Posts in "Garden Makeovers"

Small, Narrow Garden Bed Makeover: Design Ideas


A small, narrow garden bed is not a design dilemna, it's a creative design opportunity!

Do you have a small, narrow garden and crave style but lack design ideas?



Watch my garden makeover segment as seen on the Home & Family show!


I recently presented a garden makeover for a tiny garden bed that measures 12 feet long by 4.5 feet wide on the Home and Family show on the Hallmark channel.

The garden bed is in a key area because you see it from inside the dining room where we tape lots of interviews.

Such is the case with many small, narrow garden beds- they are difficult to ignore, especially when they are ugly!


This is the condition the garden bed was in before the makeover.



A neglected artichoke falls among the roses.

All of the plants in this garden bed were in bad shape and the area lacked a focal point.


small-narrow-garden-bed-with neglected-potted-roses-and-artichokes-shirley-bovshow-edenmaker

I was determined to bring order to the garden by creating a focal point and an appropriate plant pallet.


The Garden Design Plan

My design goal was to:
  • Create a multi-level garden with elements that are tall, medium and short but not too busy looking for a narrow garden bed.
  • Create a focal point with an arbor that functions as a  hanging plant support structure so plants hang down from it instead of growing up it.
  • Create a sitting area with garden bench.
  • Create a colorful garden using low maintenance plants that have an extended bloom time.
Take a closeup look at the new garden!
A tall,  white arbor anchors the small garden bed and functions as a hanging plant structure.
The backless garden bench is in perfect scale for the small space and is a mid-height element.

This is the opposite view where you can see that the yellow daisy topiary trees are not planted in the ground, but in containers!

When planting a small space area, use containers to raise the level of accent plants and free the ground for other plants.


Arbor and Hanging Garden Details


Notice how the vinca major vine sits above the arbor and hangs down along the front like a pair of curtains?




This gives the arbor "instant coverage" and softens the look of the structure.







The area under the arch creates a framed alcove for the hanging plants that hang at different levels.

There is also a hanging metal planter on the lattice in the background for additional depth.



Hanging Plants From the Arbor



I selected three main plants and a few accent plants to hang and plant in the ground. 

Small space gardens should have less variety of plants and more of each variety.

Less is more.

Thank you to HortCouture for the beautiful selection of plants!


Geranium Glitterati, "Ice Queen"



On the arbor, I hung a stylish geranium with scarlet orange flowers and green and white variegated leaves, called, "Ice Queen."

It is a cross between a zonal and ivy leaf geranium.


What makes "Ice Queen" different from other geranium varieties is more vigor, garden performance, and they have much more flowers! 

I planted these geraniums in the ground, underneath the arbor to create a multi level effect and grow as a ground cover.


"Ice Queen" will be available in 2015 at independent garden centers across the country.

I have the good fortune of being able to preview these plants!


Petunia, "Glamouflage Grape"





Also hanging from the arbor and planted at the foot of bench is the glowing annual, Petunia, "Glamouflauge Grape."

I like how the petunia looks next to the broken ceramic mosaic stepping stone made by Kenneth Wingard on the Home and Family Show.


This special petunia has a vibrant purple flower on striking cream and green variegated foliage.  

The variety does great in sun or partial shade, in baskets or mixed containers. 

Petunia, Glamouflage Grape grows about 8 inches tall and spreads up to 12 inches wide.



Paired with lavender, this petunia has very good heat and drought tolerance.



Detail Plants in the Small, Narrow Garden


Yellow daisy trees, and pink petunias in wall planters round out the plant selection.



I tucked in the succulent, "String of Pearls" on the inside ledge of the arbor.
Nice texture and contrast to the flowers.
So much detail in this garden, yet so little space!
I really like how it turned out.

Maintaining a Hanging Garden

My new hanging gardens will need specific care in order to grow, thrive and look good for a long time.
Here's my maintenance plan:
  • Mulch to keep weeds down
  • Water the hanging plants when the soil feels dry to touch
  • Fertilize with a diluted  solution every week to promote new flowers.
  • Pinch off spent blooms to encourage new ones to grow.
  • Rotate hanging baskets for even sun exposure


More Narrow Garden Beds

Beyond the area where the arbor sits are more narrow garden beds along the Home & Family house.

