Garden Update

Garden UpdateHi everyone!

I am so happy to finally be able to share my most recent garden update with all of you…! I can’t believe that we are almost officially done with everything. This home renovation process has taken SO much longer than we ever thought possible. I can’t tell you how excited we are to begin living outdoors once again. Especially with the summer approaching, I cannot wait to finally spend more time in the garden. What I am most excited about now that the garden is done is getting back to playing sports.

To see our first garden update from last spring click here.
Garden UpdateJust to clarify… in regards to the choices made on the front yard, backyard, garden… I am by no means an expert. ;)
As a matter of fact, one of my extremely talented, landscape design friends (Troy Rhone) had offered to help us on this project but I decided to forego help simply because we knew that our yard would probably take longer than normal and and I didn’t want to waste his time nor sacrifice his vision with our budget.


When drawing our first draft of our backyard design, Jeff and I both decided that the space was too tiny for a pool and even though Jeff loves to cook.. we didn’t want to take up space with an outdoor kitchen. We already have a beautiful kitchen that we use indoors and we craved flowers and greenery. We really wanted a space that was comfy and cozy enough to host our family and friends in and wanted a courtyard look and feel. With this in mind, we also thought about redoing the paving in the garden to add that rustic look that we were going for.  I’m so happy with how it all turned out.

Garden UpdateGarden UpdateFor those who don’t know, we are located in Northern California in a tiny neighborhood without a lot of space. Our home is sandwiched between lots of other homes but… it doesn’t feel as bad as it sounds. The house behind us actually sits a little farther away than the others surrounding us so it feels as if we have more space than we really do. The side houses are another matter… I knew with the overall design of the garden that we would have to consider a plan that involved a privacy hedge of some sort. The houses sit VERY close to use dining room on the side of the house and one in the back leading from the family room/kitchen. This provided options for us.. a shady place to sit when the sun is at it’s hottest during both the morning time and the afternoon. With 3 sets of french doors leading to the spaces we knew we could create the perfect outdoor courtyard feel.

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When selecting the different plants for my garden spaces I went with what I loved most, lots of greenery and white flowers. I made sure to include a tailored clean boxwood edge surrounding every planter space and left room for roses and more roses for the interiors. I like keeping the plant varieties at a minimum at this stage in the game. I am so busy with work that I don’t have time to change flowers with each season. I think this will also keep things looking elegant in my small yard.

Garden UpdateGarden UpdateConsidering all the sun we get in both the front and the back yards, I decided to stick with Iceberg roses to help fill my love for all things white.. I love roses that are easy to grow and continual bloomers. Both the front and the back gardens are filled with boxwood borders, white iceberg roses, hydrangeas, penstomen as well as a few other flowering perennials (salvia) in the cooler tones of blues and purples.

Garden Update Garden Update Garden Update Garden UpdateAs to the fence, we planted over 36, 15 gallon Prunus Carolinianas. I can’t wait for all the hedges to grow high and tall so they hide the fence. (as well as some of my neighbor’s homes) Serafin will help maintain the hedge and keep it looking formal and tailored. Love that look and style.

Garden Update

We also planted 16 beautiful 15 gallon ligustrum triple ball and spiral topiaries (my favorite and less expensive than boxwood topiaries) on each corner of the house and flanking each door entrance. They really do help break up all the stucco. This was important to me because when you are sitting on the sofas you are looking at the house and with that… stucco. I figured by planting tons of gorgeously shaped topiaries against the house, everything would appear a little softer and more elegant. I really do think it makes a big difference having all that greenery rest against the facade.

We kept things simple and clean and I love the effect. To finish everything off properly we covered all the dirt with tiny black bark mulch… My favorite. Throughout my 29 years of marriage, I have learned so much about what to plant when and where and what types of plants I truly love. This garden, as simple as it is in design and color palette is full of everything that I’m crazy about. Next up? Decorating the backyard spaces and filling all our lighting and water feature needs. More on that to come… :)

To view more of our new 22+ year old home before renovations click here.

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My Plants:

Prunus Carolinianas – Love this evergreen bush that makes a large privacy hedge.

Green Beauty Boxwood: I love this boxwood because it does really well in my area and it constantly grows from the bottom to the top so it doesn’t require shaping for the sun)

White Iceberg Roses: I love these disease resistant roses that smell sooooo fragrant. At night the blooms look as if they glow they are so white. They flower constantly all spring and summer long and look beautiful, green and bushy in between the bloom periods. We control the size by keeping them trimmed slightly smaller in shape.

Large Ligustrum Topiaries: My favorite topiary plant known for it’s green glossy wax leaf. It’s less expensive than the boxwood topiaries and can grow faster and larger as well. I have grown these for years in hedge form and topiary form with no issues.

Outdoor Furniture:

Outdoor Sofa – Restoration Hardware Provence Sofa

Outdoor Consoles – Scarlett Console

Gate Hardware – Twisted Ring Gate Latch


Travertine – Versailles pattern, Color – Cafe Light

Pavers – Calstone Pavers – Quarry Stone – Color, Cameron Cream, Pattern – QS4

Outdoor Lantern Lights – Lamps Plus – Mount Vernon Style in Bronze


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37 thoughts on “Garden Update

  1. Just beautiful, Kristy! I love formal gardens in green and white and that’s what we started at the end of last summer with a side yard and will continue on with this year. I’ve never tried roses and I may try icebergs if they are for my area in Michigan, which is zone 5. Love everything!
    IG: @sandymillustration

    1. Hi Sandy,
      Hope you’re having a great day. :) I love my iceburgs and hope that they work in zone 5. I’m not sure so definitely double check. xx

  2. So elegant Kristy! I too love all the green and thanks to you, I’ll be planting some of the white roses. I’m in Stockton so they should do fine. Thanks for all your inspiration

  3. Hi Kristy! My husband and I are in the process of redoing our backyard and it seems we have very similar taste. You guys did an amazing job! When it came to buying the plants, did you go through a nursery?

