Pinterest Inspired Me to Spruce Up My Side Garden

Before and After Side Garden Renovation

Last week I talked about the things I want to accomplish this season like sprucing up the less-seen parts of my garden. I think paying attention to details in your garden is important and the side garden is a great place to start.

I was first inspired to update my side garden after seeing a renovation on Pinterest by my favorite Designer, Loi Thai. The garden featured in his article Timeless Swedish Style took my breath away. Loi suggested that the homeowner install a boxwood and gravel garden where grass wouldn’t grow. Once I saw the photograph, I knew it was time to tidy up my side garden.

Photo credit:  Loi Thai showing a side garden with boxwood and gravel Loi designed for a client.

So how did I go from looking at this photograph to figuring out what to do in my garden?  Let’s step through the process of how I selected the design elements to include and how I finished the work.

The first thing I did was look at the image and take note of the things that made this design so powerful.

  1. Trees along the fence to create seclusion.
  2. Boxwood to provide structure.
  3. White flowers to brighten up the shade.
  4. Dark grey stones that fit naturally into the landscape.
  5. Gravel path where it’s hard to grow turf.

The trees and boxwood caught my eye.  The trees create the perfect secluded space and the boxwood adds year-round interest. I wanted to include these elements in my side garden design.

Let’s start by looking at a BEFORE image.

Side garden before updates.

The side garden had boxwood on one side of the path and hostas on the other. The first thing I needed to do was move the hostas so I grabbed a shovel and wheelbarrow and got to work.

Moving hosta out of the side garden to make room for boxwood.

The next step was to plant the small trees and boxwood along the fence line. I originally wanted to use white blooming Rose of Sharon standards, but the nursery only had one plant.  I needed three so I ended up buying trees with mauve-colored flowers. 

Standard Rose of Sharon trees waiting to be planted.

I read the labels on the trees to figure out how far apart to plant them.  I spaced them at equal intervals along the fence to hide the view of the neighbor’s house.  Once the trees were planted, I added boxwood along the left side of the path. I bought the boxwood at Home Depot and spaced them 24 inches apart.  

Boxwood and Rose of Sharon standards planted along the fence line.

It was a small change, but it made a big improvement in my opinion.  The trees give this space personality.

The trees do a great job providing a sense of privacy. The plan this season is to continue improving this space. The photos below show what the space looks like now.

Flowering Rose of Sharon standards along the side of the garden.
Wayside Shrine made from old barn wood houses a statue of St. Francis of Assisi.
The updated path leading to the side garden from the front of the house.

I’ll continue adding to this space little by little. Some of the things I’m thinking of doing this season are:

  • Add a flower box along the top of the fence line.
  • Train climbing vines on wires to decorate the brick wall.
  • Add climbing roses at the corner of the fence.

Watch this space to follow along as I try to build my dream garden one day at a time. I’d love to hear what you have planned for your garden this season.

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