I planted these beds with matching plants to add continuity to the back of the house.



Upright rosemary, (growing against lattice) geraniums, petunias, lavender and a fragrant, David Austin English rose tree fit into narrow garden beds.


EdenMaker, Shirley Bovshow


EdenMaker, Shirley Bovshow next to her small, narrow garden bed makeover.

I hope you enjoyed this detailed account of my project.

Please leave your questions below and watch my garden segments on the Home & Family show, weekdays at 10AM PST on the Hallmark channel!



Deck Garden Makeover: Home & Family Show Part 1

Garden designer, Shirley Bovshow transformed the deck patio of the Home & Family show on the Hallmark channel.

There's nothing more satisfying than designing a garden makeover for a deck when it's empty, like the one at the "Home & Family Show."

Clean slates are under-rated!


The deck of the Home & Family show was a blank canvas, no plants, no furniture, nothing to remove!

The Home & Family Show deck before the makeover!


Deck Makeover Segment Assigned

The Home & Family Show producer who was in charge of the deck makeover segment is one very determined guy named Nick Birren.


Nick Birren, producer at Home and Family Show gets involved in the deck makeover segment by unloading plants and soil.

Nick Birren, Producer, Home and Family Show

Nick may look like a "romantic lead actor" but he's clearly channeled all his energy into being a top-notch producer behind the camera!


I got a call from Nick a few days before we were to tape a segment on designing a composting system.

The plans for the composting system were ready to go and I had my bag of food discards packed in my truck.


There was a last minute change- no composting segment, instead, a deck makeover was ordered.


I take my television garden makeovers seriously.

They must meet professional standards which translates to, "no installation shortcuts or planting of plants that look pretty for camera but die a few days later."

I had to measure, assess the site for irrigation, check the grading, soil conditions, sun exposure, etc.

This was a real landscaping job with a super short deadline, high expectations and a camera in your face!


planting strip between deck and house of Home and Family show before the makeover- right side

Left side of deck-planting strip

Left side planting strip. Measures two-feet deep, 13-feet wide and one-foot tall.



Right side of deck-planting strip

Right-side planting strip. Measures the same as left side except it's one-foot wider. Take a look at that tall, ugly wall!


Fortunately, the planting areas were restricted to two planting strips located between the deck perimeter and the house.

My challenge was to design a dynamic garden that could serve as a "backdrop" for segments taped on the deck, while reserving deck space for production needs.

At the same time, I had design issues that needed to be mitigated such as tall, gray walls, an unattractive roofline, horrible soil, and the instructions not to install any pergolas or overhead structures!

With limited floor space, I padded the design with vertical garden features such as a trellis against the wall, a window box, wall planters and a trio of three-tiered plant towers- obelisks.


Preparing For the Deck Makeover

It was a rare day in Los Angeles because it was raining.

This meant that the nurseries were probably closed.

The clock was ticking and I was 24-hours away from installation and still had to source, buy, pick up and deliver the plants, soils, containers and garden decor for the deck.


To make matters more difficult, one of my design decisions ended up being a hassle to fullfil.

Instead of planting directly in the ground, I decided to recess plant liners in the small planting areas in order to better control the soil and planting environment.

My problem was, I couldn't find any planters that fit in this specific space!


I had to visit three different Lowes garden centers in order to buy 16 liners!

None of the stores had enough on hand.

After rustling up the liners, my energy turned towards finding plants.


I called my friends at Armstrong Garden Centers and asked if they would be interested in supplying the plants for the deck and help me pull plants in the rain.

Armstrong agreed, and on my way to the Sherman Oaks store, the rain dissipated.

That was a hopeful sign.


Armstrong Nursery pros from the Sherman Oaks store in California

Armstrong Nursery pros were a huge help!


My next call was to Kellogg Garden Products, the soils company that supplied my television show, "Garden Police."

"I need a lot of organic potting soil for my TV segment," I cried.

"No problem Shirley," the marketing director responded, "we'll set up a pick up for you!"


