ISSUE 37  |  Style on a Budget

Before and After: 5 Favorite Garden Rehabs

September 20, 2014 4:00 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

We know the landscape architect and designer members of our Architect/Designer Directory are talented, but nothing drives the point home like a good before and after. Here are some amazing gardens they’ve conjured in San Francisco, New York, England, and Southern California:

San Francisco: Before

Above: A verdant but unloved lawn; the owners’ children had grown and gone and no one used the space.

San Francisco: After

Above: San Francisco-based Growsgreen Landscape Design created a large outdoor room and garden with a new wood patio that sits at the same level as the threshold to the house, lending the feeling of a continuous room indoors and out. At the back of the garden is a heated seating area. Photograph by Caitlin Atkinson

Brooklyn: Before

Above: An empty backyard in Park Slope, Brooklyn provided little utility and privacy.

Brooklyn: After

Above: Kim Hoyt Architect made use of the plot’s generous length and created separate seating and dining areas connected by bluestone paving. A new stucco garden wall provides privacy and a crisp backdrop for the perennial plantings and styrax trees.

Southern California: Before

Above: A couple in Redondo Beach, California turned their garage into a studio and demolished their driveway.

Southern California: After

Above: Grow Outdoor Design used chunks of the old concrete driveway to build a retaining wall for a garden filled with Mediterranean and California native plants. Their design includes raised vegetable beds, dwarf fruit trees, a blackberry bramble, and large trees to provide shade and wildlife habitat. Photograph by Katrina Coombs.

Kent, UK: Before

Above: A thriving but impractical garden in Kent, UK sports vines destructive to cottage walls and shrubs that block access to the cottage doors.

Kent, UK: After

Above: Marian Boswall Landscape Architects redesigned the courtyard using local Kent ragstone and Breedon gravel. She created an herb-filled dining area surrounded by ‘Mariette’ red tulips in spring.

Northern California: Before

Above: A cramped garden in Marin County, CA with a bay laurel tree (disliked as a carrier of the pathogen for Sudden Oak Death) and a giant agave (adored by the succulent-loving client).

Northern California: After

Above: SF Bay Area-based Pedersen Associates managed to keep the client’s beloved agave while creating a “classic Northern California” outdoor room carved out of the hillside.

For another dramatic before and after, see Garden Visit: Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan on Shelter Island. And browse our archives for Before and After Garden Rehabs.

N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published October 13, 2013.