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About meBefore and AfterWhite

My New Boxwood Garden Beds; Before & After

By 07/17/2017July 8th, 202242 Comments

Well it’s been awhile since I’ve posted pictures of my garden. To update those readers who are new, four years ago, I demolished my entire garden, the front and back yard, and installed brand new landscaping, with the help of my fabulous landscape designer MaryAnne White.

I’ll get to my new boxwood beds in a moment, here are a few before’s and after’s of the garden as it looks now.

Front Door – After

Front door – Before

Spring 2020

Gardens are living, breathing and constantly changing MaryAnne says, it’s not like a room where you hire a designer, place all the furniture and accessories, and until you move things around, it could look exactly the same for years!

You don’t really know how your plants are going to function until you install a new garden. Then, as everything starts to grow, some plants will grow faster, some slower, you have to move things around until you discover what works for YOU and YOUR garden, and the area you are in.

What I loved the most about working with MaryAnne, is I  loved everything she suggested, if you find a designer whose aesthetic you like, everything is way easier. I instantly loved the English garden vision she had for my garden. The only direction I gave her, was that I wanted a white-on-white garden (with yellow as a secondary colour), lots of boxwood and white and yellow Shasta Daisies.

When you work with an experienced Decorator whom you hire because you love their aesthetic, when they present you with their suggestions, you pretty much love them all. It wasn’t like this for me at the beginning. Twenty years ago when I would arrive with fabrics, I would bring most of my fabric books as back-up, hoping that something would stick. Now I show up with option one and two and usually option one is the best and that’s the one we go with.

It works the same way with an experienced landscape designer. Every day, my garden fills me with joy and I think how lucky I am that MaryAnne found me (she was a reader who approached me when I started talking about what I was going to do with my landscaping). And she did all of this LONG DISTANCE from New York.  Follow her on Instagram here.

I thought we’d do a little review of the before’s, three years ago and how it looks today, five years later.

Related post: Professionals know When to Avoid the Obvious

Before – April 2012 (when we took possession) My nephew William was so happy we had moved close by

June 2014

You can tell when a professional has designed your garden beds because there are no straight lines (unless your design is ultra-modern) everything has a curve.

July 2017

May 2020

I loved the way the boxwood is square in front of the house, and the L that frames the doorway with a curvy bed, a spot for a garden bench (upper left), and the curvy, flagstone pathway leading up to the front door.

Often when Tricia and I are choosing colours for our exterior eDesign projects, we will mention landscaping. If you are not happy with your exterior, it may not have anything to do with the colour, it might be that you need landscaping.

The same thing happens inside. You’ll paint a room and immediately start criticizing the paint colour because the room is not decorated yet.

MaryAnne, can design much more than an english garden. She has been designing landscapes of all shapes and sizes for 30 years.

The former owners had created a gravel driveway for their RV. You can start to get a sense of why the entire garden had to come out, just wait until you see all the concrete in the back yard.

After – June 2014

We planted Shasta daisies beside the hydrangeas in the first installation, but I moved them later, in between some shrubs a little more to the left underneath the windows (above).

I loved my Hebe shrubs, but because there is only ever about 3″ of growth before you hit branches, I did not have them trimmed. They were quite big by this year and got damaged by the heavy snow we had this winter which is rare for the West Coast, anyway, I had them cut right back this Spring and I’m worried that I’ve killed them – eeeek. I see a little bit of growth (below) but they are still looking mostly brown!

I really love the Ladys Mantle. My next door neighbour had lots so she gave me some.  I planted them all along the edge on this side of the garden and I love the yellow blooms.

You could say that my garden is really white and yellow.

Spring 2020

In my front yard, the transformation of my walkway is my favourite (below):

Before – Spring 2012

June 2014 

After – July 2017

Before – when we moved in, April 2002

After – July 2017 Photography by Maria Killam

This is what my yellow sofa looks like from the street at night because I have two up lights sitting on the floor behind the sofa.

From May 2020 when our new mini golden doodle Lucy was just over a year old

MaryAnne specified white Irises in the area with the concrete urn. Once they’ve bloomed, it just looks like long green grass which is really pretty behind the clipped boxwood hedges.

I had to plant a bunch of new lambs ears this Spring because the winter killed a lot of it and it just wasn’t coming back. Love the new large leaf variety that my gardener planted.

Here’s a photo of the irises in bloom (above).

And then, the backyard, which was, unfortunately half filled with concrete (below).

Here’s what my studio looked like BEFORE it was completely transformed from a work-shed.

After – June 2014

The first year I bought these green adirondack chairs for $99 each at a big box store. They were literally TRASHED the following year because they were some kind of inexpensive wood. So then, I got smart and bought white plastic adirondack chairs with a 30 year guarantee (below). This way they can sit out all year long and I don’t need to worry about them.

I also really loved the evergreen Clematis MaryAnne specified to grow along the right side of my studio (above) but one year it died in the winter and the following year, after I planted another one, it died in the summer??? Even though we had a sprinkler system by then. Sigh. So this year I bought Wisteria, and you can see it’s just starting to climb. My local nursery said that in Yarrow, the winds are too strong and this type of Clematis doesn’t survive.

