Monday, July 30, 2012

Looking back to 2005


Tomorrow, July 31st, marks 8 years since I became an Oregonian. As it frequently goes when you’re moving, we finished packing and left Spokane much later than planned. This meant a drive through the Columbia River Gorge in the dark, a full moon lighting our way, not a bad way to make a life changing journey. Andrew drove ahead of me, a 26 ft U-Haul pulling his car which was chock-full of plants dug from my garden, I followed in my car. We lived almost a full year in a rental house while we got settled and found our home, which we moved into the end of June 2005.

This little trip down memory lane was spurred by a comment from Bom, The Plant Chaser who asked if I had any pictures of my garden from before I started to make it mine. Fortunately have this group of photos taken in May of 2005, during the home inspection prior to the closing. I’ve looked at them a few times over the years and even posted a weeklong series of “then and now” posts in October of 2009, but I’ve never attempted to replicate them, taking a shot from the same place at the same angle. Well, that is until now. Let’s compare 2005 to 2012! Above was our house as we found it, and here it is now…

Those will eagle eyes might notice one of the tall Fir trees behind the house is missing, that came down in 2007-ish as when the lot behind us sold and was divided into two smaller lots.

Walking into the back garden in 2005…

And in 2012…

Along the back of the house looking at the neighbors garage 2005…

2012

Looking at our garage in 2005 and more importantly at the time, the Hydrangea. I associated Hydrangeas with the huge one that grew outside my apartment in Seattle and was very excited to be getting one in my own garden.

And now…

Towards the southwest corner of the lot in 2005…

2012 (sorry about the sun spots)

What was a weedy lawn in 2005...

Is now our patio. The much loved (because we didn’t know at the time what a maintenance nightmare it can be) Laurel hedge-wall came out later that first summer, 2005. We thought it was on our property but it was actually on that of the neighbor behind us. She cut most of it out to build an ugly fence which, thankfully, you can’t even see now!

Looking to the northwest corner in 2005…

2012

Towards the back of the garage, 2005…

Same view, 2012. I would love to have a climber growing on the fence again but anytime something gets established the neighbors clean off their side and that’s the end of that.

Looking at the back of the house, 2005 (wouldn’t this have made a great outdoor movie screen?)…the Roses and Azaleas (up against the house) came out the first month.

2012

Standing in the lawn looking back towards the driveway we see the neighbor’s huge Photinia which completely concealed the side of their house in 2005.

2012 you definitely see their house…

Looking towards the back door, 2005.

When the Photinia came down there went the shade for the south side of our house. Left with a hot asphalt corridor I decided this was the perfect place to grow heat loving veggies.

So there you have it, I’m so glad I have these “before” pictures to look back on and I was quite shocked by the changes when I see them in this format. If you’ve got before photos of your garden I highly recommend this exercise, and if you're a garden blogger how about sharing with the rest of us?

83 comments:

  1. that's an amazing change!!!!! I love back patio area the very most! It's spiky plant central with all those pots. overall I'd say .... EPIC!!!!

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  2. What a transformation! I've seen bits and pieces as you've posted about them earlier, but this is completely mind-boggling. I love before-and-afters; it's easy to forget how much blood, sweat and tears go into a garden until you're confronted by an old "before" picture. Amazing job, Loree. As a fellow Portlander, I thank you for your part in greening your neighborhood.

    (And I may just follow your lead if I can find enough "before" pictures.)

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    1. Oh I hope you will Jane, I'd love to see how your garden has changed over the years! And I wonder if my neighbors agree with your "greening" assessment?

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  3. Oh it looks okay if you like that sort of thing.....LOL. Totally AMAZING, you and your hubby have done an outstanding job, you both should be very proud of what you have accomplished. I'm giving you a standing ovation and three snaps.

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    1. Three snaps!? Wow...I would have thought only two.

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  4. Amazing...looks absolutely gorgeous!

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  5. Whow!! impressive change... love the dark colour of the house and the new, graphic layout

    greetings

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    1. "graphic layout"...I love it! While I've never heard anyone say that before the term certainly does fit!

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  6. Incredible! Crazy how we think our gardens haven't really changed that much until we look at before pictures! I hope you are proud of the gorgeous transformation! Thanks also for the invitation to follow your lead. (That's a nice way of saying steal your post idea.)

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    1. Exactly! The way some of the bog things have grown to obscure the edges was really surprising to me, and it was a great reality check for how the front garden is looking.

      I hope you do steal my post idea!!

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  7. Gorgeous gardens! Seeing the before photos makes the difference quite stunning. The color of the house really sets off your designs and plants.

    I have several before and after posts and find the look back very encouraging.

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    1. I have to say I'm still in awe of your recent before and after with the Bismarckia nobilis!

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  8. What an amazing transformation, Loree! You put a lot of hard work into your garden, and it shows, in both the changes and in the infusing of your own personality into it. I do have before pictures, but we've only been here 3 years, so not much has changed in the front at least. And I am still changing and moving things around in the back. I already know what mistakes I made with the new back garden, even though I put a lot of thought and careful planning into it.

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    1. Mistakes? No! Opportunities for change...and new plants!?

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  9. That's amazing. The only thing I prefered from 'before' was the front door. The patio and plants are so beautiful. You have done so well.

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    1. Uhm...but you can't even see the front door in the before because it was open (it was grey...you can see the glass security door which is still in use). Seriously though I know the green isn't for everyone. We love it, especially because it is open so much and the color really livens up the living/dining room area when it is.

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  10. What super 'before and after' pics and what a transformation you have made - wonderful!

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  11. Oh my word! Next time you are in Florida, drop on by I have a large yard you can transform!!

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    1. From what I've seen you're doing just fine on your own!

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  12. I quite enjoyed this post! When we built our house it was just a turfed yard - so while the before and after is massive, it's not nearly as interesting as seeing what you did with someone else's space. I have a friend that just bought a used house near me, so I am excited to get my hands on that garden!

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    1. And I bet they are feeling fortunate that they've got you!

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  13. Very nice tour...Have you ever looked at your street view on Google Maps. That can be enlightening. I'm in process trying to dig through my backup drive on my old pc to pull out some before photos. Question. How deep is the foundation on the retaining wall near the garage?

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    1. Funny you mention that as I recently did look and saw they had a new image up. The old one was from quite a while back during a very hot summer and the neighborhood looked horrible (golden lawn, dead plants). The new one appears to be about a year old and much greener!

      Foundation...I'd say about a foot, maybe a foot and a half...I should have asked my husband for a more accurate answer sorry!

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  14. LOVE IT!! The house (and neighborhood!) are so lucky to have you!!!

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    1. Thank you Lauren, and likewise. I wish you were my neighbor!

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  15. I love before and after photos. It is rare to seem them which such a large gap to see the true effect. All looks amazing. I'll have to do the same with my move.

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  16. How wonderful, what a fabulous transformation. Love all the square pavers that look so good with all spiky plants.

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    1. Thanks Deanne...I hadn't really thought if the contrast between those elements but you're right!

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  17. Viva la difference!!!!.......do you still have the chimera?

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    1. No actually that wasn't ours. Everything you see in these pictures (containers, etc) were the previous owners.

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  18. Fantastic, Loree, and I LOVE the front door color, esp. set off against the chocolate-colored siding. Seven years of garden making makes for a very striking before-and-after series. I've done a couple before-and-afters since I moved into the new house, but 3 years of work just doesn't give quite the impact. ;-) I may do another this fall though. You've inspired me.

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    1. Yay! I can't wait to see your comparisons!

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  19. And in another 7 years you'll post the 2012 photos compared to 2019's and you'll think "wow, things sure have come along since then". :-)

    Okay, now I'll have to do these comparison shots. I've got all of the old ones, but standing in the same place today might be tricky for some of the "now" images. Plus it means I'd have to clean up the driveway a bit... ;-)

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    1. Ya think? I wonder...will we still be here in 7 years? We have no plans to go anywhere but sometimes life has a way of mixing things up.

      Please do it! Even if you don't clean the driveway first!

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  20. Wow...I echo the above...I've seen a few of these in before/afters of yours...but seeing them all at once is staggering! Honestly, it's amazing how much better EVERYTHING looks now. The patio area, especially is so dramatic!

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  21. Now that is some transformation! Normally I always try to take pictures of something before a big change. It's so much fun to look at them later. Nice job!

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    1. And digital cameras make it so easy now don't they?

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  22. I love this post - I just moved into a house on Halloween last year, and the yard was a desert (not in a good way!). I took lots of pics and I've been working a lot, but I know it's a process that takes years. These before and afters get me excited that someday my yard will look great!

    Also - I love your blog in general, and I just wanted to say that today I went to the Huntingdon and spent the whole day checking out the gardens (had to visit the desert garden twice!). It was my gift to myself after finally finishing my dissertation and sending it off last week, so I want to thank you for posting about it and getting me all excited about it. My husband has taken to calling our yard a Danger Garden because I, too, love spiky dangerous things in plants.

    http://toughkittypuffs.blogspot.com

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    1. You're yard is already looking great! (just popped over to your blog). So happy to hear you made it to the Huntington! So you love spiky but not cactus?

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  23. Loree, wonderful post! It's amazing what a little time can do to a place. Your yard is worthy of a Sunset feature!

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  24. WOW x infinity. That pretty much covers it!

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    1. Uhm ya, those are pretty big words Mr. Keys.

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  25. Wow, the back yard looks so much bigger in the after picture (which is shocking since it seems like it has 600x as many plants!)

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    1. Oh yes, at least 600! The Laurel was taking up a lot of space, I think it basically ended where the patio starts now...and I do think the fact that you can't see where the house and ground meet plays a bit of a visual trick on the eye.

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    1. I'll just go ahead and let the "P" word stand and not tell you about all the things you didn't see in the pictures.

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  27. This was awesome! I love before and afters and your afters are so freaking beautiful. I hope others follow your lead!

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    1. I hope so too...and thank you for doing so already! You're fast!

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  28. And a discerning gardener moves in...Wow Loree, what a transformation from before!

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    1. Looking back I feel bad that we just put the roses, daisies, azalea and ferns in the yard waste container. We should have but them on craigslist for free!

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  29. Amazing, this transformation! I love Danger Garden. Every post has my interest. Thanks.

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  30. Bless you for this post! I've needed a little extra inspiration with the hellish summer we're having and that I need to sit back and be a little more patient.

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    1. Patience is the hardest thing...lord knows I've got very little of it.

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  31. What a beautiful yard! I love your work and your eye for pairing plants. I've been following you a couple of weeks, but I need to spend some time getting to know your blog...so many questions. As far as natural light, does the front of your house face east?

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    1. Oh I'm so glad you commented so I could find another Portlander! The front of our house does face east...good call. Please feel free to ask questions...my email is on my profile page.

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  32. Great transformation Loree!

    I am so pleased that I have some shots of my back garden before the transformation started. Unfortunately I do not have any of the front.

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    1. Thanks Adam...how come no front yard pics?

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    2. Good question Loree and to be honest I don't know why!

      The back garden was just dirt and I took the pictures as the guys were doing the hard landscaping and initial planting. The front garden had some minimal "new house build" planting and the only thing that was initially done was putting a hedge out there.

      I have planted more out there and put in larger borders (reduced the size of the lawn much to my wife's annoyance, ha ha!) and I did take some photos then, so I guess that I have some shots.

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  33. Wow. Stunning transformation. You have such a great eye - I know it took real vision and inspiration to make the house and garden yours. Thanks for sharing the before and after - that's such a fascinating process for fellow gardeners.

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    1. Hi Diana, thanks for stopping by!

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  34. thanks for sharing.

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  35. This is something I was thinking about recently when I came across the real estate listing photos of my house in my web favorites folder. I can't believe I did not take a more complete set of photos--I guess I was just so eager to get started!
    Great post idea, one I hope to get around to replicating soon. It is difficult to use the word "after" since my garden is a constant work in progress, but it has definitely come a long way. Your garden is really inspiring and offers superb examples of how to create privacy.

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    1. I agree entirely, a garden is always a work in progress, so think if the "afters" as after you've finished another chapter!

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  36. When you first saw your house, did you envision all this potential, or did it simply evolve over time? I will never look at a little house on a boring lot in the same way. *clink* Salud!

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    1. Great question ricki! We looked at so so so many houses, a couple with great garden potential that we wanted but couldn't afford, and a couple that we were outbid on (2005, almost at the top of the bubble, offers made an hour after the listing went up, usually for tens of thousands more than asking). But mostly we saw ones that I just didn't click with. I knew this was the one immediately. When I pulled up and saw the park at the end of the street that felt like home (my house in Spokane had that as well). I liked that the front yard was small, it's a waste to have a lot of real estate out there! Then when I walked into the back yard and saw that it was deep, private, and two levels...yes right then I knew it was someplace with a lot of potential and where I could be very happy. Most of the backyards we looked at were open squares with no personality. This one had personality. Andrew is the one that had the vision for the patio, I would have never dreamed we could pull off such a thing ourselves. But it did evolve over time, I'm not organized or talented enough to have went at it will any sort of master plan!

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  37. Where can I find me one of those magic mirrors Loree? All kidding aside, you are to be congratulated for having a dream and following through with what can only be described as true green passion. The results have been nothing less than stunning and trust me when I say, your blog has been the inspiration for many other gardeners to try something totally new and unexpected. My Agave, 'Dangerous Loree' as she has been dubbed continues to bring unlimited joy every morning and night when I traverse to and from work!

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    1. Thank you Barry, and it makes me so happy that you've got an agave of your own!

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  38. I really enjoy this before and after stuff,it's so inspiring to see someones vision realized. I looked back through my photo files and might except your challenge this weekend when I have time to take the current shots.Even though my garden always looks like crap in August !

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    1. I hope you do! I would love to see a before and after from your place. BTW I don't know if you'll see this but I am still reading and enjoying your blog. I don't comment anymore because the new design won't let me. I don't understand why but I can't comment from the iPad or the laptop. Grrr...

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  39. How beautiful. Now I really need to come and see it!

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    1. Thank you Nicole, you do! It's too bad you couldn't make it over last Saturday, but then again...it was HOT! Better to come over when you don't have to dart for the shade.

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  40. So inspiring! I wonder how the design came about. Did you have a plan from the beginning or was it more a slow evolution? Every little corner and nook and cranny is a work of art but there is a cohesive design and flow to the entire place.

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    1. Thank you! No plan...it's really just been a case of my evolving style and needing a place to put my plants!

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  41. You have a magnificent garden, all I can do is envy :) could you tell me the name of the large tree next to your patio? I'm searching quite a while for a tree that's not sooverwhelming in my tiny garden. Thank you for entertaining me al morning!

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    1. Thank you Elvie! The tree is a Magnolia macrophylla...I love it!

      http://plantlust.com/plants/magnolia-macrophylla/

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  42. Absolutely gorgeous! You really have such a good eye for combinations, seating areas and your plants all look happy and healthy. I adore your succulents/cacti and tropical mix with the usual more common plants.

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