Thursday, April 15, 2010

Teaser Reveal

When I was getting ready for this post, I began browsing through old pictures of the gardens. How they've changed has been inspiring to say the least. Before we actually moved from Texas, we had friends take pictures of the interior spaces and the exterior spaces so I'd have something to obsess over during our 32-hour winter car ride. What they sent back:

Nothing spectacular, eh? In fact, the only thing growing back there (besides grass) was 3 rose bushes, a Japanese ribbon grass, (which I kept), and the most rigorous of mint vines. Oh, and lest I forget the indefatigable non-fruiting grape vine.

So even though it wasn't exactly a clean slate - it was close enough - giving me plenty of room to explore ideas. I think that good use of space is as crucial in a garden as it is in interiors. Just as we acknowledge the feeling of an entire room as covetous in homes or magazines, the space in a garden is not just about the plants planted in the ground, but rather the space between the plants, and the objects in the garden that make it memorable. When you're planning a garden, ultimately, you should consider these spaces before you get started. But sometimes, great spaces, are created by accident.

This is the back of the house last July - 2 years after we endured the sweat, soreness, and sunburns. Can you believe that before/after? Now, I'm not a gardener and you'll never hear me say that I am. I think of the yard as a house, and I accessorize and space plan accordingly. Sometimes things work out great, other times the light isn't right - or I'll plant lavender (a desert plant) next to a tree that needs 2-gallons of water daily.

Our "round" garden, was created accidentally when I started extending and curving the peninsula bed last year to accommodate the perennial spread. Though it wasn't a true circle, it was close. So with ideas from my new go-to guide, and a healthy dose of energy, I created a rudimentary compass with twine and a stake, and used yard marking spray paint to map out the 10' circle. Then, with shovel in hand ... the laborious part of the job ensued - for a full day. But, since that's never the fun part we want to look at (and I was too busy shovelling to worry about grabbing the camera) ... here's the (almost) after:

The brick draws you into the round garden, leading you to a place you cannot see (in its entirety) without stepping into the circle. I love that we used reclaimed brick, found locally. More than it's age and patina which can't be found with other products, it's a connection to the local identity and this place. What's better than connecting your garden to the local surroundings while remaining budget and eco-conscious?

Once you enter the round garden, the boundary of the aged and patina graced brick moves your eye along the circle, making visible every point of this smaller garden, before you enter into the larger garden beyond. The addition of the fountain was an idea a neighbor suggested last summer, and as I started working with the brick pattern, I knew she was right and it had to go there.

Now, there are other plans here ... so don't get too excited. What's left? I have to work in the brick border around the actual fountain base (which I sunk) and pick up the over sized granite polished river rock to fill in around the base of the urn. So much to do - such little time to do it. I hope you all enjoy the changes that are happening around CdlV. I'd love to know what you think - so if you get a chance - drop a line. And I've linked up to other great transformations (mostly interior) at The Shabby Chic Cottage. Stop by and check them out! See you soon.


  1. Oh Artie!! (standing and clapping hands here!) I LOVE it!! That house is thanking it's lucky stars for you two
    xoxo Pattie

    P.S.- Now can you come and do mine?

  2. Amazing amazing amazing!

    love it Artie, kelley

  3. Love it! Your garden is so pleasing to the eye! How would you like to come work your magic in FL?

    Jane (artfully graced)

  4. For not being a gardener you sure created a fabulous space. I really like it. How did I not know you had this blog, too? :0)
    You have inspired me to consider some very dull spaces in my yard...

  5. Love the brick round garden. ANd you are right, Artie, using reclaimed brick makes a huge difference.
    Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. It was so good to hear from you!

  6. You have done a great job! I know it is a lot of work. I love when Spring comes, but I can feel the aches and pains already..:)

  7. Beautiful flower garden and I love the fountain!

  8. Your home is a true reflection of the style and design savvy you possess ... both inside and outside. Can't wait for summer and more garden shots ....

  9. Hi... Your garden is just delightful! You have done a beautiful job!

  10. you did a super job, i love before and afters, it really lets us see how much you have done.

    love the cirle with fountain, one of my favorite garden shapes and such a pretty curvey border. beautiful garden!

  11. Hi Artie,

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving the thoughtful comment. I'm so glad to have this opportunity to see your amazing before-and-after garden transformation. It's truly stunning!


  12. Hi Artie,
    You have created an amazing garden, I especially love the before and after. I can see all of your hard work and almost feel those sore muscles but it was worth it... it is stunning.

    You have helped inspired me with your circle and brick design for my own rose garden. I can't wait to see more.

