Posts tagged "before and after"

Press: Country Garden in

Apartment Therapy The Gardenist Before and After Shirley's Country Garden


I'm happy to see that  is featuring my "Country Garden" project on their site today!

Rochelle Greayer, "The Gardenist" wrote an article  titled,   "Before and After: Shirley's Country Garden"  about one of my small, affordable garden designs.


rose trees in country garden


As a matter of fact, Rochelle has a whole series of "Before and After"  gardens on her blog this month!

Make sure to comment and share her article with your friends!

Thanks Rochelle!



“Extreme Pool Makeover at Villa Gardens!

trenching for pipes during pool makeover

EdenMaker.TV #3

One of the most significant projects my design partners at Southern California Landscape and I proposed for our clients, the Grinbaum family of Calabasas, California was the complete renovation of their  pool and deck areas.

I can't believe how far we've come in just a few short weeks- it is truly an extreme pool makeover!


Before- My clients did not like the formal style of  the pool so we came up with a design plan to modify the shape and look of it.


The pool looked fine but it was not the free flowing natural style that my clients favored.

The real problem with the pool area  was small deck.

The deck  felt cramped and seemed to be squeezed between the house and the hillside retaining wall behind the pool.

In order to expand the deck, we were  going to have to move a mountain for the Grinbaums and with the help of some heavy machinery, we did!


"My other car is a bobcat!"

Design Tip: In a natural landscape design, consider using boulders or stacked natural stone  over block walls for retaining walls when possible. There are many different varieties of stone available, so look for local stone for best price and to keep the look of your landscape consistent with the surrounding area.


Homeowner, Joe Grinbaum gives me a taste of my own medicine as he photographs me photographing him in front of the newly cut hillside.

We pushed the hillside wall back and gained about ten feet of deck space!


Watch this short video for more great before and after photos of this extreme pool makeover!


We replaced the pavers with three-inch-thick, over sized flagstones that were set in mortar and fashioned steps from them.

The flagstone deck will feature crevice plantings to encourage storm water to percolate through the soil instead of running  off into the street.

A drain will collect excess water.

We played it safe and dragged out the patio furniture that will be used on the deck to ensure generous traffic ways and room for the furniture.

No more congested areas for the Grinbaums!


Design Tip: Set pavers, flagstone and brick in sand instead of a cement slab to discourage water runoff. The above elements must be thick enough to withstand foot traffic and pressure from weather changes so that they do not crack.


The new flagstone deck is large enough to accommodate lounge chairs, a dining table and some beautiful pots!


Design Tip: Opt for low-growing ground covers to fill crevices between flagstones. Grass generally does not do well planted in small strips and dries out easily from the radiant heat of the flagstone.

Elfin thyme, sedums and other low water plants are preferable.


After- The Grinbaums now have a beautiful, "almost new" natural-style pool of their dreams!

I can't wait to plant, but I have to wait for the rest of the construction to be completed.


Updated Photos!


Pool lounge'

After- It was worth pushing back the hill to make room for a sunny lounge area!


Parrot's beak,"lotus" adds jewel-like color to the pool area

After- The pool and new deck area were treated to rustic natural stone, "Sweetwater."


Over-sized flagstones were carefully selected for the steps.

Notice the natural radius and "jagged" face of the stone!


pool with stone details

After- We fashioned a more natural style pool to the delight of the homeowners!



After- Soft, billowy ornamental grasses and well-behaved trees ( no aggressive roots) were planted along the perimeter of the pool to soften the edges and compliment the natural style.

Elfin thyme was planted between the flagstone crevices. Low water, low maintenance plants were used throughout the yard.


If your pool is not your style, consider a cosmetic makeover for it.

All you need is a good plan and some talented craftsmen…I know the best crew!


If you missed the previous update in the Villa Garden series, "Creating a Sunset Patio Garden," go here.

Before and After: Country Garden Retreat on Small Budget!

stacked concrete garden wall in country garden

Before Photo

I had an instant design vision for this backyard the moment I saw it.

I envisioned a romantic gazebo in the corner, a new handcrafted wood fence, and a raised tumbled stone wall with a swath of Geranium incanum cascading over it.

A country garden retreat!


In a flash, it all came together in detail and just as quickly, the elements started to disappear as I spoke to my clients about the budget.

Board by board, stone by stone my lofty design was deconstructed and faded into the thin air whence it came from.

The only thing left was the geranium and my positive attitude.


“Great, I’ll just have to get creative with materials,” I thought.

Up to the challenge, I assured my clients that they would have the beautiful garden they always dreamed of and I would do it on their small budget.

Take a look at the results which they were delighted with:


After- English Garden by Shirley Bovshow

The concrete block wall had to stay, so I had the homeowners paint it themselves to save money on labor.

The cost of paint was a lot less than a new wood fence and the dark green color made it less obtrusive.

Instead of the shady gazebo, I opted for two Cassia leptophylla “Golden Wonder” trees to form a natural shade canopy and crown the sitting area with it’s golden yellow flowers in the summer.



After- New sitting area and raised stone planters.

I had a stacked stone wall built along the entire backyard, creating a second level for plants.

Instead of expensive natural stone, (like in my vision), we used recycled concrete for a fraction of the price without compromising on charm and good looks!

The broken concrete pieces were also used to build the small pad for the garden bench.


Before- Diagram your new path and garden beds to make sure you like the flow before digging in.

The side yard was used to house trash cans but my plan was to reclaim the space as an outdoor dining and barbecue area.

Whenever I see an unused area, my instincts always prompt me to investigate if the area can serve a function, instead of just, “stand there and look pretty.”



After- The plan comes together just as I imagined it.

The white arbor stands at the entrance of the new dining area and creates a romantic transition between the backyard and new outdoor dining room!


After- A second level in the garden adds depth and interest.

A variety of perennials soften the stone walls on the bottom and top levels.

The raised area near the dining room is planted with veggies and herbs for convenient access.

I’m a firm believer in year-round color through perennial plants that flower different times of the year.

I do use annuals in containers and focal areas, but I don’t rely on them to “carry” my gardens.

In this zone 20 garden in Los Angeles, I am fortunate to have the type of weather that supports a year-round garden.



After- Garden art is always a welcome feature in an English garden, as are cute little dogs!

The “workhorse” plants that I selected for this garden were chosen for their extended bloom time, low maintenance and low water needs.

Alas, Paradise has its shortcomings- a drought issue!



Cassia leptophylla- (yellow flowers)

Citrus trees- variety



Tibouchina urivellana “Princess tree”- (purple flowers)

Lavatera “Red Rum”

Rose Trees- (coral)

Iceberg roses (white)

English Roses-(whites, yellow, dark red)

“Golden Shower” climbing yellow rose

“Joseph’s Coat” climbing multi colored rose in apricot/pinks/yellow

Hardenbergia vine (lavender flowers) a good wisteria replacement

Hydrangeas (pink)

Argyranthemum (white)

Hebe (purple)

Polygala fruiticosa (fushia)

Bay Laurel

Bougainvillea tree (fushia)

Salvia chiapensis (red)


Artemesia (silver)

Teucrium (blue)

Daylily (yellow, cranberry, apricot)

Gaura (pink and white)

Cuphea– (pink and white)


Ground Covers

Ornamental strawberry,Festuca, Erigeron “Santa Barbara daisy”, Rosemary, Scabiosa, Armaria, Huechera, Colombine


I invite you to visit my website to view other projects I have completed.