Mid-Century Modern(ization)

Redefining modern for a family-friendly home

Summer Planting

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I know, I know.  Planting is supposed to be done in spring, or so they tell me.  At least that’s when all  the landscapers sweep in and leave overhauled and beautified beds in their wake, right?  But you know, y’all?  Not everyone has the time (or money) for that. Oh, and it was still snowing in April around these parts, so there’s that. 

Whatever our reason may be, it’s August and we’re planting.  Sue me.


When we moved into this house it was pretty apparent that the hedges hadn’t been tended to in some time and little by little we’ve been working to rectify that.  Last fall ok, winter we trimmed the hedges along the right side of our home (and we could finally see out the bedroom windows!) and sometime early this year we took out the egg shaped shrub that was really all but dead when seen from the back (which is really all we saw when we looked out our large kitchen window and, incidentally, where this photo was taken from).

2014-0323 (3) 2014-0322 (6)

Two tasks that essentially took the front of our home from this where we couldn’t see out ANY of the windows…


To this at the beginning of spring 2014.


Less green, but a little more streamlined.  The shrubs on the right did eventually grow back beautifully, I promise.

But there were several other shrub related issues that remained.  Such as, can you spot our front door?  No?  Well, neither could anyone coming to visit because it’s obscured by that colossal orb shaped bush (which I really loved in some ways, but not right there and not from the backside where, like the cone shaped bush, it looked completely dead.  And again, that’s all we could see out our kitchen window).   There was also a hedge of holly which Kirk and I both despise for its prickly leaves that are forever stabbing the unassuming gardener or small child.  Both were yanked out along with a fair amount of ground cover, some stray bamboo that had migrated from the backyard, and a bunch of roots — origins unknown.

A process which looked a lot like this.



And left us with this:


Now, in full disclosure, we did actually have a landscaper come out to give us a quote for digging out these shrubs/plants, leveling the soil and replanting, but …well he never got back to us and it was a now or never type of thing.  So I did what any self-respecting girl with a landscape architect for a father would do.  I called my dad and asked for help.  I sent him some photos and some criterion (drought resistant, deer proof, full sun exposure) and he came up with this great plan of attack.  He sent a list of plant suggestions along with photos and even sketched out a plan for us.   AMAZING.


And JUST what I needed to feel like we could tackle this on our own.  I took this sketch and his plant recommendations to a local nursery and went to town with a fabulously knowledgeable staff person.  We didn’t get all the same plants that my dad recommended because they weren’t always in stock or because I didn’t particularly connect with it in person, but he did give us a good basis for finding replacements.  His emails told us how tall he believed each row of plants should grow be and how far apart to plant which was invaluable intel for a novice like myself!

I did spend a pretty penny there (juuuust over $400), but felt pretty fortunate to find that, this late in the season, just about everything was 35% off.  In fact, the maple tree we got had been marked down from $189 just that morning to only $50!  And I’m sure the landscaper, if he ever called back, would have charged about three times what we spent on just the plants.  All told we bought:

1 Japanese Seiryu Maple tree

3 Japanese Helleri Holly (beneath the kichen window)

3 Golden Charm Cyprus (in front of the white brick wall)

3 Nandina Obsessions  (in front of the Japanese Holly)

4 Liriope Muscari (along the walkway)

3 Blue Star  (behind the Liriope)

1  Woodward Arborvitae (to pair with a lonely one we already had)
When we got home we set everything out — still in their containers — about where we wanted to plant them.  We had to make a few adjustments on the fly because we didn’t account for the buried electric that comes out from the brick wall.  We had to scoot the maple over to the right a little bit and move one of the cypress to the other side of the planting bed.


We didn’t buy as many of the smaller plants for along the walkway as we should have.  My dad’s plan shows 10 and we only bought 7 because A) I thought we could make it work by transplanting some other grasses that we have, and B) they didn’t have the variety of Liriope that I was looking for (silver dragon).  So right now it’s a little thin, but we’re going to see how it grows in and maybe do some tweaking next year.

It didn’t take nearly as long to get everything into the ground as it had to remove what had been planted there before.  We did end up digging out one more shrub at the last minute to help balance things, but in comparison, it all went very smoothly.  And a little child labor never hurt.


And here we are today, impatiently waiting for everything to grown and fill in (and hide the now-exposed plumbing lines!).  The mulch looks red, but I swear it’s brown!  And the maple is about its full height but should fill out that blank wall space nicely.  Also, we were told its bark turns red in the winter which should look awesome against the white brick!



We still need to trim and reshape the remaining mature shrubs, but we’re going to wait until the weather cools off and they go dormant for winter.


Not bad, not bad.  At least we’re not that house on the street anymore.  ;)


Author: Olivia @ Mid-Century Modern(ization)

I am a wife, mother, and writer. I am also a crafting, furniture-refinishing, home-designing nut.

One thought on “Summer Planting

  1. Looking good Olivia! I love that your dad contributed in such a cool way. It’s a big improvement, and will only get better over time. FYI: we’re still THAT house on the street –very much at the (never-ending) removal stage, but we’ll get there.

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