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My Snowflowering Tree Blooms on my Birthday: Before & After

By 06/06/2014June 5th, 201979 Comments

You know when you finish decorating or designing a room and the after photo is so pretty you think “Darn, I wish I had that exact same angle for the before photo?!!”

Well, today, I have it for this angle on my back deck. This was part of the collection of photos I sent my Landscape Architect MaryAnne White 18 months ago when we started planning my landscape project that started last year in April.

We did it all long distance (she lives in New York). Once you find a designer whose aesthetic you like, who cares where they live, as long as it works to do it this way. And it really did.


Before Patio


I love this Snowflowering Tree MaryAnne specified in front of our deck (below). It just went into full bloom a few days ago. That’s how I know my birthday will be here soon : )

One of the questions she asked when we were in the planning stages was “When I walk through the front door of my house, what do I see when I look through the window?”.

So that’s why the tree is planted right here. Our door is pretty much located in the middle of our house directly on the other side of the tree if you were to draw a line through the house.

I can’t wait until the white hydrangeas and Shasta daisies bloom. The daisies in particular have tripled in size this Spring.

After Patio


I have already had a few naps on my Restoration Hardware sectional. A few weeks ago it was raining on a Sunday afternoon, so I grabbed a feather duvet, and got cozy listening to the raindrops for my nap. It felt so luxurious!

Shortcut to Patio

Here’s how you know you are decor obsessed. I was walking through Target last weekend and spotted these x ottomans for INSIDE. But that didn’t stop me from buying two for the patio. Here’s the link to see a close up of the console table.

I installed a couple flagstones here so we could have a shortcut onto the deck from the back of the garden.


One of Terreeia’s friends bought us a white Jasmine vine (my garden is all white) as a housewarming gift last year and we planted it beside the downspout. I love that it’s covering it all up as it grows.

Here’s where our birdbath is positioned, it’s fun to watch the birds now that they’ve found it.

What do you think of my little dancing Buddha?

It’s my birthday tomorrow (I’m 47)! And I’m having a little party now that I’ve pretty much finished decorating my deck.

Wish you were all here with me! xo Maria

Related posts:

What our Garden Looked like last year in June

The First Mistake a new Colour Consultant will Make Every time

10 Things I learned so Far (from my Designer)

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in the door, become a client. On-line or In-person.

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want and to make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. 

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  • Momlady says:

    It’s so nice when a plan comes together! BTW I like your little Buddha…if you think it’s too much then you have to go with that but, perhaps he’d be a nice little surprise tucked into the garden somewhere. I always think it’s nice to “discover” those thoughtful touches in place you least expect to find them.

  • Susan@Susan Silverman Designs says:

    Your back patio looks like an oasis…beautifully done. I’m a little green with envy, because no matter what we do, we have so many bugs to contend because we back onto a forest.

    Enjoy your lovely space!


  • Maggie S says:

    Your house looks beautiful both inside and out.

    Hope you have a happy birthday!
    I’m sure everyone tells you – but you don’t look anywhere near 47

  • Dianna says:

    Your patio area is beautiful and I like the Buddha.

    Happy Birthday! Mine is tomorrow too but I am a bit older than you – LOL!

    Enjoy your day.

  • Chere says:

    Oh ! Happiest of B-days and your New Personal Year ! Your patio is just Fabulous and serene . I concur I like your Buddha simply tuck him elsewhere. I’ve always wondered if a white garden often called a Moongarden is as spectacular on full moons as they claim ! What a stunning change in such a relatively short period of time !

  • StagerLinda says:

    Amazing how much was accomplished in such a short time. Your backyard landscaping is gorgeous. You have a wonderful calming retreat. I like the statue–but I think bigger is better. Happy Birthday, dear!

  • keira says:

    your garden changes are spectacular and i love your buddha (right where he is).

  • Kathy says:

    Happy Birthday! Hope it’s as lovely as your yard. Sorry, but I don’t care for the statue….seems to lack life or color or ?

  • Gina says:

    Happy Birthday! Have a great time celebrating. It’s such a good feeling to be greeted by a beautiful space when walking OUT of your house, not just in. Enjoy!

  • Have a wonderful birthday my dear dear friend! It has been more than a pleasure working with you on your beautiful garden.

    Best Wishes,

  • How lovely to have a tree in your yard that blooms as your birthday approaches!
    Happy Birthday Maria, may your year be filled with happy moments.

  • Kathleen says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! You bought the Restoration Hardware sectional I have been oogling for a couple of years now. My birthday was last Monday and I think we are very lucky to have sunny days and roses blooming.
    I think you should keep your sleeping Buddha – he will help you with your naps.

  • Diana Deal says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I love your birthday-flowering tree and all of the many changes in your garden! Regarding the Buddha statue, I love touches of the Orient in the house, but I think the garden has to be consistent – all Oriental or nothing at all. What does your landscaper say? Anyway, I love your garden and your patio!

  • Judy says:

    Happy birthday Maria, you look absolutely gorgeous you really do! Have a wonderful celebration. I believe life gets better as we age so enjoy although you are still very young.
    Love your garden it’s coming along beautifully too lol
    The statue looks stunning, it to me promotes relaxation, I would keep it.

  • Can’t wait to see it all tomorrow! The magnolia’s bloom for my birthday every year, how wonderful to have spring birthdays!

  • sandyc says:

    Happy, happy birthday, Maria, and happy “new” year. Your garden is absolutely gorgeous And I envy you for having a real Spring. Here in the Arizona desert, with our triple-digit temps already, Spring is long gone. Your little Buddha is cute as he can be but I agree he might be better elsewhere in your garden,

  • Ange says:

    Happy happy birthday. Love your tree. For my 60th last year a friend bought me a lime light hydrangea tree for my patio…I love it.

  • Marla says:

    Your Japanese Snowbell Tree (Styrex Japonicus) is gorgeous, and does give a touch of the Asian feel to your garden, so I, for one, think the Buddha would fit right in.
    What a haven you (and your landscape whiz) have created!

  • Ging says:

    Are you kidding me? This is what your blog has come to.

    • Mary says:

      I agree – the tree isn’t the only thing oozing sap.

    • Kathi says:

      When you spend a gazillion hours writing your blog,teaching people fantastic design tips for free, you can write about whatever the hell you want and have your appreciative “fans” wish you a Happy Birthday,Ging-so let the sap run freely!! have a great birthday,Maria!

      • susan says:

        what kathi said….

        • Cynthia says:

          Me too. Why do cranky people even bother?

          Maria I love love love your landscaping and I’m always glad to see different aspects of it throughout the year. Your mention of a nap on that lovely sectional sounds heavenly. I’m glad you take a few moments now and then to relax and enjoy your space.

          • Robin says:

            Really?? The balls on some people! They do not have to read it!

            Maria, your blog is very personal especially about your own home! I appreciate it as many of us do! I think your home and the landscaping are beautiful. Love seeing the progress and reading about your down time!
            Happy Birthday!

  • Gilda says:

    my birthday is on the 14th–we are Gemini! Hope to get into one of your seminars in the future (Toronto). Have a good one!

  • Fran says:

    Buddhas have to be old & distressed to have any character. If you could beat it up, remove a hand/foot, & bury it in the backyard for a year, it might at least not look so plain. Otherwise, return it.

    • Mary says:

      I agree with Fran. If you’re going to have a Buddha, get a real one – not a cheap knock-off from a discount home furnishings store. RETURN IT!

  • Ellen says:

    Happy Birthday! Love the landscaping and seating area. I personally do not think the Buddha works here. Enjoy your day.

  • bfish says:

    Another Gemini weighing in — and I not only like the Buddha, but also think it’s perfect where it is! (To me, that picture is your best outdoor vignette.) Your garden is very tranquil and he’s right at home there.

    I disagree with the poster who advises all Asian or none at all. As another poster notes, there are Asian plants in your garden — the Pacific Northwest being a place where many of them thrive and are used extensively in landscaping — and an Asian statue is a fine highlight. Perhaps the duality of the Gemini’s nature enables us to embrace both East and West.

  • Lucy HAINES says:

    Maria, You certainly are an artist. Your whole environment is beautiful inside and out and reflects who you are. The Buddha is a fun touch. You could antique it to make it look old and worn but otherwise I would keep it and who cares where you bought it. Such snobbery!

    Have a wonderful beautiful birthday!!

  • Mary-Illinios says:

    Maria, your backyard is beautiful! Just beautiful!
    I’m so jealous of your space.

  • It’s gorgeous Maria! I love it and wish I were there to see it in person and wish you a very happy birthday! Hope your day/week/month…(why not a birthday month) is super fantastic! I’ve so enjoyed following your blog, loved meeting you in person, and enjoyed your classes immensely! Cheers!!!!

  • mrsben says:

    A Sagittarian weighing in and extending HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes to you Maria. Hope you will have a beautiful day! Your backyard has come together beautifully but in all honesty, the Buddha where it is located just doesn’t work for me as IMHO she is competing with too many other accessories. With that said, I think I would consider relocating her to a special place. Perhaps to the other side of your house among the Hosta Plants for an unexpected but tranquil discovery? -Brenda-

  • Cherie says:

    Maria, I think it’s all so inviting and pretty. I like the Buddha because it’s not the usual Buddha. Why couldn’t he move around? First one spot and then another. Your guests would proclaim, “Well, well, you just never know where your little Buddha will be meditating next!” And eventually, he may find the perfect spot to stay in. You and he will both know it’s THE spot when he decides not to move again. Thanks for inspiring me with your outdoor ideas. I’m loving our deck these days, too. Birthday blessings!

  • Connie says:

    Happy Birthday to us–it’s also my b-day. Hope you enjoy your back porch and your day.

  • megeranski says:

    in the photo, that is One Terrific Buddah!!! I say Keep It, and not only that, where did you get it so i can get one!!!!

    only you can tell if it works in the space or not. if it disturbs you in any way, it is antithetical to what it is supposed to do. LOL


  • Scribbler says:

    Happy Birthday! Wonderful space — I know you all will enjoy it. I have never seen a tree like that, but I am going to look for one. They might not like the heat of the Deep South — maybe that is the reason I have never seen one.

    I had the idea for an all white garden at least in front, but the Husband just plants whatever he likes. It keeps him happy, so I “adjusted.” ;>)

  • Linda says:

    Happy Birthday! Maria

  • Fran says:

    An amazing transformation! Love the green Target ottomans. Not loving the Buddha so much. Hope you have a very happy birthday and a year filled with happiness (and colour, of course!).


    P.S. By the way, the earlier Fran post is not mine. I’m the Fran from Atlanta.

  • Lynne says:

    Happy Birthday for tomorrow, Maria. You look amazing and nowhere near your age!
    Your garden is settling down nicely now and I’m loving watching it as it starts to mature.
    Personally I really like the buddha and think he looks good where he is. But I did like someone’s suggestion of quietly moving him about. That appealed to my sense of humour 🙂

  • Karen Savage says:

    Happy Birthday beautiful! The best is yet to come!

  • susan says:

    Haaaaaappy Birthday! I love your deck, your yard and your buddha. I really love the buddha. You have to keep what YOU really love though. I would love to have one exactly like it though. I already have 3…one more wouldn’t hurt (and I’m not a buddhist).

    Have an amazing birthday and a wonderful year ahead. Many blessings to beautiful you! xo

  • susan says:

    make a wish (((maria)))!

  • Frieda says:

    What an amazing space you’ve created, so lovely and welcoming. Love the buddha.
    Have a wonderful birthday, I hope all your birthday wishes come true!

  • BillP says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! I love the sitting area you’ve created and the buddha too! To take some of the “newness” off the buddha, maybe you could experiment with a buttermilk and moss treatment?

  • Sat Hari K says:

    Happy Birthday! And I love the Buddha!!

  • carolanne says:

    oh my Maria, your garden is amazing, have the best of birthdays
    so wish I could be at your party too, your afternoon nap sounded like heaven
    love how your designer used the view from the front door for the tree, totally love designing like that too Happy Birthday xxx

  • Jane says:

    Your backyard looks beautiful. I like the Buddha and I love the suggestion about moving it around so that you come upon it unexpectedly in different places.

  • Adelaide says:

    Happy birthday Maria, and hope the generosity you share with us comes right back to you ten-fold. Your garden looks so pretty and restful. Thanks for the look-see.

  • Brenda says:

    Have a very Happy Birthday tomorrow! It seems a popular birthday day! It is also my husband’s birthday! Love your Buddha, Very beautiful and unique. Have a wonderful party!

  • Susan S says:

    Happy, happy birthday, Maria! Love all the touches on the patio and your Buddha girl(love the pose!) is the perfect compliment at the base of the Jasmine column and the end of the sectional. Ahh, the tranquility!

    A pic of you on your sectional at your party would be fun to see along with the conviviality that’s sure to ensue. Not too much cake though! 😉

  • Kathryn says:

    All white gardens glow at night.

  • june says:

    Budda???!1! I thought it was an Indian dancing GIRL taking a break…and for that reason, I liked it!

  • Karen says:

    Love your garden/back yard. I can see why it would be so wonderful to nap and relax there. Beautiful job Maria. Happy Birthday, the sun is out for you all to enjoy today.
    It would be hard to leave that back deck. Love what you have done with it.

  • Suzan says:

    Happy Birthday!

    The statue isn’t a Buddha.

    It’s a dancing girl/boy from Thailand/SE Asia.

    Maybe someone else pointed this out?

    • mrsben says:

      @Susan: Initially I wondered the same thing but perhaps it is a Bodhisattva (a consort to a Buddha). If you refer to my previous comment, I also interpret it as a female. ☺ -Brenda-

  • Happiest of birthdays to you! I always remember your bday because it was during the TCE training I attended. Have a beautiful day!

  • franki says:

    Have a buddaful birthday celebrating on your lovely patio!!! Keep the Buddha…amazing how quickly “they” age 🙂 I do SO LOVE seeing the finished product!! franki

  • Elaine Haber says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! In 47 short years, you have found your true calling, enjoyed true love and touched people all over the world with your wisdom. Many people never achieve one of these goals–I hope you recognize how special you are! Wishing you a birthday as beautiful and serene as your spectacular backyard retreat.

  • Sharon says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I love, love your landscaping and your back patio! Very well done to the last detail! By the way, the tree you are calling your “Snowflowering Tree” – does it have what ends up being little round ball clusters of white blossoms? We have one that we call our Snowball Tree and I love it as a remembrance of my growing up years on the prairies.

    Hope you have a great time at your party and those around you celebrate you with love and exuberance!!

  • Happiest of Birthdays to you, Maria! That is quite an amazing transformation of your yard and patio. It is so inviting and I’m so glad you shared it with us. It makes me want to do some things to my own outdoor spaces! I love the green and white theme continuing outdoors with plants and accessories. My vote is “no” for the Buddha. Keep showing your yard pictures. Let the party poopers leave the party and the rest of us can enjoy!

  • Lynne says:

    Maria, your tree is called a Japanese Snowbell. These are understory trees, enjoying some shade. They do tend to produce “offspring”, and these tiny trees are easy to transplant to other parts of your yard.
    These trees are lovely by a patio because the flowers form on the underside of the branches. Enjoy this lovely tree for many years to come.

  • April says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! Enjoy your backyard retreat on your birthday and always! It’s gorgeous!

  • Rachelle Kennedy says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I just turned fabulous 50 and it is all good! Love looking at your house and yard pics… 🙂

  • Rhonda says:

    Your garden gets even lovelier as it matures! I know you are enjoying its beauty so much this summer, and that rainy day nap sounds heavenly! Hope this year brings much happiness and many blessings — Happy Birthday! (I personally think buddhas are overused today. He just doesn’t seem to fit in there.)

  • Gretchen says:

    The statue is beautiful and fits right in.

  • Happy Birthday, Maria. Have a buttaful day. I love the Budda. Don’t return it…Place it where you feel comfortable. I am sure you will find right place. I enjoy the before and after. The transformation is extraordinary. I love that you wear your heart on your sleave. I look forward to your posts. I feel I have grown since I went to your first class in Atlanta and looking for an advanced one.
    xo Ann

  • who wouldn’t love the buddha, it’s a feminine piece, gentle and kind, which is what you must be too!

    Happy Birthday, 47 is Nothing!! Enjoy.


  • Roanne says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIA! Best wishes and enjoy!

  • GaBi says:

    Happy Birthday, your patio looks very good

  • Amy B says:

    I like the statue but I would nestle her somewhere in the garden where she will naturally “age”. Something that you see when you look at from the patio.

    (To age her, you could put some moss and buttermilk in a blender and pour over her and she will begin to grow some moss to look like she has been there a while. Google it and you can find a recipe…has to be in the shade for moss to thrive.)

    I can’t beleive that garden looks so mature after just one year…beautiful! Happy Birthday.

  • patricia says:

    Your garden looks so lovely, so inviting; perfect planting choices….
    the buddha???

  • Carol J says:

    I love your little Buddha. I wish I could find just that for my little garden. Maybe I can.

    Happy Birthday, Maria.

  • theresa sheldon-meyers says:

    i love, love, love your little buddha! it’s such a calming personal statement and perfect with your white garden! 🙂

  • Joanne G. says:

    Happy Birthday! We have a covered deck at our new house, and it is a treat to sit outside during rainstorms. The little joys in life are sweet.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Happy Birthday! Love your yard, but sorry not a fan of the Buddha.

  • Lorri says:

    LOVE your landscaping. Happy Birthday!

  • Kathy says:

    It must be very satisfying to see you home and yard and office come together to fit your vision, even from rather plain beginnings. My vote is to keep the statue, perhaps aged as suggested above. Oriental touches have influenced Western design for centuries, and there is nothing purist about this home anyway. I think mixing things up keeps it interesting.

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