Producer Nick and assistant Will, unload the potting soil from Kellogg

Producer Nick and assistant Will, unload the potting soil from Kellogg

"All hands on deck!" Producer Nick and assistant Will unload soil for the garden project.


Oh, to have friends in the gardening industry!

Thank you!!!


Installing the Deck Garden

Plants are ready for installation. Jessie Jane's baby shower setup in background

Plants are ready for installation. Jessie Jane’s baby shower setup is beyond.


Subscribe to EdenMakers Blog to be notified of Part 2: "The Reveal!"

Read and see more photos related to the Deck Makeover Project on Shirley's other website, Garden Center TV!






Hallmark “Home and Family Show” Front Yard Makeover


There's a new daytime show on the Hallmark channel called, "Home and Family" that received a front yard makeover by me!

The show is taped in an actual house located on the Universal Studios lot, which is kind of unique for a talk show.

Kitchen segments are taped in the kitchen, there's a living room, family room and a large front and backyard- my stomping grounds!


Touted as the "ultimate how-to" show, you can watch the live, 2-hour "Home and Family" Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 12 PM PST.



Paige Davis, of "Trading Spaces" and Mark Steines of "E Entertainment" are the hosts.


I was invited to appear during the first week and asked to do a "mini-makeover" of the front yard, particularly the area in front of the porch.




The lawn did little to cover the porch slab which was in plain site and unattractive.


My assignment was to increase the curb appeal of the front yard using low maintenance plants. 



Kellogg Garden supplied soil and mulch.


I called two of my favorite landscape vendors- Monrovia Plants and Kellogg Garden  to ask if they would participate and supply the materials I needed.

They agreed and arrangements were made for deliveries one week before taping.



Unlike other garden television makeovers, the preparation work was completed in advance so I only needed to install a few plants on taping day.

What a relief, especially since Los Angeles was in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures in the 100-degree range!


Flower Carpet and Knock Out Roses

The front yard cried out for color and a romantic look to compliment the traditional architecture.

Considering the fact that this yard isn't tended to by a family, but rather a production company, low maintenance plants were a must!



Flower Carpet -Amber roses in bloom



Knock Out rose by Monrovia


I selected the Flower Carpet-Amber-Rose and Knock Out tree roses as foundation and anchor plants.


These award-winning landscaping roses have revolutionized the landscaping industry ever since they were introduced to the market.

Flower Carpet and Knock Out roses bloom from spring until the first frost of winter and are bred for disease resistance.

Both varieties can be planted in garden zones five through ten but must be protected against frost.


In addition to the roses, Monrovia also supplied the following "supporting" plants to round out the landscape.




For the television segment, I taught Mark and Paige how to plant a Flower Carpet rose correctly.

Fortunately, I was able to complete the planting before my six-minute segment was over!

Just in the knick of time.




How to Plant a Flower Carpet Rose

  • Dig a hole twice as wide as the Flower Carpet rootball and equal depth of rootball.
  • Mix Gardner & Bloome Rose and Flowering Plant Mix to the native soil backfill 
  • Loosen roots of rose and plant in hole
  • Fill in hole with amended soil
  • Water
  • Mulch underneath the roses


gardner-and-bloome-rose-and flowering-plant-soil-edenmakers-blog

Gardner & Bloome Rose and Flowering Planting mix


Enjoy the before and after photos!



Left side- before





Left side of yard after.


Home-and-Family-Show-Front Yard-Makeover-Before-Shirley-Bovshow

 Garden bed against garage is too narrow- before



Flower Carpet-Amber and salvia beyond.



Regal Mist pink muhly grass shimmers in the sun!


I'm excited about returning to the "Home and Family Show " soon to  present on "Terrariums."

Subscribe to my EdenMakers Blog and Facebook page for notifications of my next appearance and new blog posts!

Curb Appeal: Five Inexpensive Front Yard Enhancements

Curb Appeal Front Yard Porch and Gardens

Enhancing the curb appeal of your house doesn't have to be expensive.

Wether you are interested in improving the look of your  front yard for personal enjoyment or for  selling your home, here are a few of my top recommendations.


This blog post is part of the Garden Designers RoundTable blog theme about "First Impressions."

