Walk This Way

Please, please, walk this way Mr.Plumber. See the path, Mr. Electrician? Do not go to the back door, you might see a scary, overweight lady, standing in her knickers, making a cup of tea.

One of the annoying things about the way the house is laid out on the lot is “people” coming to the back door, the kitchen door to be more precise. And it is glass!!!

When Kilbourne Grove was originally built in the late 1800’s the road that runs beside the house was the driveway to the stable, behind the house, and the front door, faced the street, 250 feet away. Over the years, the front yard was sold off piece by piece, until there is only 20 feet separating our front door form the side of the neighbours house.  When people pull into our driveway, it is logical for them to go to the back door.

This had to change!!!

When I took my garden design course last winter, we had to come up with a client and design a garden for them. I decided to pick myself (after all, I am a very easy customer), I was taking this course for my own benefit, not to change my career. Since it was a very short course, and I have a large garden (not as large as some, but I intend to landscape every square inch), I had to choose an area to focus on. I chose to work on the side yard.

This is the area that would bring visitors from the driveway to the front door. I need to block off the view of the kitchen and back door, and a fence will be built linking house and garage.

Then a path, leading from the driveway, along the side of the house, turning south at the end to the front door.

This is the plan that I drew for my teacher. None of gardens south of the house are on, this part took forever to draw!

Ok, I should have taken a picture of the legend, but I can walk you through it.

 You enter from the driveway (left on the diagram), through an arbour, and walk along a pea gravel path. On your left (top of the diagram) is a row of Emerald cedars (B), underplanted  by European ginger(L). On your fight, a row of Limelight hydrangea(C), with a boxwood hedge(K), this is also underplanted with ginger. You walk to the end and make a sharp turn to the right. I am thinking about having another arbour here. I also am adding a bench here, for those of you to tired from the long walk to the front door. The rows of Emerald cedars and hydrangea continue all the way to the front door.

N on the diagram was the blue spruce that Ian and I moved. Its story is here.

The rectangular box near the entrance arbour is another small garden. As the house is indented here, but I wanted the path to stay straight, this gave me room for a planting bed. It will also be edged with box, and a specimen tree(A) will be planted here. A magnolia, redbud or perhaps a dogwood.

There is a picket fence running from the house, north towards the street, along the path to the property line on the east, with a gate at the front sidewalk.

You might notice a gap between the fence(J) attaching the house and garage and the picket fence. This is where the greenhouse will be built. (One day).

We have already started on this project.

The line of Emerald cedars on the north or street  side of the garden. The tulips were there when we purchased the house. The developer had sodded over them. I was very surprised when they came up in the spring.

Here you can see the indent, where the old kitchen wing is narrower than the main house.

There is nothing between these cedars and the street, hopefully they will give us the illusion of privacy.

A planting plan is always fluid and open to change. When we were planting these, I changed it slightly. The cedars had been so cheap ($20 each) that I decided to make a bit of a niche, bumping it out to match the bay window in the library. This can be used for a bench, or perhaps some container planting.

This is where the second arbour would go. Right behind those grasses, and in line with that white trailer. That is not ours, it is our next door neighbours, we are storing it in our driveway for the winter, in exchange for him snow blowing the drive, yay! Sorry, Edith, about the rocks, they were there when we purchased, and have not been moved yet. Talk about someone just lining them up! I am hoping to have a stacked stone retaining wall built in the future.

Seen from the other side. That big rock is natural, it would have to stay.

And from the street. See how the line of Emerald cedars marches along the side of the house. The retaining wall would start at the left at the sidewalk and follow the curve of those lined up rocks and end at the big buried rock.

Next, would be digging out all those very old, and very large shrubs beside the house, so the hydrangea and the other row of cedars can go in. I can feel my back ache already.


46 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    gardeningasylum said,

    My back aches in sympathy! You have lovely architecture to work with – it must be exciting to design a new landscape for it. I love seeing all the in progress plans and pictures!

  2. 3

    Hey Deborah – where did you take the design course? It’s always been on my “bucket list”. And I’m itching to redesign my backyard and don’t know where to start. Okay, I know where to start, just not how to finish.

    • 4

      Heather, I took it at George Brown. It is just a short course, I think it was 6 weeks (Part I). I will probably take part two this year, last year it started on Valentines Day, that wasn’t going to happen! Ryerson also has one, much more intensive.
      It is good to see you again.

  3. 5

    Edith Hope said,

    Dear D, Your description, plan and photographs are excellent. I am able to follow exactly what you intend and think that when completely finished, minus rocks [lol], you will have a very attractive and appealing approach to the house.

    I do understand your frustration at people arriving at the kitchen door rather than approaching properly at the hall door. However, I should welcome Mr. Plumber anywhere, anytime, anyhow. Plumbers, as you probably are aware, are as rare as hen’s teeth in London.

