Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Garden Design Plan

Do you know my good friend Kelly Elko who writes the popular blog Eclectically Vintage? Kelly is an inspiration: she loves decorating and restyling her home - many times with antiques, yard sale goodies and even curbside finds. She has an original point of view, which I really admire.

Kelly lives in a beautiful 100-year old home in the prettiest neighborhood of historic homes. She asked if I would make a few suggestions for landscaping her backyard. Here are photos, starting with the front of the house.
Isn't it charming? The front is postcard perfect. And here is the backyard.
I think Kelly took these photos in early spring when the flowering trees were in bloom. The deciduous trees were still bare, which allowed me to study the yard with its bones and views.
Some of the trees, including the Arborvitaes, look unhealthy and need to be cut down. Remember, Kelly's home is over 100-year old, so she inherited many of the trees. One really great feature about the yard is that it is flat.
A view of the back of the house with the addition and the sunroom to the left. 

Wonderful flagstone terrace! You'll notice in my design plan (below), I suggest extending the terrace to the left. The furniture looks a bit crowded. Also, there will be less grass to mow and more time to enjoy cocktails :)
A gorgeous plum tree planted recently. Notice the two A/C units. Kelly did tell me this south side of the property gets hot afternoon sun.
The seating group currently faces the driveway. I moved it to face the new garden in the back - see plan below.
A few of Kelly's requests:

-Add tall evergreen privacy wall / hedge in the back, which spans 48 feet from neighbor's fence to garage. The back has eastern exposure. Also, one neighbor's deck sits up high looking into Kelly's house.

-Add plants on sunroom side, which get southern exposure.

-Add plants to shield A/C units.

Thanks to Kelly's awesome photos, here's what I came up with:

A simple, low maintenance garden that has evergreen structure and, most importantly, privacy. 
Make a statement by planting en masse! The focal point will be a substantial eight-foot long bench flanked by big, beautiful Limelight Hydrangeas (which are sturdy and long blooming) behind clipped yew hedges - nicely layered.

In winter, the Limelights can be cut back, if desired. The yews stay green and neat.

The photo above is from my blue garden. Limelight photos are from Dirt Simple Blog.
I've mentioned numerous times how much I love Nellie Stevens Holly. It has white flowers in early spring, followed by berries that turn red. A hedge of these hollies is most useful for shielding the road, neighbors, etc. 
There are groupings of Otto Luyken Laurels (unclipped for a natural look) around the deck and small walkway. I also included a cluster to hide the air conditioning units - these Laurels grow up to four feet high. I like the repetition of the three clusters. 
Looks like there is already an established tree on the property line (near the sunroom). I would plant another one to provide needed shade for the flagstone terrace. Under the shade trees, perhaps Liriope ground cover in either all white or purple. No combo, please! I grow Liriope Monroe White in my own courtyard garden.
BELOW: I believe these are Liriope Royal Purple. Liriopes retain their foliage in winter, but they should be sheared back in very early spring. 

Drifts of Daffodils or other flowering bulbs would be lovely interspersed between the Liriopes. Choose early blooming varieties so they flower before the shade trees leaf out.
For a bit of action, Kelly can have containers of colorful annuals on the terrace - such as this one from Johnson's Legacy Landscapes

Oh, one last thing: I removed the boxwoods and shrubs in front of the basement windows so that sunlight wouldn't be blocked. A dressing of gravel sloping away from the house looks tidy.

I hope you have enjoyed this garden plan. Only a month and a half until spring!!
xo
Loi
PS - Thank you all for the desk suggestions for my niece in the last post. Becky and I both appreciate it. We're thinking of a lacquered Parsons style desk from West Elm.

65 comments:

  1. Wonderful plan and suggestions. You are very talented.
    It was very spring like here today. Want to come to TX to help me in the garden? '-)

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    1. Very tempting as I've always wanted to visit TX. Let's chat :)

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  2. Hello Loi, Your plan will make it look like this backyard is but one segment of a much larger garden. I like the way you plant tall trees at the very back, then place the bench in front of it, creating a vista and enhancing the overall effect. It was also a good idea to get rid of the foundation plantings. In the drawing, you seem to have upgraded her car at the same time!
    --Jim

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    1. Oh, the car......I thought it would be fun!! Glad you noticed.......not sure if anyone else did, haha

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  3. Great inspiration and & direction! You are using some of my favorites!

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  4. Loi your suggestions for new a new landscape plan are perfect. In fact I now know a great way to hide my air conditioning unit!!
    Have a great week!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Artist Frederique Chemin

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    1. You can also use a lattice screen to hide the A/C unit.

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  5. kelly is one of my favorite people in the world!!! love her! love you, too! and this plan! great idea about the seating, too!

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    1. Kelly is the BEST!!! We all need to hang out :)

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  6. Whatever design task you turn your hand to Loi, you always manage to bring your own special touch - you have a unique eye.

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  7. Excellent plan Loi! Looks very easy to manage. You are so talented. Your gardens always look so lush.