    Thanks for your lovely comments, and I hope we visit again soon.

  13. What a transformation! The garden looks wonderful...but a lot of hard work. It has paid off though.

    Thanks for stopping by my Italian buffet and your kind comments.

  14. Oh you never cease to amaze me with your seemingly endless amount of energy, and bright ideas. This has to be so rewarding to step back and take a good look at. You've really created something out of nothing. Bravo!

  15. I love your yard! Tom and I have just started really getting into gardening and a small organic garden and some beautiful flowers (hydrangeas) on the way!!!
    Hugs, Lana

  16. Hi Artie...

    Ohhh my goodness...what a magnificent change you have made to that backyard, my friend! I loved seeing the "before" doesn't even look like the same place but then I suppose that was the plan! Hehe! I love everything you have done and I just adore your new circle garden! has given me some great ideas!!! Beautiful...simply beautiful!!!

    What a surprise to find a note on my Springtime table from you! I really enjoyed your visit and sweet note, my friend! Thank you!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  17. Wow, what a transformation! I love the curved bed filled with a beautiful mix of plants -- but that circle garden with fountain is spectacular! I would love to gaze at that from my window or a seat in the garden! Thanks for commenting on my Tablescape Thursday post!

  18. I love before/after shots. How else can we appreciate one's efforts so greatly. And your efforts have paid off enormously. Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration.

  19. Oh Artie great visual imagery!!
    Arch de triumph!!!! love it!!

  20. Artie, just beautiful!! Lush and inviting.

    Art by Karena

  21. Beautiful garden - what a difference between the before and after, We begin our landscaping in a few weeks (we hired one who has grand plans - we'll see :-) ) and I hate to garden - I just want one to BE!!

    Do you like the tall grass - or is it messy? we are contemplating putting some in.

    Stop over to Pandora's Box to enter a giveaway! patti

  22. I love it Artie! You did what I thought you were going to do: make a circle and divide it in quarters. I love that you put the fountain in the middle. Are you going to leave the grass or plant herbs? Can't wait to see the finished results. The before and after shots are so dramatic!
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment! --Delores

  23. Hi Artieness! Oh, what a difference! I love all you've done to your gardens - front and back. You have such a wonderful design eye - inside your lovely home or outside. I know your house is so happy you found her.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  24.'s beautiful! What a transformation!

  25. Fabulous transformation artie!!I love it. I can tell its going to be even more beautiful as the season's sunshine increases. Thanks for the eye candy

  26. Now THAT is what I call some serious before and afters. The house is so lucky that you bought it. It has come a long way. I love your new project, you are simply amazing.

    xo isa

  27. Love it,love it,love it!It's gonna be fantabulous when you're done! I love that section of NF.

  28. That is totally amazing! It looks gorgeous! your trees and plants have totally filled in and just make the yard!
    Lila Ferraro
    Queen Bedroom Sets

  29. What a change, for the better. It looks absolutely stunning! I'd want to spend as much time there as possible. So, so pretty!

  30. Now that is what I call a REAL transformation! Now, I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings here, but that first shot of the house would have made me run back to Texas! What vision, determination, and style y'all had to turn it into this beauty! I love it! laurie

  31. The before and after contrast is spectacular. I know the transformation brings joy to all your viewers -- it did for me. Thanks for inviting me to your blog and for visiting mine!

  32. Oooooh Artie...great new addition to the garden!

    And your grass looks so silky smooth and soft...Oh!


  34. Your gardens are beautiful, very inviting, and the round one - wow!!! Thanks for stopping by!

  35. What a GREAT idea! While there is still snow on the ground here, I am busy gathering ideas for my summer projects and this one is just the best!

    Blessings ~ Eileen @ Star's Fault

  36. applause applause Artie.. what you've done looks fabulous. You have such a creative eye and I am soaking up knowledge from you. Thanks so much for sharing with us.


  37. Artie, how clever and I love IT!!!!! It is perfect and the brick is PERFECT!!!

    I've not commented lately as we've been in New Mexico -- and I had absolutely no computer access!!!
    So I'm happy to catch up!

    How great for you to get such a good supply of brick. We've used it a lot in the garden at Linderhof and there is nothing like aged brick to enhance a garden!
    (Of course, we went from a quick mow to a lengthy pull weeds between bricks!!!!)

    I can't wait to see what you do with your bricks -- this round garden is fantastic and I'm green -- it would look smashing at Linderhof!!!! (IF I had a place ot put it!)

  38. We've come a long way, baby! Love the gardens :)

  39. wow. that looks gorgeous!!!! i love the round garden. what a difference a few years makes. amazing. just beautiful!