Please visit the blogsites posted at the end of this article for more inspired ideas!


1. Mulch Your Garden Beds!

peach-pit-and-glass mulch in garden bed


Nothing says "finished and well tended" than a garden that is weed-free and mulched.

There are a variety of mulch products that can be used in your garden from free pine leaves to decomposed granite to decorative recycled glass and more!

The horticultural benefits of adding mulch to your soil are undisputed- it helps to retard weed growth and aids in moisture retention in the soil.


I enjoy the decorative benefits of a rich colored top dressing for the soil.


If you have a small garden, you can buy bags (usually 1 to 2 cubic foot size) of your preferred mulch or order large scoops at your landscape center and have it delivered.

Prices vary according to your selection.

Standard, "nothing special redwood nuggets or shredded bark " can cost from $4 per 1.5 cu ft bag, more or less depending on where you live.

Inorganic pebbles and stone costs me approximately $10 dollars for a seventy-five-pound bag.


Apply  mulch around your plants but avoid piling it up against the stems as this may encourage plant rot.

A two or three inch depth is adequate.


My favorite mulch for my Southern California garden are recycled peach pits and tumbled glass.

If you follow my blog, you know I have a fondness for seashells and wine corks too!

For in depth information read my post, "Mulch 101: The Art of Selecting the Perfect Garden Mulch."


I always say, "If your garden bed isn't mulched, it isn't finished yet!"



2. Add Potted Plants Near Your Front Door!

Potted Plants Near Front Door


Even if you can't afford to relandscape your entire front yard, place a few colorful containers with fragrant flowers near your entry for impact.

Your eye will be drawn to this bright focal point.

Need inspiration?

Read my blog post "Creative Container Garden Ideas."



3.Paint Your Front Door An Accent Color!


Painted Front Door for Curb Appeal


I have to admit, if it weren't for the bright fushia-colored front door, this yard would look very boring!

The bougainvillea is captivating but it doesn't sport color year round.


Select a paint color that compliments the foliage or prominent plant color in your garden to unify house and landscape.

Painting a front door is a lot like putting on lipstick.

Instant smile!


4. Beautify Your Mail Box!

creative mailbox planters

Need I say more about the uplifting affect of a plant-filled mailbox?

I was contacted a few month ago by the designers of Creative Mailbox Planters, a company that specializes in mailbox planters.

What a great idea!


For around $80, you can have "practical art" in your front yard.

Take a look at their photo gallery.


(This is not a paid endorsement, but please feel free to send me some "swag!)



5. Hide Your Water Hose


Decorative water hose urn


This tall, elegant urn is hiding an ugly secret…a waterhose!

A water hose is a practical element in your garden that can become a decorative feature, if you conceal it.

This urn was on sale at Target for  under $40 dollars. Not a bad deal.


Since I wasn't in the mood to spend ANY money, I repurposed a planter I had sitting around my yard.

I gave it a job.

Planter used as water hose storage





The planter is shallow so I don't have to dive in to pull out the hose.

It also matches the style of the other planters in the garden.


Go Add Some Curb Appeal To Your Front Yard!

A few small details can make a big difference in adding curb appeal to your yard.

Always follow the path of least expense.


Mulch your soil, paint your front door, display some colorful planters,  add decorative detail around the mailbox and hide your hose.

You get the idea.


Please subscribe to EdenMakers Blog for updates on new blog posts and for upcoming giveaways!

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!





Please join the Garden Designers Roundtable bloggers today as we explore the best of First Impressions:

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA





Garden Designers Roundtable: Landscaping Mistakes to Avoid

Garden Police Bust Homeowner for Landscaping Mistakes

I'm blogging along with my colleagues at Garden Designers Roundtable about mistakes to avoid while working on your landscape project.


Where do I begin?


Whether you're tackling a DIY garden makeover project or hiring a landscape professional, I've found that the most common landscape mistakes fall into the following categories:


  • Budget Oversights

  • Preparation/Demo Mistakes

  • Design Mistakes

  • Planting and Landscape Installation Mistakes

  • Landscape Maintenance Mistakes


Each of these categories deserve a blog post of their own, so I've decided to create a series of posts so we don't overlook any important information.


Let's get started with the most important aspect of any project- the budget!

Plant budget? Check!

Landscaping materials budget? Check!

Garden decor and furniture budget? Check!


Budgeting Mistakes

You're ecstatic about the deal you found on Craig's List for a specimen Sago palm but did you allocate funds for some of these less "sexy" expenses?


Trash bin for landscape project

Trash and debris hauling.


One of the most often overlooked expenses in a landscape project is not accounting for demolition and yard debris haul away!

From a small 6-yard bin to a 40-yard trailer, most refuse companies charge per week and impose a penalty charge for bins that are filled over a maximum weight.

Earmark some of your budget for trash bins depending on your volume of trash and the kind of trash you have.


You are not allowed to mix bricks and concrete pieces with compostable yard materials.

It's going to cost extra!


Better yet, instead of disposing concrete pieces from an old driveway or patio, repurpose them as "flagstones" for an informal walkway or to build raised garden beds and save money!



Portable Toilet at construction site

Portable toilet at construction site.


If you contract a landscaping crew for more than a couple of days, you will need to provide an on site toilet or tolerate strangers walking through your house when nature calls!


Plants for the landscape

Delivery charges for plant and landscape materials.


If you don’t own a truck or mind driving back and forth with a full car, you will need to pay for multiple deliveries or rent a truck!



Bobcat in landscape project

Equipment rental.


Don't expect to remove a large tree with rose pruners!

Assess each project for tool and equipment needs.

You may need to rent a bobcat, a power saw, stump grinder or all of the above!


Hire a Landscape Consultant


Shirley holding flagstone


DIY'ers, if you are committed to overseeing your landscape project from start to finish, consider hiring a landscape consultant, like me!

Landscape consultants will assist you in executing your design plan within your budget constraints.

In Los Angeles, landscaping consultants may charge anywhere from $100 to over $200 per hour and is worth the investment.


I urge you to create a budget that includes the above expenses and make sure to check it twice!

Once you account for all these "trashy" expenses, you'll be able to move on to the more fun parts of your landscape project.


On the subject of mistakes, watch this funny video with my friend, landscape architect, Billy Goodnick.

"Crimes Against Horticulture." Are you guilty of these crimes against junipers and cactus?



Please read blog posts from my peers listed below:

Simply follow the links below to each of the blogs.

David Cristiani : The Desert Edge : Albuquerque, NM

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : Easy Bay, CA

Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

Shirley Bovshow : Eden Makers : Los Angeles, CA

Genevieve Schmidt : North Coast Gardening : Arcata, CA

Kristen McLain: RF Landscape Services

No Lawn Backyard Makeover: New Outdoor Living Areas

Intimate lounge area

Consider a "no lawn" backyard design to maximize the use of a small yard and create outdoor living areas!

Take a look at how I was able to "stretch" the use of my client, Larry Solomon's tiny backyard into three distinct areas.

Trust me, you won't miss the lawn when you are enjoying every square inch of your precious outdoor real estate as Larry does!


No lawn backyard by Shirley Bovshow


I'm blogging about "no lawn" landscapes today along with my peers at the Garden Designer's Roundtable and the Lawn Reform Coalition.

Take a moment to visit the other blogger's sites noted at the end of this post for more lawn alternative ideas.


Before the Backyard Makeover


Backyard before makeover left side

Before: Left side of backyard- future dining area


What a mess!

My client, Larry inherited this construction-worn backyard and was trusting in me to create miracles.

Larry's idea of the perfect backyard included a spot to lounge, an outdoor dining area to entertain guests, a relaxing fountain and a beautiful garden.

While his tiny plot measured only  45 feet wide by 30 feet deep, I was able to envision Larry's  future outdoor living sanctuary with all of his details almost immediately!


Backyard Makeover middle of yard

Before: I marked the future dining, garden and  lounge areas with landscaping paint. Great visual aide.


Larry's future landscape design did not include a lawn area and I was confident that he would be open to the idea.

My arguments were:

  • No lawn, no mowing. Less maintenance.
  • No lawn, no heavy watering. Smaller watering bill.
  • No lawn, no boring "tract lot" backyard!


