Landscaping Progress + Plant Choices

The garage is pretty much done, we are waiting for two fire proof windows to be priced – a new law that came in effect in the past 6 months. So if you have a window that is attached to the garage or car port, you now need it to be fire proof which doesn’t open (we are OK with it since we have skylights that open like windows in the kitchen). Anyway, that doesn’t really hold up anything so we’re fine.

The garage door is installed, it’s painted black and we are thrilled with how it looks – and so are our neighbors! We are thankful for our contractor Jerrod of Hill Farm Design. It has been such a great experience working with him and his team. And if it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t have realized we need this flat roof design. I’ll get into that and why and how on another post.

flat roof garage idea - progress photos

I haven’t taken many photos beyond my iPhone photos because the landscaping is happening which means someone is here every day until sun down. That a progress to manage and correct, and also budget. There are so many parts to landscaping you need quotes for – cement removal, cement pouring, decisions along the way, cinder block, pavers, there is a lot of details to create a good landscape. I say get 2-3 quotes, to me, two is enough to compare before you realize time is ticking and you just can’t wait any longer.

It sure is wonderful to park in the garage and not be tandem. We don’t close the garage as often as we thought we would – sometimes we leave it open during the day. At night we close it but it’s nice to still have it open during the day when we’re in and out or doing yard work. We’re leaving the railing white, though Kami’s plans have it black and I did think it looked cool. I was in France when it was painted and Benjamin and I decided let’s go with white first and then decide. In my gut I felt like white would look better because it looks more like a little White House and doesn’t break up the design. Your eye goes to what is up top and I wanted it to feel light.

flat roof garage idea with railing, white fiber cement shingles

Landscape design was by Kami of K Design. Kami is best friends with my best friend’s other best friend. Haha you follow? She does mainly interior design but when I saw her work I just knew she understood good style and wouldn’t deliver a desert landscape for me – which is what I primarily saw everywhere online when researching landscape designers. I asked her for some examples of her work and she sent one over and I was like OK, we have to hire her.

I just wanted someone who understood good design and the look I was going for and I knew Kami understood that when I saw her portfolio. She is also so incredibly sweet. If you’re in the Phoenix area you should hire her. She primarily works in the West Valley like Verrado and Buckeye area but we were lucky to have her come to our Central Phoenix hood.

Once our renderings were done, I decided to take over the project by sourcing the workers to save money. It has not been easy but in the long run it’s what we had to do or else I’d be out of money and I really like staying within budget. We worked so hard and long to save up and I want our dollar to stretch.

I could have had Kami keep changing the renderings but that ends up costing a lot and honestly not necessary when you can visually change them as you work on them. The measurements are probably important but again, I’ve realized I’ve changed a little here and there.

We love Kami’s design and as we went along I had to modify a few things primarily due to budget and changing our minds on certain aspects like privacy. I mean if we could have done it exactly as Kami designed within our budget, we would. Until you find out how much iron gates are per linear foot and you realize you’ve already spent so much and you’re totally fine with a sold block wall and more privacy ;)

How about some before photos?


Ugh I look at these before photos and I’m like mortified. I loved the inside our home, the backyard and we just ignored the front knowing one day we might want to expand and had to plan it.

Eight years later here we are.


flat roof door garage door black railing wood old home idea expansionflat roof garage idea modern railing black garage door

The blue paint is gone and now our home is black, white and brick. Saying bye to the blue was bittersweet. I love blue, but wasn’t in love with that particular shade, and the cost of painting a home is pricey so I just lived with it. Finally with all this work I just said to Benjamin, it’s now or never, I just really want the photo studio white, please, and black shutters. I had been studying Pinterest online for a while and thought I’d mix in some dark green but then settled on black and white. And here we are!

I will also include renderings so you can see what it may eventually look like.

new garden area brick garden beds

^^ This path was a headache. Long story short, I had to have our guy redo the pavers because they were SO crooked and looked ridiculous I can’t even get into it but it’s fixed now and looks normal. Do you like the black pavers? Cool right? They also make black brick and I would have been happy with a herringbone pattern in black brick!

We are going to work on a custom wood door  – Jerrod also does great woodwork so we asked him to price it out for us. I am looking at designs similar to this – in white or black.

It’s 4 feet wide and it wasn’t easy to find a door online, even Home Depot was confusing because I wouldn’t know how to mount it to the cinderblock wall. The doors we saw that were available in stores looked like utility doors instead of something beautiful. I want a pretty door since it’s located close to the front our home. Iron isn’t really our thing with our English country style.

So next on the list –

  • Get quote from sprinkler guy for irrigation
  • Order and have dirt delivered for beds
  • Plant bulbs and bare root roses
  • Electrician to wire the post lights, once lights are delivered
  • Order and plant other landscape plants
  • Add more jasmine vine wall to garden area

The list is still long and there’s quite a bit to go, but it’s getting done!

I try to stay positive and joyful even when moments can be pretty tiresome, but that is the life of home renovations. Doesn’t change much just because it’s outside, haha! Only the noise stays outside.

Plant choices (so far)

Should we talk about plants since we’re on the topic of landscape design? Why not.

My goal is to stick with purple, white, pink florals, with a little yellow perhaps. I think those colors will be perfect and keep the house airy looking.

I am trying bulbs for the first time! I ordered a few from Eden Brothers


Poppy – Violetta Blush / Allium Bulbs (Giant) – Gladiator  / Tulip – Angelique

Allium (small) Roseum / Anemone Bulbs – De Caen White / Ranunculus Bulbs – Romantic Mix

These will pop up (hopefully) in spring and summer. I need to make a graphic so I know where I’m planting things and when to expect what to pop up! I’m so excited for this bulb journey and hope in Arizona we can actually successfully have them here, I’ll report back when it happens!

As for the rest of the landscaping, we’ll be adding boxwoods, lavender, iceberg roses and more roses. My order from David Austin Roses

Queen of Sweden

I ordered two of these Queen of Sweden rose bushes – they are upright! So lovely. I am not sure if two is enough but I think so, and they will go in the front of the house, close to the side gate area lining the driveway.

The front of the house will be iceberg roses in white which I hope to get from a local nursery. Haven’t decided where yet.

Now for the three tree roses!!!! Ahhhhh! I ordered three and they will go right outside my kitchen window.

Mary Rose Tree RoseSCEPTER’D ISLE tree rose / Olivia Rose Austin Tre Rose

Stay tuned on stories for every day updates on what’s going on with the house, we have so much to do!

Diana Elizabeth feels like managing the home is a full-time job. It truly is.

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.

1 Comment

  • Carmen

    Loving the reno! Your house already looks like a million bucks! Can’t wait to see once it’s fully finished and the beautiful flowers blooming – so many great choices!!


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