I even had lattice installed all along the soffits so that it would grow right across. I have yet to see that happen. Hopefully the Wisteria will like it there.

I have started planting thyme in between the flagstone pathways in the backyard (below). I have so much flagstone, I just focused on the front yard the first few years.

After – May 2020

Then, there’s the vegetable garden. We had two white sheds on either end of the garden, so MaryAnne designed a lattice fence to connect the two buildings as well as define the vegetable garden from the flower beds.

She designed bigger beds in front of the lattice but I thought my garden was big enough so I asked for something simple. She suggested yellow roses.

But the problem with the roses is that they looked the prettiest when I was standing in the vegetable garden when they were in full bloom (below).

And then in the winter, I was just looking at these sticky shrubs.


So I asked MaryAnne for a design that included large and small boxwood so that it would be prettier to look at in the winter time since this fence is really the focal point of our view from the kitchen and family room.

And here’s what she sent me:

Along with this computer generated simlulation:

And here they are now:







Terreeia manages the vegetable garden but she let me install some terra cotta pots with boxwood.

MaryAnne even designed the flagstone to be installed starting in the grass and go into the vegetable garden just like this (above).

This year, we missed planting something underneath the tutor so it’s looking a little naked.

Before – April 2012


After – May 2022

I’m soooo happy with my new boxwood beds, they really feature the lattice fencing now which I was smart enough to get installed in vinyl so they never need to be painted.

Before – April 2012


My daisies planted around the decorative fence beside the driveway.

Here’s the before pic again (above)

and the After

Spring 2020

Hope you enjoyed the update!

My bathroom renovations are coming along, the demolition was done last week, then the electrician came to install all the wiring for the new lighting and then the subfloor was installed for the tile installation which starts tomorrow! I’ll be posting on my Insta-stories here.

Have a great week, thanks for stopping by!

Related posts:

Maria Killam’s White Garden Transformation, Before & After

It Takes a Village to Own A Home, Before & After

Ignorance is Bliss: Before & After








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  • Fran W. says:

    Gorgeous landscaping, Maria!! Last year, we took out all of our front yard landscaping and hired a landscape designer who came up with a beautiful design with interesting plants. We also resodded the entire yard. It has given us so much pleasure. It amazes me how often people neglect landscaping. It makes such a huge difference in the look and feel of a home.

  • Pam says:

    Your garden is beautiful and so peaceful looking! Here in central Alabama, wisteria is beautiful, but grows out of control. I hope it is as prolific as you desire.

  • Maureen says:

    Looks gorgeous Maria, super job.

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Your landscaping is so beautiful! But it must be a lot of work to maintain it. You obviously have a green thumb.

  • Claudia says:

    Maria, I love it!!!! What a great job your landscape designer did. Truly wonderful. It gives your home so much character and your yard must be a wonderful place for entertaining. Can you send her to Charlotte, NC please?

  • Kim says:

    Simply stunning and beautiful, Maria. I love the white on white theme.

  • Linda says:

    Gorgeous favourites of mine.. hydrangea and daisies (so friendly) and the boxwoods add a touch of elegance. I love a green & white theme in the garden. And, having designated areas designed to address different needs is brilliant.

  • Holly says:

    Wow. Wow. Wow. It is just g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s. !!!!!!!

  • Flo says:

    I LOVE the front door. Mine is the same color.

  • Lucy HAINES says:

    What a wonderful journey your landscaping has become! It is amazing how something that just looks blah could become a big WOW! It reminds me of life in general. Beauty ebbs and flows! Your whole landscaping front and back is just stunning. How do you have the time to keep up with all of the plants and planting? Do you have a fantastic gardener? The one portion of your yard is the area in front of your studio that I love. The chairs outside are so inviting and I can see you with clients just sitting there after a session drinking a tall cool drink. haha. I do wish that you would have kept the chairs green however. Maybe the new ones didn’t come in a color?

    Your posts are all so inspiring! Love them all!

  • mrsben says:

    Absolutely beautiful Maria! I can hardly wait to see the reveal of your bathrooms. -Brenda-
    P.S.: Hopefully you are not in the vicinity of any of the wild fires as so sad to see and wish we here in Ontario could send you our rain.

  • Dede says:

    I have to assume that you are the envy of the entire neighborhood. Your garden is awesome. I would feel better if you simply told us you have a full time gardener.

    • Maria Killam says:

      I don’t have a full-time gardener but I do have a gardener for sure! I don’t have time to do anything but basic weeding, some deadheading and cutting flowers for bouquets! Maria

  • Ruthie says:

    Hi Maria, Your grounds look amazing!! The white on white is so very cheery and happy!! She, and you, did a lovely job!!! As a landscape architect, it is so wonderful to see good design! Often times I just shake my head and wonder, “What were they thinking?” Where are you thinking for shutters? If you do add those, and I wonder if you have the room, please make sure they are sized correctly and consider adding shutter frogs. Your blog brings a smile to my face every time I see one!!! They are all right on target, doesn’t matter the topic!!!