He agreed.



Backyard lawn before makeover right side

Far right corner of the backyard- future lounge area


Near house before backyard makeover

Doors leading to backyard. Notice no solid outdoor floors.


The Garden Makeover Plan

  1. Create an outdoor dining area large enough for their antique table and chairs using recycled concrete for the patio floor.
  2. Design a small, year-round perennial garden with fountain that divides the eating area from the new lounge area.
  3. Install a small patio for two chaise lounges. Recycled concrete floors.
  4. Create a new "landing area" for the french doors leading from the house to the backyard.
  5. Small pad for portable BBQ
  6. Decomposed granite and recycled concrete "flagstone" meandering footpath leading to each space.
  7. Water-wise plants throughout.


Let's see how we did.


After Photos


Measuring the furniture on the patio

We measured the table and bench to the patio to make sure there was enough space to walk around and sit down.


After- new outdoor dining patio

After: Dining area. We removed two small palm trees to make room for the new dining furniture.


Fountain garden with low water plants

After: The small fountain and garden bed separates the dining from the lounge areas.


Ornamental grasses surround a two-tiered fountain

After: Ornamental grasses and low water perennials provide year round color in the garden.


New chaise lounge area

After: New double chaise lounge feels intimate and inviting!


Decomposed granite and recycled concrete paver footpath with creeping Thyme

After: Affordable decomposed granite and recycled concrete "flagstone" footpath is softened by velvety, ground-hugging Thyme!


Recycled concrete landing outside of house and BBQ pad

After- We installed recycled concrete pieces for the landing outside of the french doors and created a pad for the portable BBQ unit as well.


Outdoor dining patio

After: Another view of the dining area.


Pathway to narrow side yard makeover by Shirley Bovshow

The pathway leads to a narrow side yard that I also made over.


Narrow side yard makeover by Shirley Bovshow

Read "Narrow Side Yard Makeover" for a complete story of this yard.


View of new dining area from narrow side yard by Shirley Bovshow

View of new dining area from the narrow side yard leading to back yard


Garden Design Details


Dwarf citrus trees planted in containers within the small garden bed

Dwarf citrus trees are planted in containers placed in small, narrow garden beds to maximize space.


Festuca glauca softens the cobble stone garden edging

Festuca glauca softens the edges of the cobble stone


Intimate lounge area

The intimate lounge area is surrounded by fragrance and water


Small, No-Lawn Backyard in Video!


Want to see this garden in a video parody of my show, "Garden Police" (Discovery Channel) called,  "Garden Rescue?"

My client Larry was such a good sport to let us tape in his yard, he even appeared in the TV show!

Although we have fun and act a little goofy in the video, we offer solid advice about Mediterranean plants and cold damage!



Don't limit the use of your yard by thinking that a lawn is a "must have."

If you have small children, a dog or truly enjoy the use of a lawn, then by all means, plant a lawn if it makes you happy.

I like the Eco-Lawn or UC Verde lawn because they need less water to thrive than other conventional lawns, no fertilizing and  require less mowing.


Maximize the use of your yard for YOUR needs, don't just lay wall to wall sod without considering the alternatives!

Hungry for more "lawn less" garden designs?


Posts About Lawn-Less Landscapes

Front Yard Garden Replaces Lawn and Lone Palm Tree

Lawn-Less in Los Angeles

Mar Vista Green Garden Tour

Mar Vista Green Garden Tour Part 2

Narrow Side Yard Makeover

My Garden Makeover: Tract Lot to Fantasy Yard

Extreme Lawn Makeover¦Low Water Plants Take Over!

No Lawn Backyard Makeover: New Outdoor Living Areas


I'm Not Finished….

Please visit and read blog posts from these members of the Garden Designers Roundtable and Lawn Reform Coalition on "Lawn Alternatives"

Now check out posts about lawn replacement from these Lawn Reform Coalition members:

And these members of the Garden Designers Roundtable:




Front Yard Vegetable Garden Makeover!

edible front yard in knot garden style

One of my favorite garden television makeovers was a front yard vegetable and herb garden that Michael Glassman and I designed for our show, "Garden Police," (Discovery Home Channel).


continue reading..