    What delights me about your postings is that I am now building up a clear picture of what you are doing at Kilbourne Grove. I eagerly anticipate them.

    • 6

      Edith, if you go to My Garden Design:Part II you can see a very, very rough map that I made of the back. It shows you how the Kitchen Garden, Flora Glade, and Lime Walk all sit in relation to each other. Still many areas to grow, I need and idea for the Yew Garden, there is space beside the Lime walk, before the ground slopes down to the Croquet Lawn. Lots to do!

  4. 7

    Great plan Deborah, but what a lot of work! I like how you bumped out the row of cedars, they will give actual privacy, not just an illusion. Being somewhat lazy myself, I would start with curtains on the kitchen door, and a sign near the driveway that says ‘visitors, this way please ———–>’ lol.

  5. 9

    Melissa said,

    Like Edith, I am getting a clearer and clearer picture of what you’re doing with your design plans and planting. Very nice plans, by the way! As a designer I love looking at other people’s planting plans. You must have drawn yours by hand, they are lovely. I use a CAD program because I got so tired of redrawing by hand, but the graphics are very clunky. Keep those photos coming!

    • 10

      Melissa, I wish that I knew how to use CAD, it is very time consumimg drawing by hand, but it is only for me, I do not plan to make a living out of it. I wish that I knew how to draw a 3-D plan, sometimes it is easier to visualize from that.

  6. 11

    Barbara said,

    I think it’s a great idea to make a “bay” in your emerald cedars, since I think straight lines of them can be visually touchy. But a bench would look great in the indentation!. Is there a particular reason why you’re underplanting both the cedars and the box hedge with ginger? I mean aside from it looking pretty as a ground cover? I didn’t realize you had such close-by neighbors. Are there any real gardeners among them?

    • 12

      Barbara, I am planting the ginger as I am getting rid of the grass. I have already started ripping it out to the street, a very, very steep slope that is very difficult to mow. We have replaced some of it with vinca, that was growing on the property, but it is about 150 feet long, so it will be a long process.
      I am in a small city, neighbours everywhere, the trees really help screen them alot, but across the street, you can’t hide from them. No gardeners anywhere on my street!

  7. 13

    miss m said,

    That’ll teach you going around the house in knickers ! 😀
    Well, Kilbourne sure has its work cut out for you, Deborah, but how utterly satisfying and wonderfully beautiful it will be. Love the bay of cedars !

    • 14

      People are lucky I am in my knickers, Ian walks around nude. (one time he surprised a burglar when he was nude, Ian, not the burglar, I do not know who was more surprised,lol).
      I have to do as much as I can while I am young, time sneeks up on you.

  8. 15

    reapwhatyougrow said,

    Wow, this is beautiful, what a lovely entry. Thank you for brightening up my winter gloom!
    I have asked you to join in a favourite photo meme that was sent me by Allotment2Kitchen. I would be thrilled if you would join us, but don’t worry if not.
    Best wishes for 2010.

    • 16

      Thank you for the compliment, I am glad that I can brighten up a bit of winter gloom for you! Winter seems extra long this year for some reason.
      I am honoured that you want me to be a part of a favourite photo meme. I will do some digging through my archives and see what I can come with.

  9. 17

    Elephant's Eye said,

    Did I miss it? Have you told us the history of the house? How old is it? It looks like an illustration out of a Victorian children’s book.

    • 18

      Diana, I have mentioned the history of the house off and on, since I have started blogging, at least the little that I know. One day, I will have to do some digging into its past. I am not even sure what year it was built, we got two different opinions when we were purchasing, either 1870 or 1880.

  10. 19

    Gloria Bonde said,

    Hi Deborah, how fun! I love projects! Your house is lovely and I cannot believe your description of yourself! Your projects are a workout!

  11. 21

    Oh….I just love landscape design and actually worked solely as a designer for 2 1/2 years. Your plans look extremely professional. I love how you bumped out the cedar to imitate the curve of the bay window (most people would have just stayed with a straight line). I always make adjustments out in the field to all my designs – that’s just the way I am. I think it is always wise to allow for adjustment out in the field because it is hard to completely visualize how your design will look until it is laid out. Hopefully, this will keep people from going to your back door ;^)

    • 22

      Noelle, from your lips to Gods ears, as the saying goes. I am going to try to make the gate in the fence invisable. I would rather make it something pretty, but if people notice it, I think they will still go there, even with a clear path to the front.

  12. 23

    Hi Deborah, I love the attention to the edging materials. I think the Lilmelights will be spectacular. Your materials are really all about texture and I think that makes a great backdrop for any seasonal features you may want to add; as well, they don’t compete with the house. Lovely!

    • 24

      Thanks Ms S, clever of you to notice. I have been toying with the idea of big terra cotta posts, placed between the Emerald cedars, filled with a colourful annual, if I find it too monochromatic.

