Our Landscaping Plan

Hope y’all had a nice Christmas and are looking forward to a great 2022!

One of the best things we’ve done in fixing up grandma’s old house is hire a landscape architect to work with us and come up with a master plan for the front flower beds and hardscape. 

Hand sketch of our master plan for the front and sides of the house.

We reached out to Maryanne White’s design firm to help us. Maryanne is located in New York and we did everything over the phone and through email. Contact her here.

First, Blaine and my dad created a survey of our front and side yards and driveway to give her exact elevations and dimensions of the space. 

How it started (circa 2016)

Blaine’s basic plan view plat of existing driveway and structures that we created for Maryanne

We talked to her about what colors we’d like (white, pinks, purples and of course lots of green), and the age of the house and the work we’ve done on it. She came up with a plan to incorporate some old fashioned plants (like bridal wreath spiraeas, lilacs, and peonies) with lots of different textures and lines that correlate to the house. It’s really an art that she does!

bridal wreath spirea | Bridal wreath spirea, Spirea plant ...

Example of Bridal Wreath Spiraea

Dicentra spectablis alba - White Bleeding Heart

Example Bleeding Heart Alba

In the meantime while our plan was being created by Maryanne, Blaine added stainless steel half-round gutters to the house and PVC drain pipes underground. This needed to be done before starting on the landscape/hardscape.

Installing the NE gutter drain

SE gutter drain

Blaine also redid the front porch steps with the help of Dad and a friend. I talked more about the porch steps here.

Front porch steps with concrete forms in place

Blaine also removed the old sandstone rocks from the original front walkway. We knew Maryanne was going to design a new walkway using flagstones and stone steps.

One by one Blaine removed the old sandstone

Jack & Tillie on the old sandstone 2019

Old stones gone! (Gutters not installed yet in this pic)

The final plan arrived and we got to work… slowly. 🙂 First, Blaine installed the new front steps down to the driveway and flagstone walkway. He did this the summer of 2020 when he was unemployed and our fiend, Matt, was here to help. 🙂 He also planted the trees that the plan called for (3 Cleveland Pear and 1 Dwarf Southern Magnolia Tree).

Our final Master Plan from Maryanne

Summer 2020: Matt & Blaine finished the front steps, flagstone walkway and boxwood hedge

Summer 2021, Blaine planted the boxwood hedge on the north & south sides of the house. This hedge will be a nice green structure year-round.

North side boxwood hedge, also two of the three new pear trees to the left

South side boxwood hedge

 I think we planted nearly 100 boxwoods for the hedge. We’ll keep it trimmed to about 2ft tall once it grows in as a solid structure.

Blaine also planted all the plants that go inside the boxwood hedge during the summer/fall of this year. This was no easy task! He mulched this area as well. I kept it weeded best I could (with a newborn in the house).

Variegated Japanese irises

Our plant list for the inside of the boxwood hedge includes: Bleeding Heart Albas, Lilacs, Irises, Ilex Steed Holly trees, climbing roses, Variegated Hostas, Anabelle Hydrangeas, White Azaleas, ornamental grasses, Kaleidoscope Abelia bushes, Dwarf Russian Sage, Flaming Silver Andromeda bushes, Birds Nest Spruce, Shasta Daisies, Butterfly Bushes, Pink Chiffon Rose of Sharon standards, Bridal Wreath Spirea, and lots of Sarah Bernhardt Peonies.

Jack at Peony Hill Farm 2021

We ordered the peony roots from my aunt & uncle at Peony Hill Farm. I can’t wait to see these roots come to life! I think we planted 17 roots here.

Purple lilacs going in

Instead of buying new, I moved and separated Grandma’s old purple irises to this location on the north side of the house

The north bed, freshly planted & mulched

Part of the plan was to install a screen around the air conditioner unit, shown far right

Blaine planting the variegated Japanese irises out front

We finished the south side bed this fall, and planted some dormant plants (Rose of Sharon trees, Spirea). So it doesn’t look like much right now. 

Dormant Rose of Sharon, Spirea, Butterfly Bushes fall 2021

I’ll have to give an update next spring to see how things are looking there then!

Another note on this project is that we bought the smallest plants we could, mainly for cost savings as smaller plants are generally cheaper than larger ones. So it will take a few extra years to everything to grow and ‘look right’, if you know what I mean. Maryanne’s plans are precise and detailed such that you could hand it directly to a landscape crew to install it for you. We chose to DIY slowly over a few years though, again mainly for cost savings. 🙂

In today’s world of instant gratification, this slow plan execution and anticipation of plant growth & maturity is actually teaching me to have more patience and appreciation for what we have right now. 


Merry Christmas! Jack (3 years) & George (10 months)








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