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Before and AfterRenovating my House

Our Hedges Got Trimmed! Before & After

By 07/08/2012July 14th, 201925 Comments

Home purchase update #19


We have to wait until the fall to rip out the front and backyard because it’s hard to grow grass in the dead of summer.

The only satisfying thing that happened which certainly improved the view into the backyard was trimming the Jack-in-the-Beanstalk hedges this past week.


Unfortunately, there’s a bald spot to the right of the studio because the whole building was surrounded by 3 more sheds. It was under arrest, haha.

Anyway, I’m thinking we should take them out and plant new cedars when the time comes. Not sure if that is the best idea though, it will bug me to have ‘new’ and ‘old’ ones right beside each other.

By the way, we are over run with morning glory and I hear there’s no way to get rid of it! I can’t believe how fast it grows!

There were trees and sky we hadn’t even seen yet beyond these ridiculously overgrown hedges!

And here’s the ‘after’. My mom bought us 2 cedar boxes so that we can at least grow some herbs and kale for our green drinks this summer since we won’t have a real vegetable garden until next year.

And another view! So much better!

Update in the Spring of 2017.

Here’s what this area looks like now, it’s a vegetable garden with raised beds.


Have a great week everyone!


Related posts:

We are Moving to the Country

It takes a Village to own a Home

Happiness is. . . Light

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  • Tara Dillard says:

    Removing bad landscaping is like getting your home out of jail.

    Men are the worst clients when this needs doing then the most vocal about how fabulous it looks afterward.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  • Gina Kemp says:

    It’s quite a chore to be a lover of beauty, nor is it cheap. So many “have to’s…” that others see as insignificant become an obsession for us.
    It’s hard work and we love it.
    Enjoy, Maria.

    • Maria Killam says:

      So true Gina, thanks for your comment! Maria

    • Paula Van Hoogen says:

      Gina, I love what you said…my Mom was a dental hygenist, who hated having anything in her teeth.
      It’s just the same for us—we just can’t stand ugly!
      :~) Paula.

  • Bonnie says:

    It looks so much better!

  • Maria,

    Making true progress. Congrats on the publicist it’is time for changes for many of us it’s deciding when, where, and how that’s always the question.

    The shrubs may surprise you and start to grow now that they’ve been trimmed. This could have regerated growth so wait and see. You might be really surprised…looks great!


  • KATHYSUE says:

    The more light the better, so I am sure removing those tall shrubs really opened up a whole new world for you. Looks like you are enjoying the process of being a homeowner!!

  • StagerLinda says:

    You and Carine look like bookends!

    Holy Moly, those ‘hedges’ were scary tall. Enjoy the sunlight.

  • Aussie Girl says:

    Hi Maria,
    You are certainly ringing in the changes!
    I think you might be able to hit the morning glory with glyphosate weed killers successfully. You’ll have to keep at it as there will be seedlings come up for a while, but I saw my neighbour do this by persistence.
    Good luck.

  • You might be surprised at how much more you’ll like the hedges will be if you keep them pruned back. It looks like their really doing their job!

  • Debbi in Texas says:

    your bare hedges may actually regrow in the bare areas; I had some trees do that once they were “free” and had more light to generate more growth; I would give them another year of “seasons” to see if they decide to fill in; I’m thinking they will with time and love

  • Kay says:

    Hi Maria,
    Are you sure it’s morning glory and not bindweed? Bindweed is supposed to be ineradicable, but if you rip it out from the roots as best you can and then religiously pull up every strand of it you see, it is possible to have a virtually bindweed-free yard. If the plant is morning glory, the same technique should work for it as well.

    I echo Debbi–formerly bare spaces in our arborvitae have gradually filled in. Light is key.

    Anyway, your yard is looking much better!


  • Marsha says:

    Are you saying that the shrub you’re cutting down is called Morning Glory. We were just in Vancouver and the tall shrub would work nicely in a part of our yard.

  • lois klassen says:

    HI Maria, It was lovely to meet you a few weeks ago. I have a suggestion for the bald spot on your cedar hedges; you could plant another, lower hedge in front of the existing hedge (crisply trimmed boxwood would look good). I’ve seen this “treatment” and it can look crisply sculptural and tidy. The advantage is that once the hedge in front matures you have the option of removing the old hedge behind. Unfortunately, if you commit to this option, there is no going back. The hedge in front will have to stay because the cedar behind it will become bald up to the height of the hedge in front. You won’t notice it unless you change your mind and want to remove the new, smaller hedge.
    Your neighbour to the east – L.

  • lois klassen says:

    One, more thing. Cedar hedges are reluctant to fill in once they are bald – we did manage to fill in a hole in ours by tying some of the side branches together to temporarily fill in the gap and pruning them repeatedly to encourage them to branch. Doesn’t look like you’ve got enough side branches to work with though.

    What you have is bind weed – believe me I know! We’ve battled it on our property for years and have almost won the fight. Digging up every piece of white root and keeping at it, is the key. Don’t ever throw the plant or bits of root in the compost, burn them or throw them in the garbage. Good luck!

  • KJ says:

    According to the Dirt Doctor
    “Bindweed/Convolvulus arvensis. Also called wild morning glory. Introduced from Eurasia. Ranked among the dozen worst perennial weeds in the world. Roots go 6’ deep, can lie in the soil for 30 years and still germinate.Control by increasing organic matter in the soil.”

  • Maggie says:

    Bindweed is VERY hard to get rid of, it is the only thing I use Round-up on (I call myself semi-organic)

    Even with Round-up you have to spray repeatedly because it re-grows if there is the littlest bit of root alive.

  • Make sure your hedge is pruned so that the top is narrower than the base – a sort of wedge shape – so that light hits the lower foliage & keeps it growing well. If your hedge species will regenerate from old wood, this will help it along.

  • Debbie says:


    I would put a red maple tree in that bald spot. There are many types that don’t grow too large. It would give your yard some color. Underneath I would plant a ground cover that is gray green, there are many to choose from and they would contrast nicely with the Maple. Some where on your property you also need to find room for some variegated Gold Euonymus bushes, they are yellow and green and they scream “Maria Killam.” 🙂

  • Maryanne White says:

    In design texture as well as color are equally important. This being said, I would suggest planting 2…yes 2!!….. breaking the age old 1,3,5,7 rule…….Ilex crenata ‘Steeds’ or Ilex meservae ‘Blue Princess’ or ‘Golden Girl’. (dark, glossy ,sharp ,hard, structured , berries) The trick here is instead of both being the same height & width one would be at least 3/4 smaller and planted forward right to the larger Ilex. This would hide the bare spots. In front of this arrangement adding again another texture as well as color 3-5 dwarf buddleia ‘Low & Behold’ blue chip or blue caryopteris ‘Dark Knight’. (soft, blue, grey ,round light ,airy, delicate, flowering). To round off this planting and again add yet another color & texture, a large clump of variegated iris or yellow variegated hosta…….( defined shape, yellow, green, flowering ).Planting in this manner will not only break up the formal line of cedars ( upright, dk green, soft needled ) and bring a more natural look to this area. The ilex will help feed the birds and the buddleia or caryopteris will feed the butterflies adding additional interest to thia area.

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Maria, Isn’t this great?! You get free landscape advice (and good at that!) in exchange for interior decorating
    advice on your blog! That’s cool.
    I like your newer, slightly shorter haircut too!

  • Diane says:

    Wow — those are the tallest hedges I’ve ever seen! They did a great trim job!

  • The hedges do look so much better trimmed.

    I am wondering too if it is Bindweed that you have as I have some as well and cannot get rid of it whereas I grew Morning Glory from seed one summer (in which the flower looks similar), pulled it out in the Fall and it never returned.

    Oh my gosh your Publicist ….. a twin you didn’t know you had. 🙂 -Brenda-

  • Lazy Gardens says:

    Maria –
    Learn the correct language for landscaping:

    “Shovel-prune” = prune the offending plant off at about 6 inches underground.

    “Thin” = remove all the offending plants with a chainsaw.

    That “hedge” looks like “Italian Cypress” which seldom recovers from bald spots and overcrowding. It may make decent compost and firewood.

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