    1. Hi Lauren,
      Thank you so much. All my plants were purchased at a wholesale nursery which you need a gardner or landscape designer to help purchase. The cost is crazy low compared to the regular nursery (and even Home depot!) Hope this helps. xo

  4. It is gorgeous!! I have enjoyed watching the process on your instagram stories. It turned out great. Did you put down any kind of weed barrier before planting? Do you have any recommendations for fertilizer and how often? Thanks! I am a beginning gardener and love seeing how your yard came together. My yard is covered in a foot of snow right now (Wisconsin) but I can’t wait to plant things in my yard!

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      Thank you so much for watching! We did not put down any weed barrier because we have a heavy clay soil in this area and I just don’t find that I get a ton of weeds. I just use the appropriate MiracleGro for whatever it is that I am growing. Hope this helps and good luck. Remember – if something dies just yank it out and plant something else in it’s place. Never give up!!! An expert gardener friend (P. Allen Smith) tells me this all the time.

  5. Wow, what a transformation! The previous owners wouldn’t recognize it any more! Taste makes such a big difference! You did a great job on that.
    The old terrace is really yucky- again, taste is what it needs to make it look classy and absolutely nice!

  6. I love the yard so beautiful, reminds me of what I had started in my yard before we moved. Green and white is such a beautiful combination it’s so clean and fresh looking,lovely!!!

    1. Thank you MaryLou! I love color but the green & white seems to go so well with this home.. I’m sure I’ll add color here and there but this is a great start. xo

  7. Everything looks amazing, Kristy! Could you please share what color your shutters are? We’re getting ready to paint ours and I’ve been looking at similar colors. Thanks so much!

  8. Hello Kristy, I have really enjoyed finding and following you (and Jeff and Emma) Your home and garden are just beautiful. In your garden, I really love the look of the black mulch, but do you find that the mulch stays put or does it wash away or blow away (from the gardener using a blower or windy days).

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Thank you so much! You’re so sweet. This black mulch always looks beautiful & it’s easy to lay. But it definitely depends on who is doing the cleanup & blowing. Serafin and I purposely don’t blow it away.. just takes a bit of practice. xo

    1. Thanks Kristy! The garden stools are from ZGallerie. :) I love them and found them on sale for $99. They are originally $129 I think. :) Hugs!

  9. I am doing almost the exact same theme and wanted to know the spacing between the cherry laurel you used?

    Thanks !

    1. Hi Travis, I went pretty close with my hedges. 3 1/2 – 4 ft apart. I can’t wait for them to get high and fill in all the way. We will definitely need to stay up on trimming them properly and often so they don’t get out of control but that’s the price you pay for a beautiful hedge. ;) Good Luck!

  10. Hi Kristy,
    I am planning to plant green beauty too. How much gallon did you use in your frontyard by the steps and how much spacing? Thanks

  11. Hi Kristy,
    You are beyond talented – I love everything about what you’ve done to your home! I however, don’t have the eye you do :) so I’m trying to recreate your outdoor seating area on my deck. Could you tell me what color wicker and cushions you have from RH? It doesn’t look like they offer the wicker in white. Did you paint yours? Thank you for your help & inspo!

  12. So beautiful! I love your garden. Do yoi have the design plAns for your GaRden? I have a similar layout abd would love To use yoUr design. Thank yoi!

  13. So beautiful! I love your garden. Do yoU have the design plAns for your GaRden? I have a similar layout aNd would love To use yoUr design. Thank yoU!

    1. Hi Michelle, I don’t as I designed it myself simply using the measurements of my garden. I pretty much winged everything as I normally do. ;) WE’re thrilled with how it looks. Thank you! :)

  14. Hi Kristy!

    What a gorgeous backyard. this is exactly what I have in mind for our northern california back yard, only maybe some brick too! :) Do you mind me asking the dimensions on your back retaining walls? And also, how far from the fence did you have to plant your trees? Thank you! :)

    1. Hi Alexis,
      My back walls are approximately 40 ft. wide. Both very narrow as I didn’t have much room. The bushes/trees (prunus carolinianas) are planted very close to the fence. We’ll simply have to stay on top of trimming them. :)

  15. Kristy, we love youR beautiful yard. We are in the Bay Area. Would it be possible to see the cameron cream calstone pavers installed At your house? My husband really wants to see them installed rather than the small samples at the store.

  16. Hi Kristy,

    I absolutely love your yard! My husband and I are searching for ideas to up our backyard’s privacy so we can enjoy an outdoor living area. Do you have a wall or a fence, or both? And, what materials were used?

    Thanks so much!


  17. Your home and gardens are absolutely beautiful!!! I want to plant some Triple ball topiaries in a long but very narrow bed. I noticed yours are planted very close to your house. Approximately how much room do you have between your house & pavers where you planted yours? I live in Florida and have a stucco home too! Thank you for all your sharing and all the joy you give to us! Take Care😊

  18. Hi Kristy. I absolutely love your garden. I do have a question for you. Where in the world did you find the tiny black mulch? I have been looking and all I see are large chip mulch. Also on a side note, how do you keep your black mulch from turning white? I hear that’s a problem with black mulch?