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September 22, 2017

Driveway Garden Makeover

My new garden bed was inspired by this little Japanese Maple.  We had to quickly move it over here when we planted new shrubs by the house.  I had a vision of a Japanese garden and drew up a quick plan which I'll show you but don't laugh- I'm no artist!

Once it started to go together a few changes were made but generally I stuck to my plan.

Dan and I did some hunting and found these large rocks at a landscaper's rock stockpile that we brought home a week ago.  

They all had a yellowish dirty cast to them so I wasn't 100% sure what they'd look like but I knew they'd be a lighter color.  

We borrowed his sister's power washer and Dan cleaned them up.

The right side of the bed was widened about 12" to match the concrete turnaround width better and so the little maple wouldn't be too close to the edge.  We also removed about 10" of sod at the back so the bed goes all the way to the fence now and mowing won't be necessary.  A 12" wide piece of landscape fabric was installed along both edges to prevent the grass from taking over again.

We had to use the front end loader on the tractor to set the big rocks. Dan estimated one of them to be at least 450 lbs.  They are all granite.  This area measures 8 1/2 ft. deep x 20 ft. wide.  The big ash tree next to all of this has broken the driveway and the right side of the bed is slightly raised from the tree.

I dug out this very large hosta from out back.  I believe this is called "Great Expectations".  I've had it a long time and it's a favorite. 

I found another large hosta in my back area to fill in this area by the stone. 

These little hostas came from out back near the fountain area. They nearly disappeared because of some of the ground cover plants were choking them out.  There's a third clump on the right that is barely visible.  I also put Japanese Painted Ferns behind the rock that were also getting choked out from ground covers.  Next year this will look more naturalized.

I put a new Karl Foerster ornamental grass behind this rock which will be about 5 foot tall and they have nice feathery plumes that will show up next summer.

I also added two purple mums.  As you've noticed the ash tree above has started to let go of some leaves.  Most of the tree is still green but it's always the first to let go.

I wanted a little Pagoda but was getting discourage at the costs of the ones I found on-line and no-one around here had one.  I finally found a garden center about 40 miles north of us that had some nice Japanese garden art.  This is a composite stone piece and they called it a Japanese Lantern.  While creating this area I had to place these objects just far enough back so when people back into the turn around they won't be knocking things over.

The variegated grasses are new and I think they'll make a nice backdrop for the lantern.  Isn't it cute- I can stick a candle in there to light it up.

I also planted two purple phlox that I took from the front island.  You can see the larger dark green leaves of one of them in this picture near the stone.  In the forefront is a mum that came back from a couple of years back.  Next year I'm going to try to trim it back so it will stay a bit shorter and it helps them to be fuller.  The gals at the nursery center said the rule of thumb is to cut it 3 times before the 4th of July.  The sun starts hitting the left side and then its shady again early afternoon and it moves across to the right side and that gets the most sun so I had to plan accordingly.  

This was in the spring of 2016- these Summer Wine Ninebarks looked horrible.  I watered extra heavy and trimmed them back and they recovered but they really never did well here.  I had planted them about 4 years ago and finally got fed up.  They were also susceptible to powdery mildew.

Sorry I don't have a better picture but this is the most recent one I had of the area.

This is how it looks now! 
I can't wait to see it next year and how it fills out.  


  1. Gorgeous. You guys did a ton of work and it looks so good.

  2. It's lovely! Sometimes you just have to pull the old stock out...and redo the beds. Lots of work, but so worth it. It will be fun to see how it fills out next spring! ;)

  3. Beautiful! Wow, so much work and so well worth it ! Love that lantern!!


  4. Wonderful transformation. I love using large boulders in landscaping. The Chinese pagoda looks lovely there with your plants and flowers.

  5. Nice transformation Liz. I know it was lots of work.

  6. It is beautiful. And how nice that you were able to move some of your plants from other gardens.

  7. I love it! The rocks are wonderful, and I love that you added the ornamental grass. I can hardly wait to see things filled out and blooming next summer. :-) Great job. Go, Dan!

  8. You are a genius at gardening!!! Those rocks cleaned up nicely, and the space looks professionally done! Get your hips on a plane and get down here to help me!!!!!

  9. Wow that is a lot of work but so pretty. Love the rocks. Happy Friday.

  10. Oh Liz, I think we are gardening kindred spirits. I love your makeover. And, I love that you're still gardening. I just bought some more plants yesterday for a shady area that I'm working on. Happy gardening!

  11. It looks so pretty and I do like the pagoda.

  12. I so love large rocks in a garden...they really add lots of interest and texture...I so love your gardens...you two did a beautiful job!


Thank you for your comments! I don’t always get a chance to reply but I do read them!


Welcome to Home and Gardening With Liz. I have combined my previous blogs “Infuse With Liz” and “Sit With Me In My Garden” into this new blog. I love interior decorating and gardening. I enjoy redefining interior spaces by moving things around and reusing decorative items already found in the home. I also enjoy creating tablescapes and an occasional crafting project. I'm so pleased you've stopped by. I invite you to follow me and I do hope you will keep coming back! Liz
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