  • Nancy says:

    Wow the before and after.
    The after is drop dead Gorgeous!!!
    Master piece !!!!

  • Virginia says:

    Lovely, but please note that wisteria can be very structurally damaging! You may want to cut it back for non-aesthetic reasons if it starts to climb along the roof part. I recommend talking to someone who has dealt with its damage so you know what you’re getting into. There are some cold-hardy passionflower vines and some other species of evergreen clematis that might be a gentler fit for the look you’re going for. Good luck!

  • Lorri says:

    Your garden is so enchanting. Love the changes in front of the white fencing!

    I’m impressed that you two have a vegetable garden! Could you do a post on what is grown in the vegetable garden and how Terreeia manages it and how much time it takes?

  • Sneeze01 says:

    What are the white flowers in the front behind and to the side of the bench? This is just beyond beautiful. I echo the concern with the wisteria. It is soooo heavy! (but beautiful).

  • Tina Meyer says:

    Maria, I must say that your garden has been transformed so beautifully from before to after and I can just imagine how much enjoyment you both get when working outside. Your gardener has done a wonderful job – the transformation is amazing. Hang on to her!


    • Maria Killam says:

      Thanks Tina, to be clear, I tell my gardeners EXACTLY what to do, the garden design is fabulous but the project management of the installation of everything was done by me. Maria

  • Camy S says:

    Absolutely stunning- love, love the curves and textures. Thank you!

  • Rosemary says:

    Just WOW!

  • Looks great! I know from experience how hard it can be to keep things alive and was told to get Hebes in my area. Now I know not to cut them too much when I do get them. Sand salt and wind help me kill a lot for plants, along with the complete lack of sun on one side in the winter and 12 hours a day in the summer. And then ya gotta water them! LOL

  • Words cannot describe. It’s perfect. Absolutely perfect.
    Stunning, jaw-dropping perfection.
    What a transformation. Not to mention the value you added.
    You must be beaming!

  • Calliope says:

    This is one amazing garden Maryann and Maria!
    I NEED a Maryann in my life, that I would GLADLY pay big, but in Greece garden designers are soooo difficult to find…
    so my garden has come to a standstill, and it is pretty bland and monochromatic…
    I have planted lots and lots of lemon trees and orange trees and lavenders and they make me sooo happy. Thid years i planted my first vegetable garden and boy…I am sick of cucumbers by now! Thank god tomatoes are next!
    Great job Maria!

  • Becky says:

    Fantastic! I too am a big fan of evergreen shrubs for winter color. Completely dead flowerbeds all winter long really don’t thrill me, even if they’re full of snow! Winter is long in MI! (Longer yet in Canada!) Give me year-around pretty!

  • What a treat to start your day with that in your backyard. Talk about design inspiration! Garden design is so different than interior design, but both have such a huge visual impact on a space. Both types of design are truly amazing!

  • Ann says:

    Maria, thank you for posting your beautiful pictures. I’m sure your neighbors are delighted to look at and enjoy your stunning landscaping everyday. I really loved that you posted your progress and modifications of your plants. I think we do think of yards sometimes as furniture that stays pretty in the perfect spot but plants are living things that need modifications throughout time.
    I moved from a house that had a beautifully designed yard to one that is a mess. It’s so frustrating since we have run out of money to make some of the changes that would make a big impact.

    I really love all of the white plants. Simple and elegant!!

  • Maryanne Whitw says:

    4 years and it only gets better with time!

  • Linda says:

    Love the landscaping!! So gorgeous! I can’t imagine the work involved in getting rid of all that cement! Thanks for sharing the before and after photos. 🙂

  • Stacy G says:

    I love the privacy created by the tall greenery too and wish I would have planted something like that years ago so that I could have a similar backdrop.

    By the way, I don’t know if you settled on a round gold mirror yet, but I happened to see one at Williams-Sonoma Home that is 40″ in diameter.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely landscaping with us!

  • amyks says:

    Gorgeous, and it also has such a calming nature. The boxwood and the daisies, along with the silver lambs ear, all complement each other perfectly. I have 2 long, but narrow built in planters on my small patio and I have them filled with grasses, lavender and daisies. Boxwood wouldn’t work because they are too big and formal for my space, but they look like amazing in your space. I love everything about it, great decision to replace the rose beds.

  • Alisha says:

    And I’m showing these photos to my husband who doesn’t understand why I want a landscape designer involved. 🙂
    It looks beautiful!!

  • Ruthie says:

    Going over this a second time! Still so lovely! Have you thought about painting your white front storm door (only the storm, not the rest of the trim) to match the great green front door? It may make more of a statement from the street, and as one walks up to your entrance.

  • Miranda says:

    Beautiful!! Love the green, white & yellow theme.

  • Brandon owens says:

    I love your garden and I am very interested to know what is the tall privacy hedge that lines your back yard it’s exactly what we are looking for I know it looks like some kind of evergreen

  • mamaligadoc says:

    With respect !!!

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