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2 Sided Landscape - Hidden vegetable garden in front yard

Vegetable garden in front yard can not be seen from street.
This is view from owner's driveway

Plant food, not lawns. Pretty front yard salad gardens

This salad garden is positioned in the sunniest part of the front yard in an area that is hidden from the neighbors. It's visible from my driveway and all windows across the front of the house. These edibles plus others scattered thru the front yard are combined with flowering shrubs and perennials that attract beneficial insects and pollinators. The plants occupy 90% of the space with only 10% remaining lawn.

The front lawn at my house is a very small drift of zoysia that flows along the curb and blends with the neighborhood. The entire remaining front yard is landscaped with edibles mixed with perennials and shrubs. The photo below shows the view from the street. The edible garden with the 4 stone raised beds is located behind the pink azaleas. Other low growing vegetables, dwarf blueberries and strawberries are located behind the purple verbena in the upper, left corner of the photo below.
drifts of flowers minimal lawn
This is what the neighbor's see. 
Edibles are behind the pink azalea.
boulders for raised beds vegetable garden
This is the other side where the main edible garden is located.
See more organic edible gardens. Contact me soon to have yours designed in time for the next planting season. Most fruit trees and berries are planted in February. Majority of vegetables are planted either mid - late April for warm season crops and mid - late October for cool season crops.

Looking forward to creating something perfect for you!
Danna Cain, ASLA
Home & Garden Design, Inc., Atlanta

New walkway and interesting plants transform curb appeal at this John’s Creek home

Patterned concrete ront walk after

Soft textured plants and meandering walkway create a welcoming entrance

There are many things to consider when designing a new entrance walkway. Orienting guests, slope of the land, ease of use and architectural style are all very important. The most special entrances, however, are the ones that create an ambiance that reflects the owner's personality thus truly welcomes guests to the home. Given the style of the house, the walk could have been very linear and formal however we chose a more informal design. The owner wanted a much softer and more welcoming look that would incorporate low maintenance Southern color and texture. Tops on her list were old fashioned favorites such as forsythia, gardenia and daylilies.

On my first visit to this home, I was shocked to see that the builder had provided only a stepping stone path to the front door. It was difficult to walk on and completely too small as the approach to this huge front porch. The landing that made the transition between the path and porch was settling and of mismatched materials. This all needed to be replaced.

Front walk before

The goal was to have the existing porch, landing and walk match. Since the porch paving had several issues, we initially planned to redo it plus all new paving in matching bluestone. This became far more complicated and costly due to the manner in which the builder had installed this porch. The contingency plan was then to renovate/refinish the existing porch’s colored, stamped and patterned concrete then match it on the new surfaces. To my surprise, it’s not always easy to match 20 year old architectural concrete! What initially appeared to be a very typical slate pattern ended up requiring an obsolete proprietary tool. An exhaustive search led to a pioneer in the industry who still had the tool needed. The project was underway!
Patterned concrete ront walk after
I oriented the new, wide meandering walkway so that there would be a view of the front door as guests approached. All grass between the walk and the house was eliminated. A new large bed was added in front of the landing to soften it and to balance the porch. Large French urns were placed on the porch as focal points.


After much deliberation, I decided to keep the old clipped ilex bushes because the house really needed the massiveness of these shrubs. Reclamation pruning has begun on these to equalize the heights, remove dead limbs and encourage healthy, interior foliage.

To soften the look, we added 8’ tall forsythias on the corners of the house behind the old shrubs. More softening was achieved by adding daylilies and perennials in front of the old shrubs. We also introduced evergreen Indian Hawthorne ‘Eleanor Tabor’ and Crown Jewel dwarf gardenias with the intent that these shrubs would grow together forming soft masses.

On the left side, we started reclamation pruning on the large sasanquas. We reshaped the one by the chimney, deciding to keep it shrub-form as a backdrop for all the perennials in the butterfly garden. The other sasanqua by the garage was limbed up into tree form.

This project is an example of how existing plants can be revitalized and used in a new design that balances the architectural features of a home. If your home is in dire need of a makeover, I will work with you to develop a concept that will achieve your goals. Start the process by completing this short form

Danna Cain, ASLA
Home & Garden Design, Inc., Atlanta

See our portfolio 


Transform your holly bushes

virginia highlands landscape home garden design danna cain
These holly trees have been "limbed up" into tree form
plus new, more interesting plants added around
for color, texture and an Italian flair

Morphing a holly hedge into an award winning statement

Here's an idea you can use! When faced with a huge, boring hedge, consider "limbing it up" to morph it into a row of trees. That was our solution when the City of Atlanta arborist would not allow us to remove these Virginia Highland hollies. The raised canopy gave us space and sun to plant the herb and perennial garden that the client desired. This idea won the 2013 Atlanta Home Improvement, Best Before/After Makeover contest in the landscape division.

The hedge was so fat and robust that it was difficult for the owner to keep up with pruning it off of the unique, yet small driveway. The first goal was to give the client more space.

before photo of dense holly hedge
Before photo

holly screening hedge
Before photo

The photo below was taken immediately after pruning the hollies. Yes, that entire hedge was from only 2 plants! Notice how we selected only a few of the best main trunks on each plant. We then shaped and cleaned out the canopy. Strategic limbs were cut back severely so that they would “bush up” to fill in and grow into a more compact form. Drastic reclamation pruning, such as this, should be done in February while the plant is dormant. This timing, just before the flush of new Spring growth, assures that the plant will not be barren for long.

Hollies limbed up
During photo, taken just after pruning the hollies

The next photo shows the holly trees "limbed up" into tree form plus the new, more interesting plantings surrounding the hollies. This client wanted color, texture, herbs and an Italian flair. Notice how we incorporated the Italian cypress that he really wanted for texture. He did not mind seeing the neighbor's house. In fact, he welcomed the more spacious view that this idea presented.

virginia highlands curb appeal home garden design danna cain
After Photo, one year later

Between the hollies, we placed a large Italian Terra Cotta urn as a focal point. This provides color rear round, especially in the winter when the surrounding perennials are dormant.

Italian terra cotta pot with annuals home garden design
Large Italian Terra Pot with annuals

The sunniest place in the yard was at the corner, so this is where we placed the main herb garden. See how the pruning of the hollies, addition of the Italian cypress and the herbs plus perennials have transformed the curb appeal of this Midtown home.
photo before pruning hollies
Before photo
Vir High landscape danna cain
After photo shows how this idea provides better
curb appeal plus space for the herb garden
at the sunny curb

Read more about this project:
Award announcement
Magazine article
Portfolio photo #1 curb appeal
Portfolio photo #2 perennial gardens


Atlanta Home Improvement magazine chooses Hoover project as Best Before/After

HGD wins 1st Place Landscape in Before/After Contest

This contest was sponsored by Atlanta Home Improvement magazine. They asked local professionals to submit before and after photos of renovation projects in categories ranging from interior design to landscape. We won 1st Place in the landscape category for Hoover's front yard makeover in the Virginia Highlands area. We were not only given a lovely plaque .... we were featured on this beautiful 2 page spread in the April 2013 issue of the magazine!

See more about this project!

Magazine article
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