My New Boxwood Garden Beds; Before & After

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

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

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.

After – July 2017 (eeeek, I hope I haven’t killed my Hebe shrubs)

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

Before – Spring 2012

June 2014 – Photography by Tracey Ayton

After – July 2017

Before – when we moved in, April 2002

After – July 2017 Photography by Maria Killam

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 – July 2017

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 – July 2017

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

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!

PS. Hey I forgot to post the winner of James Wiens art from my 50 gifts for turning 50 giveaway and it is Tricia L from Phoenix Arizona.

Artist: James Wiens, Wellington Art Group


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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  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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