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  8. We are going to be landscaping soon and I'm always looking for ideas. So very helpful and I love everything. So grateful for you sharing!! Have a beautiful day.

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  9. Loi, I love how you looked at Kelly's garden and came up with just the right plan. I'm sure it will be gorgeous. I am a huge fan of the limelight hydrangeas, they are just gorgeous. Makes me so excited for spring! Have a wonderful week! XOXO

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  10. Lucky Kelly to be in your hands. I look forward to seeing the end result...love all of your suggestions and my personal motto is there is no such thing as too many hydrangeas, EVER! Have fun....

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    1. Can't go wrong with hydrangeas in the garden. Love them as cut flowers, too!

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  11. Oh I know Kelly....have had the pleasure of being with her on many occasions and her house is gorgeous....so great that you are helping her with a plan for her landscape as you are definitely an expert on creating beautiful gardens and landscape and hardscape too...Love the plan you have for her!...We have a very large backyard and hope to one day add some great hardscape like a brick path to a fountain placed in a round brick pattern walkway...I take such inspiration from your gorgeous landscape!

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    1. Shirley, it would be fun for us to all hang out.....a blogger event one day! Thanks!

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  12. Great plan! I love the gravel against the house, very European.

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  13. Hi Loi, This is really wonderful and has given me some ideas about our own small garden. We have decided this is the year to pull it together. We are having another 'snow day' here today so spring seems a long way off, but I am researching plants by the fire so I will be ready! Have a great week!
    xo,
    Phyllis

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  14. PERFECTION, this landscape designer would not change a thing! loi.your talents are immense my friend. what did you use for your graphics?
    xo

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  15. ooops, for some reason my account is saying sentimental notes, should be debra @ 5th and state........grrrrrr

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    1. Thanks, Debra!!! I sketched it by hand and then inserted the labels in Photoshop.

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  16. Hello Loi,

    Simplicity is always best. The strong background of the Holly makes perfect sense here and we absolutely love the idea of banks of Hyrangea Limelight. We used Hydrangea Annabelle to great effect in the most inhospitable places but it was always reliably rewarding.

    A green and white colour scheme would be perfect in this garden as it can all be viewed at once. It would be restful and would make the spaces appear larger than they would with a variety of colour. The only thing we might dare to suggest......a whacky colour for the garden bench. One could ring the changes at a flick of a paintbrush!

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    1. Kelly already has Nikko Blue Hydrangeas.....would be fabulous to paint the bench blue!

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  17. Kelly must be thrilled Loi and she is fortunate to have had your expert advise on this. Wonderful suggestions and I just love those lime light hydrangea! I'm sure she is looking forward to watching her garden change in the spring. It will be spectacular! xxleslie

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  18. Hi Loi, The house is charming. The landscaping plan makes me want to move right in. xoxo Mary

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  19. Dear Loi,
    You are a MASTER ! The plan is PERFECTION!
    Hope we can see the results.....
    xo
    Patty

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  20. I really love this plan but I am in Connecticut (currently in an ice storm). Would this work for me?

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    1. It should. I have hydrangeas and yews in Maine. Not sure about hollies in CT, but should be fine. Check with your local nursery.

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    2. Thank you for the info. I will check with the nursery.

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  21. I LOVE this PLAN.............hope she jumps to it!BEAUTIFUL charming home..............
    May I ask about the white outdoor furniture who make it?I have never seen that OUT WEST!

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    1. Thanks so much La Contessa - my white furniture is from Home Depot - made by Martha Stewart - but I think it's been discontinued.

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  22. Cannot wait to see the reveal! I love your gardening aesthetics! xo K

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  23. How the cardinals do love the "Nellie Steven's" berries!! We also planted the Otto Luyken Laurels - foliage is lovely. Divine (and doable) landscape design!! franki

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  24. how talented you are + hope she takes your suggestions. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  25. Outstanding! Can't wait to see the final result. I had no clue there was a white blooming Liriope! Our gardens are all white flowers. I might have to find a place to plant some in our courtyard. Xx

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  26. What a lovely garden you have designed for Kelly, I pinned two of your suggestions on my garden pinboard for plants. I always love everything that you design! You have such a gift!! Thank you for always sharing your talent and insights with us in blogland,
    Happy Monday,
    Kathysue

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  27. Loi,
    This looks like a perfect plan! I can't wait to see the photos once everything is installed. I do love those holly. You've chosen beautiful plant material. You have me thinking now....SPRING!! YEAH!!
    Susan

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    1. Such wonderful words from a master gardener - thank you, Susan!!!

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  28. Hi Loi,
    Nice post ... I wasn't familiar with Kelly, nor her blog Eclectically Vintage, but I plan to go and read her blog.
    What an adorable century old charmer Kelly lives in. Loving the flagstone terrace, my parents used to have one
    And it added such a special element. Planting in masse with your design and plant knowledge will be wonderful.
    Wish we all had your guidance.
    xo,
    Vera

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  29. Hi Loi!!

