December 12, 2007


This lovely contemporary home has another tiny urban plot. The homeowner client did not want grass and as an interior designer with good taste she didn't want the cookie-cutter developer's landscape ( you know the one - boxwood, boxwood and more boxwood ! ) .

After clearing the lot of all grass and rubble I dug a big hole.

Notice how dark the soil is compared to the first photo ! I added a ton of soil amendments and built up the area into a raised bed to give it added interest.

To the left is my favorite evergreen, Hinoki cypress. Next to it are two dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangeas. This garden was completed in one day. When the client left in the morning it looked like the top photo and when she returned, much to her surprise and delight, she had a garden that looked as if it had been there for sometime.

Sigh. Another satisfied customer.


  1. Small gardens are much harder to landscape than large 1s as everything in the former counts so much more. Great job on both of these! I'd be happy to come home to either 1 if I lived in a townhouse.

  2. I think so, too, MMD. Every single plant must do double duty in the small garden which is why I'm very careful to pick those that do so the garden looks good in every season.

  3. Very very nice. Now it looks like someone not only lives there, but Thrives there!

  4. Hi Shady Gardener,

    Welcome to Sweet Home and Garden Chicago. I will just mosey on over to your blog and check it out. Thanks for the comments.

  5. I can't see the photos on this one, but I like the other one. Now, as a designer, how do you go about selecting plants? I talked to a designer last week whose perennial choices surprised me--some of them were so common, but she said that she needed a stable of well-behaved, low maintenance type plants for some of her clients. She also said finding a consistent level of plants (good quality, and large enough) was a challenge by times; is that an issue for you?

  6. Hi Jodi,

    That's not a photo actually , it's a self-portrait painted in dramatic low light.

    Good question. I select perennials based on length of bloom, hardiness, color and bloom time and many are common or well known : Blackeyed susans, daylilies, phlox, coralbells, brunnera, ornamental grass, etc.

    I'm fortunate to work at a nearby garden center that carries a wonderful selection of perennials available from Spring to Fall.

  7. I like what you did Carolyn -- do you find these small lots even more challenging? I'll have to look into the cypress and dwarf hydrangeas.


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