The Time To Get Started

2000-2001 186Just yesterday I was telling new clients for whom I had just finished a landscape master plan –  pick one small part of your plan and install it. I told them if they got started, and kept at it, a very large piece of work would get done in no time. I did not realize how truly fast the years can go by, until I ran across these pictures of my own yard from 2000.  After I moved in my house, I mulched some beds and grassed over others, until I could get to the work.  I had just finished the stone wall and stairs; in 2000, my entire landscape effort was put to those walls.  It would be years later before I would be able to do the limestone caps.

Aug1 049
In the past nine years, I have redone the driveway, and planted my driveway landscape.  The iron pots original to the house are now in front of the house. A low stone wall has replaced the driveway curb.  But best of all, everything has grown.

Aug 28c 722These antique French cast iron dogs guard the drive.  The day of installation, my Hicks yews were 36″-42″ tall.  Today they are almost nine feet tall.  The dwarf picea mucrunulatum behind the dogs have more than doubled in height and width. In lieu of muddy lawn, I have sweet woodriff and hellebores.  No doubt my gardening life has gotten better over the past decade.

sept14 011The parrotias, yews, picea, and magnolias screen my house from the street; I have a private home life in an urban neighborhood where the properties are small.   The concrete pedestals built for the dogs have aged, and moss is growing on the walls.   

2000-2001 195When I was at this stage of the landscape renovation, the thought of a decade of construction and growing never occurred to me.  It just would take as long as it would take. The beginning of a project has its charms-the planning, the fussing, and the rethinking. The time has gone by incredibly fast; these low-tech time lapse photographs dramatically detail how much change there has been. 

sept14 027That stone staircase no longer looks so lonely and disassociated from the ground around it.  The limestone caps got made for the walls.  There is a woodland garden to go with the rustic staircase.

Aug 28d 854I had forgotten the red and green trim that came with the house.  The octagonal wood deck would get a stone skirt, and a narrow Romeo and Juliet balcony would be installed above the garage doors. The wood rails would be replaced with iron. My folly would be installed above the back porch.  

sept14 015
Though this is my driveway, and entrance to my garage, it feels like a garden terrace, fringed with lots of plantings.  The trim has been repainted “turtle green”-probably as much for its name, as its color. 

Aug 28d 855I am so glad to have these old pictures. I had forgotten how awful that deck and stairs looked.  Without tearing the entire thing out and starting over, I do think the look of it is greatly improved.  No landscape existed per se-I had a collection of plants. I am sure the previous owners liked each plant individually, but there was no thought put to their relationships to each other.  My landscape is much more simple, and easy for me to maintain.

sept14 017
I am wondering what it will look like at the end of the next decade. This I look forward to with great anticipation-what I might dream up next.


  1. Deborah, Once again you give me hope, someday my yews will grow, someday they will be 9 feet tall, someday my garden will look established.
    It is so interesting to look at the difference nine years has made in your garden. Please keep up the interesting posts!

  2. Well it looks gorgeous to me–and what a charming home, too!

Leave a Comment