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Before and AfterDecorating My HomeRenovating my House

Springing Forward: My Landscaping Project (and a favorite new garden)

With Spring almost here and my hardscape installed, I’m eagerly looking forward to Spring planting. So it’s a good time to share progress on my landscaping project. Recently, I also stumbled upon an Instagram account featuring a garden that captured my heart… so I’m sharing some inspiration here too!

It’s been a few weeks since you I shared an update on what’s happening with my new garden. I’m so looking forward to Spring because now that the hardscape has been installed. Plant material is up next.

A few weeks ago I came across this Instagram account and immediately fell in love with their garden. I sent it to MaryAnne White (who designed the garden in my last home) and she replied, “I love it, it’s like a fantasy.” 

So I popped a few of my favorite images with you next to get your feedback! Keep reading!

A look at our home before any landscaping work

Ok here’s the before. One of the biggest issues was creating parking close to the house. Before we took out the asphalt driveway there was no place to backup, unless there was only one car parked in the front.

Everyone had to back all the way down the driveway in order to get out which meant they were always running over the row of boxwood etc.

We had to add gravel to the driveway after the reno because all the trades had to park and the side of the driveway became mud.

Read more: See the 500 White Tulips in my Last Garden

We don’t use the garage because it’s our warehouse and truly, our weather is so temperate we don’t need it. Also, it’s just awkward because the minute there’s one extra car parked in front of the house. Any guest would have to move if either of us wanted to go somewhere (and back out of the garage).

We needed a parking bib for sure. And now we have one (below), we also got a portion of our property back as you can see with the addition of the new gravel driveway and garden beds on the left.

We hired Matt and his team from Vandenburg Landscaping to install the hardscaping and they did a really beautiful, professional job. We are really happy. 💛

Here’s the front of the house before we moved in:

Related posts: Phase one of our Landscaping has been installed: Before & After

The first thing we did was remove all the overgrown shrubs and trees, painted and over grouted the stone. Take a look below:

And then we added the hardscape directly in front of the house. I love how it looks already but it needs a fountain next. If you have any recommendations please post them below!

My new favorite garden space

Ok here is the garden I fell in love with. It’s Dudek Garden, you can follow them here.

Here are a few snapshots of her videos:

I love the grasses mixed in with the white hydrangeas and boxwoods.

Here are some Fall moments:

Landscaping plans for the front of our house

And, back to reality.

Here are my trees. And I am in need of A LOT MORE shrubs!  I never would have thought to plant circles of boxwood but for some reason I can’t get enough of it!

Here’s a look at the overall landscape plan for the front of our property:

The other day someone on Instagram asked if this house was a new build and if you’ve been following me since the Fall of 2022 you’ll know it wasn’t.

However, I would not have been able to dream up this house had I started from scratch I love it so much. It was truly a miracle to find it and still be 5 minutes away from my Sisters and my Mom.

If you’re new here, this was what our last home looked like, and this is what the garden looked like when we took possession.

Our last house had a secret garden feeling in the backyard and here we have a fabulous mountain view. Helped along by the oversize Christmas trees I cut down the same week we took possession. 

Okay, back to the current project, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please comment below.

If you need help with your exterior – I have several exterior eDesign packages to choose from. 

And speaking of Spring… there’s never been a better time to enroll in one of my workshops. Homeowners are welcome here. Design professionals can join me here.

Oh! And I’ve been working hard behind the scenes on something BRAND NEW! The homeowners enrolled in my February workshop will get the first look. Then I’ll be sharing it with my True Colour Experts and email list. So, if you haven’t subscribed yet – you better get on the list now!

Related posts:

Phase 1 of my Landscaping has been Installed: Before & After

Our Front Garden & Driveway Design Idea

A Colour Expert with an All-White Garden?

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36 Comments

  • What a difference good well kept landscaping makes. Love your inspiration photos with varying heights and plenty of boxwood.
    I do want to say please be cautious re a fountain- you have A lot going on visually on exterior of your house …a fountain (especially in the front of house ) can almost always make house look “a bit much”, especially since you are not in Italy or the south of France!
    Love your work & have followed you for many many years

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    • Bette says:

      I agree — in my opinion, a fountain is in the same category as over-decorating an interior. Also, outlier comment, but your neighbors are close and might not appreciate the noise of a fountain. Like wind chimes — one person’s enjoyable sound is another person’s nails on a chalkboard.

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      • Cynthia says:

        My neighbours have wind chimes that have driven me crazy for over twenty years. The splash of a fountain, I believe, is in a different category. I can’t imagine that her neighbours are so close they would even hear it. You can’t have a fountain vigorously splashing anyway or you’ll have to keep adding water to it all the time.

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      • Lorri says:

        I always wonder if people who hate wind chimes are being forced to listen to cheap ones.

        We have a better quality wind chime that is purposely tuned to certain notes and just sounds soothing.

        • Sigh Lenz says:

          No, Lorri, I promise you the cost of the windchimes does not matter. The problem is they chime all day and all night. Most people believe it is rude to impose your noise on your neighbors. Unless you live on a ten acre plot.

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    • Lorri says:

      I don’t think you have to be in Europe to have a fountain. If the fountain looks too ornate for the house, then yes it’s going to look like too much. But if you have a more simple house and choose a simple fountain, it’s fine. Plus it brings birds into the yard.

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  • Sheree Jones says:

    I bought a beautiful fountain at Frontgate.com. It was pricey but worth it.

  • Char says:

    Love the garden plans, Maria. I can’t wait to see how it turns out, especially all the different grasses along with the hydrangeas. What about tulips? Can we expect to see a spectacular display?

  • Debbie says:

    Hi Maria, it looks as though your little stone terrace where you plan to put your fountain is not entered to your front wall ( garage wall) . Was this just an angle distortion from the photo in this article, or is it off centre? If so, I think it will drive you mad one the vertical fountain is in, emphasizing the asymmetry. Just a comment. The rest looks fabulous and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the grasses and boxwoods in your inspiration pics.

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    • Cathy says:

      I noticed that too and I would find it really distracting to have anything out of symmetry. Cathy

    • Dana says:

      I like the off center fountain. To my eye it lends a more organic look emulating nature’s flow and speaks to the curves in her driveway.

    • Sheree L says:

      If you look at the overall plan that shows the landscaping from a bird’s eye view, it shows the fountain centered.

  • Shelly says:

    It’s so educational watching your changes and improvements. It was hard to visualize in the beginning where it was going. Is it common in Vancouver for large homes to only have single car garages? I’m assuming you don’t have a basement either. In the U.S. midwest we have basements and/or attics for storage and all but smaller footage homes have 2 or 3 car garages. I hadn’t noticed your garage size until you pointed it out in this post.

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    • Shelley says:

      That single garage is a faux garage meant for storage. Her actual “car” garage is where the fountain is going but you enter from the side so it’s hard to see in these photos.

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  • Beth says:

    I really like what you have done to the outside of the house. It looks so much better. I also love the pictures of the landscape that you posted. I’m an avid gardener and love being outside planting. But I think that you should add some annual spring/summer color to the front of the house as well as the shrubs. Some pots of colorful flowers around the pool would be beautiful. Like the outside. It’s the inside yellow/green and wallpaper that is not my taste. But it’s your house and you should use the colors in it that make you happy. I have mostly whites and creams and touches of black in my house and very little prints which is my taste and has been for many many years. I do have a green roof and shutters on a beige stucco house which I like and probably many others don’t. Have tons of fun planning your landscaping which will be beautiful.

  • Cathy says:

    Hi Maria, The Dudek garden is beautiful and worth emulating. Here in Ontario the boxwood blight has arrived. It went to England around 2012 and reached here a couple of years ago. But. the point is, that it has killed 300 and 400 year old boxwoods in England and rapidly killed off some in my area last summer. Monty Don, the great English gardener and tv personality (“Gardeners World”) had to remove his 30 year old boxwoods this year after 10 years of trying to save them. Long story short, I wouldn’t grow box but look for something that can do that job like Hill’s yew or euonymus. As an aside I also love hakone grasses – especially “Aureola”. Happy Gardening. Cathy

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    • Pam says:

      Good advice. I’m watching and waiting here in southeastern MI for the blight to show itself. It has shown in a small community here in 2018 but so far have been lucky. I have a ton of beautifully established boxwood and when the time comes, I’ll have to replace with hicks yews probably. Hoping for some science solution to be discovered before that happens.

    • Carol F. says:

      On the blog ChrisLovesJulia, they talked about returning 130 boxwood plants they had ready to plant and swapping them for compact Japanese holly because they were warned of the blight. They live in North Carolina.

  • Marilyn says:

    I like Masserelli fountains….:-)

  • Janet says:

    Hi Maria, I love the combination of grasses, hydrangeas and coneflowers (a great pollinator plant, and there are white-flowered ones if you prefer) in your inspiration landscape! But with all the clipped boxwood, that garden is a nightmare to maintain, and all the clipping wastes a ton of energy — and then of course there is the blight that is now threatening the plants. I would ask MaryAnne to substitute boxwood alternatives that naturally attain the size and shape you’re looking for instead — Emerald Boxer holly, Ilex Gem Box and Nordic inkberry are a few possibilities.

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  • Evelyn says:

    As a Landscape Designer I see the appeal of the Love Garden. It includes all elements of a fabulous garden with contrasting shapes, colors and textures.
    After having designed hundreds of ornamental gardens,I now design using permaculture practices. Permaculture supports the ecosystem. It is a closed loop systems as seen in nature,where nothing is wasted. I now choose plants that support my family, pollinators, the soil biome and wildlife. YouTube channel Canadian Permaculture Legacy has some great information. Individual actions can help heal an ailing planet!

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  • Kimberly Turner says:

    Long time follower, first time commenting. I love your work! As you design your garden and grounds, please do it in a way that protects biodiversity – so needed right now to support insects, butterflies and birds. Good places to learn more are the work of Doug Tallamy https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/in-the-garden-rethinking-the-nature-of-nature/2020/02/11/656fc87a-46ce-11ea-ab15-b5df3261b710_story.html. Or Piet Oudolf https://oudolf.com/garden/highline

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  • Pattie says:

    Love your ideas, Maria. We have A LOT of boxwood in our home gardens. I have a love-hate relationship with them. Some varieties we have planted (and there are so many varieties) do so well. Others are always having issues. Some get boxwood blight, growth issues, and winter burn as we are in the northeast US. I have always kept track of the types planted in our various gardens over the years, but often if we need to replace one or two we can’t find the identical type years later. They also require a lot of trimming and shaping. We have some trimmed to a hedge in our front gardens up the walkway, but I prefer them kept in an oval shape which our gardener is very good at doing. I like this look around the pool patio and knot garden that we have in the front of the house. But we do pay someone to do this as we don’t have the skill to do it. ourselves
    I still love them but they aren’t low-maintenance in my opinion.

    • Maria Killam says:

      I agree but the beds directly behind the house in the patio area I love having green all year round which is why I chose them. Maria

  • Dana says:

    My comment isn’t as glam as the others. 😉 I’m normally not one for gravel driveways, but I’m not surprised that Maria’s looks so nice and curated, unlike the previous concrete driveway that was there when she bought the house. It’s thoughtful to leave the parking pad a hard surface. I’m wondering if there are plans to install pavers as indicated on the landscape schematic.

    • Maria Killam says:

      It was asphalt not concrete and completely in the wrong place, we have a septic field all in the front which means we couldn’t install a parking bib there nor would that have looked good. Down the road when I have money to burn it could potentially be concrete or pavers but definitely not today. Thanks of your comment. Maria

  • Jody says:

    Well now I am thinking of boxwoods or it’s substitutes around trees too. Heading to Dudek gardens now!

  • ksw says:

    I’d make several comments. One is that landscape architects tend to put too much material in the plans so that in a few years, the design is crowded. Landscape companies love to install larger and too many plants because it bumps the ticket. Installing a smaller plant the first year will save a lot of money and will look just fine next season. A gifted landscape architect gave me that advice and one that has stuck with me for decades – -your landscape should look as good to you from inside your window as to those driving by. Too many plans focus only on the drive by. Finally, in Arizona, the new modernist homes are planted with too many or too minimalistic plantings and are rectilinear. Our climate is so harsh in summer and certain plants like agaves have a limited life cycle. When plants succumb to the heat or the agave blooms, there is a hole in the plan which can’t be filled without ruining the symmetry of the new style of designs. Contrast that with naturalistic plantings which can be tweaked and still look harmonious and you see why I like a natural planting look.