  13. 25

    Liisa said,

    Your house is just beautiful! It is wonderful to get a sense of the big picture with your garden design. I envy you taking a design course, something I would love to do in the future. For now I will gladly listen to ideas presented by my garden coach. I think your plans for the entryway are going to be wonderful, and will hopefully keep people from going to the back door.

  14. 27

    fairegarden said,

    Hi Deborah, this is another step into seeing the vision you have for this dynamic property. I love that you took the class for yourself too. An excellent way to get it right the first time! It does look like you are getting it right, directing traffic to the front door. Emerald arborvitae is what we have used as a privacy screen in some parts here, like you with neighbors very close. It works well to give the sense of being hidden. You are smart to do the hard work while your body will allow. Think long term! 🙂

    • 28

      Frances, sometimes I think that I am sooo long term, that I have no colour for know. I wanted to go into Rebeccas Rainbow meme, but do not have much colour in my garden, it is all about the bones, right now at least. I am anxious to get most of the really hard slogging in now, it won’t be long before I want (and my body wants) to take it easy.

  15. 29

    Sunny said,

    Those plans look very good, you should give yourself a good pat on the back for that (if its no too sore already) You have a lovely house by the way.

  16. 31

    How exciting to see a garden design in the making. I’ve installed two (designed by others, installed over many years by me) but I’m thinking of taking a design course myself. What fun it would be to see something in your head and then make it real! Thanks for sharing and for visiting my site. Kelly

    • 32

      Kelly, you should take a course. The physical gardening is the hard work, (as we all know), but the money is in the designing, and a lot easier on the back. If I was younger, I would look into it professionally.

  17. 33

    Jean said,

    Deborah, I love how clear and well laid out your garden plans are. This is an ambitious project; good thing you have Ian to provide some extra muscle. I laughed about you trying to get people not to go to the back door, because here in Maine hardly anyone ever uses their front door. Some houses have front doors that simply open out into space with no front steps. Others have furniture placed in front of the front door on the inside. A couple of years ago, after living in this house for 18 years, I discovered that none of my keys fit the lock on the front door! At the top of the stairs that come up the back slope from my driveway, there is a forking path, with the much wider fork leading to the back door, indicating that’s the way people should come. The difference may be that house designs here often include some kind of mud room inside the back door, and that’s where you want people with snowy or muddy boots to come in.

    • 34

      A very good point, Jean. I am sure that even with all this planning, no one will ever use the front door, we don’t! I seriously have been caught a few times by people looking through the glass door, and it was not be people I know and love.

  18. 35

    I hope your instructor gave you an A! Wonderful plans. We had a problem with people coming to the back door, since our drive went back there, and there was no real walkway to the front. Easy fix, although not cheap! We put a nice parking area out front with a defined path to the front door. Unfortunately, most people still use the back door!

  19. 37

    catmint said,

    Hi Deborah, thanks for sharing the plans, very impressive professional looking plans. It will be a lot of work of course but hopefully will be all enjoyable if you don’t feel pressured. I agree with Frances, think long term but also very important to enjoy the present! cheers, catmint

  20. 39

    Laurrie said,

    Deborah, I love following your problem solving, and seeing your garden design thoughts evolve. The pictures, plan, and detail were a big help to visualize. Great choices on plant selections. Other commenters observed no one uses a front door — same here. We have no easily accessible back door so people go out of their way to come in our side entry garage, stumble over garden tools, get around the car, scootch past the trash cans and get to my laundry room door to knock! Why??? I have to be vigilant to keep our garage door closed at all times and am considering a sign on it saying “Hippies only”. Your solution is so much more elegant and garden worthy!

    • 40

      Wow Laurrie, and I thought that I had problems. I can’t believe that people would be so forward.
      And thank you for your compliments on my garden design and for visiting my blog, I hope to see you again.

  21. 41

    Rosie said,

    Hi Deborah thanks for another great glimpse of your beautiful property – you sure have your work cut out for you – but I think you will enjoy every bit of the remake. I’ve just got one hydrangea limelight – you’ve got a row of them! that must be a great display in late summer.

  22. 43

    Anna said,

    The approach to our dwelling means that folk automatically come to the front door – thank goodness 🙂 I am envious of anybody who can draw such detailed plans. What beautifully shaped windows the house has and such character too.Deborah – what is European ginger – so tell 🙂

    • 44

      Anna, are we on the Botanical Latin still? LOL. You might know it as Asarum europaeum. I lovely groundcoveer for a shady area. I prefer it over the native Asarum canadense, due to its shiny leaves.

  23. 45

    I love the rocks delineating the flower bed. Once that bed has been properly planted, the rocks will not only look look rich but they will also make the plants pop.

    • 46

      I am glad that you like the rocks. Maybe when it is all planted they will not look so “lined” up.
      Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment, I hope to see you again soon.

Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: