Entrance Garden Before & After


Before… a blank canvas.

I love to see before and after pictures of gardens. It’s very inspiring to view the transformation of a space and what a difference plants can make. First, let me say that I am not a garden designer. I am a graphic designer/artist that looks at gardening a lot like painting. I am a plopper of plants… not a planner of plants. Horrors! I know. If a plant doesn’t work in a certain space I dig it up and plop it somewhere else. When I purchase plants I am thinking color, texture, scale, repetition… just like a painting or illustration. It is a very intuitive process. An experimentation of sorts.

In design school I had a Austrian professor who insisted that good design was like an English Garden- full of repetition, contrast, texture, shape and line. He also said “sink” instead of “think”. “I sink good design is like a beautiful English Gaw-den.” Think Schwarzenegger. Perhaps it was his “Terminator- like” accent that struck fear into me- but I’ve never forgotten his comparison of graphic design and gardening.

My gardens have evolved over the years. In the beginning all of my perennials were divisions or  transplants from my mother’s beautiful garden in Rochester, NY. Our home was built in the middle of a hay field with nary a tree within stones throw or shade’s distance. Talk about starting from scratch. I purchased this puny little weeping crab (Red Jade) that had maybe 5 branches on it from a local independent nursery. The owner of the nursery insisted that it would grow laterally- fill the space that I had designated for it. My thought… when eating in the dining room I did not want to look out and see the driveway or our company’s vehicles. As you will see boy did that little crabapple ever do its job! So much so that when the tree leafs out I can barely see the kids playing in the driveway or who just drove up. But… oh the view from inside! Flowers in the spring, a little shady spot in the summer and crabapples in the winter.

On with the pictures!


Skinny little weeping crab (Red Jade). Dining room inside triple window.


Before any hardscaping. Japanese Maple (Bloodgood) in foreground next to Sunset Rock- a boulder dug up during excavation… a perfect seat for watching the sunset.


Perennials filling in.


3 years later.


Small fountain surrounded by hosta and irises with bleeding heart in background and lady’s mantle in the foreground.


Finished fieldstone walkway. Farmboy and I made it from stone pulled from the fields before spring planting… took what seemed like an eternity to finish.


Plantings of lavender, lady’s mantle, boxwood, spirea, lupines and Americana rose on trellis.


Walkway lined with Royal Standard hosta on left and boxwood hedge to right.


View to the barns from the driveway over looking the entrance garden. Japanese Maple to the right. Daisies, lavender and astillbe in the foreground. Sunset Rock behind lavender blooms.

Thank you for taking the tour with me. I hope it provides inspiration!

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

wow what a transformation….looks like fun!

Wow…what a transformation. I love seeing before and after photos also. I’m a plopper of plants too even though I am a serious gardener. I do research how much room it needs and so forth, but I usually have so many plants to put in at one time, I get over welmed and then, plop they go…LOL.

TrackBack URI

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Hi, I'm Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed illustrations for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, aka Farmboy, my two children affectionately known as "La La" and "the Bean" and a small petting zoo of other family members.


Blogs I Enjoy



Upcoming Shows

Philadelphia Flower Show
PA Convention Center
March 5th-13th
Booth #Z-1002

Copy Protected

This blog and all of the creative elements ie., written content, illustrations and photographs are the sole property of Michelle Masters Studio and cannot be reproduced in any form without the artist's permission.