ’em very soon . . .

. . . + that, this fall, I can still find standard white rose trees + boxwoods!

Stay tuned!

Landscaping, Part 1

SO, the start of our  Dutch colonial re-do has coincided with the onset of gardening season!

Perfect timing!  Sort of.

Our front yard’s naughty, ancient + ugly shrubs have been yanked out of the ground :

30's Dutch colonial, 'before'.

30’s Dutch colonial, ‘before’.

. . . IMG_0755(1)

Much bettah!

Sadly, I’ve been advised/instructed that NO foundation landscaping can occur until after the house is re-sided.

I just HAD to plant something!

Here's what 2 flats of shade-loving annuals looks like!

Here’s what 2 flats of shade-loving annuals looks like!

I’d never seen those flowers before — at first, I thought they were a new variety of impatiens.

Their name starts with a “T” — Torinia?  They grow to 8″ high.

I’ve had that HEAVY ceramic urn for years — this season it’s sporting a Boston fern!

Yesterday I bought a pair of white wood, cottage-y containers:


Now . . . just what to plant inside them!?

Stay tuned!



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