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  • Jerry says:

    Beautiful gardens and it is nice to dream. I hope you have a garden care keeper. We maintained 2 acres to the level of those photos. We found it relaxing as a break from our occupations. Once we retired though, my wife and I looked at each other and said, “We didn’t retire to be caring for our gardens full time and keeping it looking nice for the neighbors”. So we moved to northern Arizona and our lawn mowing days are over and beautiful landscaping requires so much less time.
    To have gardens like those in the photos are a lot of work. It appeared that your gardens at your old house were smaller than what these will be at your new house. Someone as busy as you are, would need help in maintaining those type of gardens, but I’m sure you have thought of all of this. Keep the scale manageable and enjoy life, or get a gardener.😊

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  • celestial says:

    These gardens are drop dead gorgeous and truly admirable. I would caution you on the circular boxwood idea. Such a design requires careful pruning at the right time. Invariably, one of the boxwoods will die or suffer winter burn and you end up with a most unattractive hole in the circle. My husband loves tightly pruned shrubs and we have had more than a few unsightly deaths in the groupings after our Minnesota winters. I have learned that random placement works better in our climate.

    Gravel drives and patios are very French. I’ve always wondered how they keep the weeds down during the growing season. Our gravel ways seem to have sweet sorrel growing somewhere all the time.

    What I love best about the garden is that it does not rely on flowers. Rather, the different textures of the plants provide such a great variety for the eye. It is somewhat like a Japanese garden.

    • Boxwood Betty says:

      If you really want boxwood rings, you have enough land to plant a “backup” ring of boxwood somewhere out of sight. Trim/grow it the same as your “main” rings. Then if one dies in one of the “main” rings, you have a back up ready to be transplanted from your “backup” ring.

  • Monica says:

    Campania International has a huge selection of fountains with different finishes. My current trough fountain fits the design of my patio, but it was too deep to be safe for birds. I had my landscaper cut a piece of thin natural stone to sit just under the water surface along the entire length and width of the fountain. Birds can now safely enjoy a quick bath and I enjoy watching them.

    I have a lot of boxwoods (Green Velvet) in my yard in Chicago. Many of them are 20+ years old and are still looking great. However, I’m the only one who trims them. I lost 6 boxwoods one year after a landscaper trimmed them heavily and they never recovered. If you are looking for a low maintenance shrub I can recommend Linesville Arborvitae , it doesn’t require trimming or shaping.

    I agree with some of the other comments that the boxwood rings around the trees might be difficult to maintain. If one plant dies, it will ruin the symmetry.
    A mixture of grasses, perennials, evergreens and deciduous plants won’t just enhance curb appeal, but it will also provide food and shelter for wildlife .

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  • Amateur says:

    I agree about Campania International. Lots of great styles. I have a cast stone birdbath and a cast stone faux bois bench made by them. I’ve been very happy about how they look and how they are holding up. Bought both at my local independent-owned nursery, although I believe some styles are also available on Wayfair.

    Consider a birdbath or a fountain/birdbath! It will be right outside your window – fun to see the birds.

    (Unless you have crows, that is! After we moved our birdbath from the backyard to the front yard, every morning we would discover it filled with crud the crows left behind – bones, avocado skin, bits of bread, stuffing from outdoor cushions, you name it! Yuck. But we are on a 50ftx100ft urban neighborhood lot. Probably fewer crows show up in a less urban setting.)

  • Linda Johannessen says:

    I highly recommend using native flowers, grasses, & shrubs. They’ll grow effortlessly, require minimal maintenance, and you’ll help save ‘the world.’ Look into ‘homegrown national park.’ Much of the inspirational photos are meadows, but you can do more formal landscaping as well.

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  • Anita Rosen says:

    I see you have a lot of grass. When planting your grass instead of planting invasive European grass consider planting native grasses. Native grasses are so much better for your environment. They create a diverse ecosystem that supports native birds. Most sod companies now have a number of different choices of native grass. You can get longer meadow like sod or if you like a traditional green law they’ll have sod that replicates the look of an English green lawn. Another benefit of native grasses are they don’t need to be mowed very often. In my area they only need to be mowed in the spring and fall.

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