    This beautiful post has me longing for Spring!!! It has snowed a great deal here today and though it is pretty, we are buried in the pretty white stuff! Love the plan you made for Kelly and I hope she'll share the after photos!

    Happy Groundhog's Day!!
    xoxo Elizabeth

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  30. Hi, Loi,

    Yours is a great plan, and I especially like that you've situated the bench in a sort of natural alcove. I hope we get an update as Kelly's backyard garden matures!

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  31. Loi,
    I love this plan. Simple yet beautiful. I will have to search for white liriope. I've only seen purple here in SoCal.

    You have a second career should you ever tire of interior design!
    xo,
    Karen

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  32. Loi,

    If I ever have a garden again Im having you do it! We like all of the same elements and classical pans.

    Cheers,

    Michael

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  33. Oh Loi, YOU HAVE STRUCK AGAIN! Your plans are perfect. She definitely has a lot to work with, and you are the perfect person to help out with those classic details. It's hard for me to believe spring is coming since I'm out here in MINNESOTA, but soon you all will be getting down and into the dirt with your hands. I think your plans will suit her lovely grounds so perfectly! Lots of clipped and perfect green and splashes of color are the way to go with this majestic home!

    I hope you and Tom are getting some interest on your home for sale; I wish you luck! Much love to you, Anita

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  34. oh come quickly, spring! love your plan for this charming home and will check out the blog. hoping you are getting enticing offers on the house and having fun shopping for the next one. peace to you right where you are.

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  35. Oh I am so happy you did this! I wanted your input on my yard too, but have benefitted a lot from this post. I had planned on extending my patio too to get more entertaining space, so I am thrilled that was one of your suggestions. Yay! Wonderful post Loi and perfect timing! xx

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  36. Love the plan, and with your help it will amaze the on looking neighbors.
    Such talent in designs and landscaping, I am going to be writing a few names down for my plantings.

    See you soon

    Xx
    Dore

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  37. This plan is beautiful! I really like your plant choices, can you tell me what zone Kelly lives in? I am in zone 5, I would love to know if any of these plants would survive here in Michigan.

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    1. Kathleen, please check with your botanical garden or the local nurseries. They can tell you what to plant and other options.

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  38. Loi...what a great plan...she does need privacy and this will really help...cant wait to see it...with your creative vision it will look amazing!

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  39. Olá,
    admiro muito teu talento para compor belos jardins. O jardim de tua casa é um dos mais lindo que já vi. E o jardim planejado de Kelly ficará maravilhoso. Quero ver esse belo jardim depois de pronto.
    Plantei flores em meu jardim, inspirado em suas maravilhosas imagens que postasse de teu jardim.
    Bjos tenha uma ótima semana.

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  40. Hi Loi,

    A very well thought plan for Kelly's garden that will materialize into a joyful escape, especially with all those very pretty and fragrant flowers amid all the various textures of greenery.

    Wishing you a lovely week!

    xx
    Poppy

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  41. Oh my goodness Loi! I've always admired your gardens! I can't believe I didn't think of asking for your help. Our backyard is in desperate need of design:/ would love your input!

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    1. Thank you, Julie. I noticed from your profile page you are located in Florida. How nice to enjoy year round sunshine and warm temps!

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  42. Hi Loi, what a beautiful home and great yard to start with!! First off your plan is lovely - structured and clean. How I wish my yard looked that way (maybe I need to hire you to do a plan for me!) and secondly, I am envious of all the plants you have to choose from. None of those listed grow here haha (maybe you won't want to do a plan for me after all). But you've inspired me. We are hoping to renovate the house in 2016, well at least the ground floor and kitchen. And I want to improve the back garden a bit over the next few years, so I shall try to find things we can plant in more mass plantings that give a cleaner coherent look. I like our wild arrangment but envy clean structure. If I could have a parterre and boxwoods and some gravel, and oh well...a chateau...I'd be happier.

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  43. The home is charming, and will surely be enhanced by your fabulous plan! Love the idea of extending the patio. I hope we get to see the end result! It was great to take a little garden break, as the snow and ice is about to start here.

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  44. These photos have got me impatiently waiting for spring.

    I hope all is well Loi.

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  45. I saw this over at Kelly's and all I can say she is darn lucky to have you on board for the garden! Other than your gorgeous home, I truly admire your talent in gardening. Your topiaries are exquisite and of course, as I always say, your garden is MAGICAL - no matter the season!

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  46. Hi Loi, I really like your ideas for this backyard garden space. My first thought matched yours - extend the patio away from the driveway to create a larger, more private space. The layered back hedge, punctuated by that dramatic bench is a terrific idea. If this family does move forward with these great ideas, I hope you'll share the "after" pictures. Garden make-overs are so much fun!
    Suzanne

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  47. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this topic. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him. So I should thank you for the free lunch I got.

    Palm Tree Trimming & Stump Grinding Services

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  48. I love your plan! I noted on the actual picture the driveway is on the right hand side of the picture and on your plan the driveway is on the left with the patio and garden on the right. Which picture is correct?

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Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi