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Renovating my HouseWhite

A Peek Into My Spring Garden

By 04/12/2015November 18th, 201643 Comments

house2015Winter view

have received a few emails asking how my garden looks in the winter, so I thought I’d show you some pictures, along with a few of the before photos thrown in. Can’t resist those!

This yard has undergone such a transformation from just two years ago, when MaryAnne White found me and helped transform the ugliest landscape on the street into one of the prettiest.

When we moved in, this was the walkway to the front door:

before front


Here’s the winter view now:



And here’s the spring view today:


The front view is so much better now that we’ve moved the original downspout to the side of the house and turned the post into a column.

I really love the creeping white phlox in between the tulips. I need to add a lot more perennials in my garden!


Here’s a before photo from another angle:

Side View Before Elizabeth Avenue

Notice the lovely motion sensor lights? They were all over the house, and I couldn’t wait to take them down. If you’re in the same boat, here are some ideas for classic exterior lighting from last week.

Here’s one from before the decorative fencing was installed, and when the thyme was newly planted:



And here’s the fencing:



I love this view from our garden. It’s the reason Maryanne designed a spot for a bench in the front yard:


Here’s the winter side view of the decorative gate MaryAnne designed for me:


I love the way the decorative fencing defines the side of our house from the neighbours’:


Remember this lovely second driveway from two years ago?

Side view Front YardCouldn’t wait to rip this out!

Here’s the winter view after we got rid of it:



And the spring view:



Here’s the front view in the winter:



The spring…



And the summer, which can’t come fast enough:

Front View Elizabeth Avenue


The newest additions to my garden this spring (besides all the flowers) are the new plantings in my concrete urn.  Last weekend, I dragged Terreeia out to a nursery in Vancouver to get them. This was the inspiration photo I was working with:

whiteurn{via Pinterest}

And here are the beauties I brought home. On the left is the before picture, and on the right is what it looks like now. I bought a single boxwood and some ivy and then re-planted my existing white pansies around the middle:

potsI can’t wait to get my boxwood clipped into little perfect hedges!

Tulip season came really early here this year in the Westcoast. Most of my tulips are already finished blooming, except for the north side behind the house.

How do your tulips look? What’s coming up next?

PS. If you need a fabulous garden design, contact my landscape architect here.

Related posts:

Professionals Know When to Avoid the Obvious

The Two Kings of Muck Mountain on Elizabeth Avenue

The Devil is in the Details: Update on my Landscape Project

763 pins


  • Cherie says:

    You’re so lucky! It looks lovely already. Sadly, the last patches of snow have just melted here in Ontario. We have no green grass yet:(

  • Karen says:

    What a gorgeous yard! I love seeing your before and after shots, as well as your yard through the seasons. What is the name of the very tall privacy hedge between your house and your next door neighbor? It looks so healthy! We have tried unsuccessfully to grow a very tall privacy hedge and I wonder which type of hedge you’ve had such great success with. Thanks!

    • Maria Killam says:

      It’s just a cedar hedge but it was existing so I can’t tell you anything more about it, unfortunately. Maria

      • Karen says:

        Thanks anyway for your quick response! Again, your yard is beautiful!!

        • Barbara says:

          Maria gets a lot of rain where she lives, so a cedar hedge is appropriate. Not so much for other areas, though.

          You could try a Hick’s Yew hedge. Slower growing but beautiful and doesn’t need much water after it is established (first two years).

  • Kay says:

    I wondered why people asked for pictures of your winter garden–why would they want to see piles of snow? Now I understand. The winter temperatures must be so mild there. Here in Syracuse, yesterday was the first time I wanted to go out in the garden, where the only things blooming are snowdrops and crocuses. Your garden is lovely.

  • Janet R says:

    I’ve got nothing – still mounds of snow on my daffodil bed here in western NYS and not a hint of a primrose yet. But it is actually warm yesterday – 60s! and I know blooms are coming. Your place looks terrific – love the urn.

  • What I find most interesting on this post Maria is the series of three photos at the end showing same shot in winter, spring and summer and how different the paint color looks – moves from yellow beige to pink beige to greige/gray. It’s why I try to have such an open mind when I look at online photos, the lighting, time of day and season and camera skills of the photographer all heavily sku the color!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Good eye Cathy, two of them are photoshopped and I didn’t try to match the house, plus I’m new with that program. If someone sends you 10 photos of their house for an on-line consultation, you’ll see what the right colour is. Maria

  • Laura says:

    Can you tell me more about your stone walkway? Where do you find stones like that? Are they very expensive? Thank you.

  • Tess says:

    Sooo pretty Maria! You should have SEEN our winter here in Boston. We still have snow, it’s ridiculous.
    Can’t wait til our tulips bloom. xo

  • What a difference! I love the tulips so pretty!! Enjoy!! xo Leslie

  • Lucy HAINES says:

    Maria, Just stunning! What a work of art! All of your hard work certainly was worth this beautiful yard.

  • Trudie says:

    Beautiful garden. I really like your use of white flowers …so pretty

  • Nancy kinkead says:

    Maria. What a transformation !
    Love the design and all the white flowers.
    Went from drab to fab great job.

  • Mary says:

    It is lovely!
    Mary in Ohio

  • Kathy says:

    What a pretty view from your front porch and garden to frame it. When it comes time to replace the vinyl siding, please add some real casings to the windows on the right side. I think grey stained cedar shingles would really complement this home.

  • Brenda F says:

    Maria, I am curious, is your fencing and gate wood or vinyl? Your yard is beautiful! Your neighbours are so lucky you moved in!

    • Maria Killam says:

      The fencing is vinyl, I was so happy to find someone who could build it exactly the way I wanted it to look out of vinyl instead of wood (difficult to keep painted white and perfect).
      The gate is wood and the lattice inside is vinyl. Unfortunately, you can see that the wood part of it is not holding up very well, it’s already cracking at the seams 🙁

  • It’s beautiful Maria! I really love the peacefulness of the white tulips and phlox. We had record breaking snow his winter here in the Boston area and my front yard sustained some damage. I’m working on trimming and reinvigorating my boxwood and considering other changes to spruce it all up. Your garden is absolutely inspiring!

  • Susan S says:

    Ah, so pretty! You’ve come a long way baby as the saying goes! The one photo showing the old sidewalk was actually jarring to the senses, whoa! What a huge transformation the entire landscaping received. I imagine it feels so good pulling into the drive now and I’d wager a bet that your neighbors are thrilled with the results as well. I love to see neglected houses receive that kind of love.

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Hi Maria,
    Just beautiful!
    I was wondering if any of your neighbors have been inspired by you & are now improving their yards.

  • Hi Maria,
    What a lovely home, lots of TLC and your energy. What direction does the front of the home face?

  • Elaine Schmidt says:

    Your garden is so tranquil and lovely. May I ask the name of the springy-leafed bush in front of your tulips in the gorgeous view that replaced your second driveway?

    • Maria Killam says:

      It’s a Hebe bush. That’s all I remember, I’m afraid I wasn’t that good at keeping a record. One day I need to go through all my tags and organize them!

  • Elara says:

    Beautiful transformations in your garden:)

  • Mary from Virginia says:

    Your home and landscape are just BEYOND lovely. I so enjoyed the different season shots. Mary Anne took a very plain exterior and made it into a show stopper. The fencing is the prettiest I have ever seen. Wish I knew about that style before we had a fence put in. I definitely would have copied you!

    Love your front door color!

  • Really pretty, Maria! Here in the Midwest, our daffodils have been blooming for several weeks already. My tulips about a week or so. I love Pink Impression tulips, I only have them,( no traditional yellows or bright reds). They make a great spring statement. So pretty and cheerful!

  • Fran says:

    Beautiful! Love the decorative urn. Also, the beautiful hardware on the gate. Your attention to detail, as always, is spot on!

  • Janice says:

    Beautiful transformation! Happy Spring!

  • Lauren says:

    Love your garden design! So happy that spring is in full swing. Thanks for sharing.

  • KJ says:

    Wow, you must be thrilled with the transformation. No tulips here; too warm they won’t come back every year and if you want them you have to buy them prechilled and plant them like annuals. Too much trouble for me.

    I guess there’s two types of painted wood outside (just like there are two types of concrete): painted wood that is peeling and painted wood that is going to be peeling. The two type of concrete are: concrete that is cracked and concrete that’s going to crack!

  • Judy Dixon says:

    such a wonderful garden you have and, I smile everytime I look at your “wow” green door…”paint your door a color that makes you happy”! I agree

  • Hi Maria! It’s so great to see you again and your beautiful work! Your grounds and the fence are just lovely. The before and after of the driveway is stunning! I spend so much time doing vegetable gardening and beekeeping now that I find myself just ‘maintaining’ with the bushes and flowers. You’ve inspired me to focus a bit more now that the spring rush is over. Just an fyi, I’ve come back to blogging again but with the idea of making it add a little to our income. I’ve been running a non-profit website for the last two years and it took all my energies. So now I’m using all that expertise on the blog. Hope to drop in a little more. Your website looks fantastic! So glad you are doing so well. 🙂

  • Steve says:

    So beautiful! You have such a wonderful yard!

  • Susan says:

    Your urn look amazing. Where was it purchased from?

    • Maria Killam says:

      A place in Langley, BC that sells concrete urns. I don’t remember the name of the company anymore sorry. Maria

  • Loretta says:

    I just love your yard. I truly believe that all my flowers should be white! I just moved onto a large neglected property and plan to blatantly plagiarize your designs, lol! Beautiful resaults and thank you for sharing!

  • Dina says:

    It all looks so lovely!
    I’m in Chicago and would have to vary it some. What was the budget for your landscaping and redirecting the water spout? Just an idea. I would love to do my yard but am so scared to see the numbers.

    • Maria Killam says:

      We literally started from scratch, ripped out everything in the front and backyard. I managed the project, in other words, I hired the trades, sourced and personally selected all the plant material. The cost to take out everything including the driveway and all the concrete in the backyard and add new topsoil was $10,000. All the decorative vinyl fencing was approx. $2,500. The flagstone for the front walk, side of the house and back including installation was also around $10,000. The new concrete driveway was $5,000. The front column was re-done, new front gutters installed, sod, etc. All the plant material, installation, In total the cost was approx. $50,000. Hope that helps, Maria

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