Tag Archives: garden designs

Island Garden Scapes will design your dream garden from your wishes and desires. Creating an outdoor space to your needs and your ideas to enhance your life.

Transforming a front garden space

In the fall of 2016 we worked with our garden owner Chrissy to transform her back yard.  Chrissy wanted a back yard oasis and we transformed her yard into exactly what she wanted.   She ask that we get in touch with her so we could do the same with her front yard in the spring.   So I designed a front yard design that would go with her house decor and extend her garden area to allow her more room to create what she wanted.  I went to work on the design as she required permission from the strata council.  I sent her the design and she presented it and it was accepted.  So here is what we did!

Before and design concept of area after.

Note: The existing garden in place is 12 feet in length and 40 inches from the front exterior of the garden to the foundation.  The concept for the new garden is to keep the existing back perimeter of the garden 12 inches from the foundation wall and extend the front garden out to a maximum of 54  inches and extend along the sidewalk 24 inches as the garden design is circular and will extend out in the centre further then the existing garden.  The front perimeter of the garden will be a rock wall defining it from the lawn area.  The front perimeter will be prepped by removal of a small amount of sod.  Landscape fabric will be placed under the stone to deter weed growth.  The rock wall will be approximately 8 inches high and will be placed approximately 4 inches back in order to add mulch in front of stones for ease of lawn cutting.  There is currently a hydrangea and several spring bulbs in the garden which will be left and some small shrubs and flowers added to the new garden.

*** The rock wall shown above is an example of what the design will look like.  The wall will not be exactly as shown.

The front garden area is now transformed and here is the new look!  I take my hat off to my son Tim who did a fantastic job…WOW what a transformation.  Here is to you Tim…Cheers!


My Garden Labyrinth

I have now lived in this location for 3 months.  I have spent countless hours researching, sketching and incorporating the numerous benefits in the yard. As I said in an earlier post, privacy is my biggest concern.

The back yard gets full sun throughout the year.  I know that the back lawn stays green most of the year from the gray water that feeds it daily.  It was important for me to incorporate a plan that would utilize this gray water in my  garden effectively and efficiently.  I am on town water so it is not an option to water my gardens all year with town water, not only the cost, but with the hot dry summers on Vancouver Island the watering bans start earlier every year.  Incidentally, I am a renter and my landlord has given me the green light to landscape the entire lot as I wish, so that is a bonus.

Each year I grow more of my own food and this garden should suffice in growing all of my own food.  So the plan had to address the privacy issues, create beauty,  utilize the gray water and produce enough food for six of us.  I am including my sons and grandchildren as it is of utmost importance to me for each of us to eat as much organic food as possible, while saving money!  Last year I grew about 60% of my food.  I canned and froze much of what we couldn’t eat fresh and have been eating it all year long.

Privacy Issues – The fence enclosing the yard will provide a backdrop for me to plant shrubs and bushes to allow the privacy I want, but will take time to grow and cover the fence.  The immediate concern was how to create a garden area throughout the back yard with fruits, vegetables and flowers that would be high enough to enclose the area for privacy.

I have always loved the idea of a labyrinth and decided this would meet all of the garden challenges.  Creating a labyrinth from raised garden beds would give me the height for privacy, allow the soil in the containers to draw the gray water from the ground and filter it before it hits the plant roots, create beauty in the garden, incorporate a patio area in the middle while creating a play space for my grandchildren as they love to be in the garden with me.

And so here is my Labyrinth garden plan!  I do know that is a preliminary plan.  The garden plan will evolve and change as it comes to life!





Designing a Xeriscape Boulevard

The garden owners would like a simple garden of trees planted in their boulevard.   After discussing with them what they would like, we came up with a list.

Please check Xeriscaping

  •  The trees must be dwarf trees so as not to overpower the area or block their ocean view.  Preferably under 15 feet maximum height at maturity & no more then 4 feet across in order to fit permanently on the boulevard.
  •  The trees must be able to survive our hot dry summers as they are too far from the    house to have a soaker hose reach.
  • They would prefer evergreen trees of some sort to minimize maintenance. (No leaf clean up) And no junipers as it would be more difficult to cut grass around low lying shrubs.
  • The trees must fit with the existing landscape and gardens.
  • A simple design is preferred.

I researched several dwarf trees:

Dwarf Alberta spruce, Mugo pines, Japanese white pines, Hinoki cypress

After some research I have decided on the “Alberta Dwarf Spruce”  it is a perfect combination of beauty and height for the location.  As I reserached the other choices, I eliminated each of the others due to height or width sizes.

The Dwarf Alberta Spruce is a perfect match here as it will only grow to a maximum of 10 to 12 feet high and 3 to 4 feet across, which is perfect for this location.  I designed the gardens and will create them this week.  Hopefully having it done by next Sunday.

Boulevard 3 -800x600Boulevard 2 800x584Mansbridge boulevardBefore design!

Copy of Mansbridge boulevard design 1Copy of Mansbridge boulevard design 3Copy of Mansbridge boulevard design 4This is the design that I will create.

There will be three Dwarf Alberta Spruces evenly spaced apart with rocks & boulders in between.  There will be a solid bed of wood chips and mulch straight across to ensure ease of grass cutting & less problems with weeds will make it less labour intensive.  By planting now during the spring rains and adding a deep layer of mulch and wood chips will help ensure the trees get plenty of moisture as they go through transplant shock and help for the tree to root properly before it is too hot and too dry.  The mulch and wood chips will be approximately 6 to 8 inches deep.  This also helps to keep the weeds down and adds curb appeal to the property.

A Gardener’s Paradise…cleaning a pond and water fall

pond garden1 pond garden 2

Pond Cleanuppond garden 3

Before clean up


pond garden 4pond garden 5

After Clean up!


I often call myself the extreme landscaper.  I love taking on BIG landscape or garden clean up jobs!  Not only because I love the challenge but because I am a visual person and love the garden restoration after it is complete!  The work is often tedious and painstaking and often times at the end of a work period it seems I have made no headway!  But then almost magically, the garden comes to life and is revitalized.  Many,  many times after a garden is complete and I download the final photos and compare them with the before photos…I am amazed and energized by the garden work I have completed!  This clean up was one such challenge.  The pond and walkway had been overgrown for some years and it often times seems endless as it was a very detailed labour intensive job.  I worked it that garden yesterday and walked the steps up past the pond and it has held up to the test of time.  I completed this job a few seasons ago and still it is clean and beautiful!  So very happy with the end result…and MOST importantly so are the Garden Owners! 🙂