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By Jennifer Silver. Photos and images, JMMDS.

Last year JMMDS launched our Home Outside online landscape design service. We have been eager to share before & after shots of our projects, but in the case of an online service, where most clients do the installation themselves, we have to wait until the homeowners are ready to share images of their completed projects. So we sat on the edge of our seats, nibbled our fingernails, and bided our time…until now!

We just received these photos of a Home Outside project from start to fabulous finish, and we’re thrilled to share them with you. (Click any photo to view a slideshow of all images.)

The Home Outside service, which is based on Julie’s award-winning book Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love, walks homeowners through the process of measuring and drawing their property, describing their hopes and goals for the space, and identifying their design personality and aesthetic preferences.

The homeowners described their “wide bowling alley of a yard” as featureless, unappealing, and uninviting. It didn’t match the warmth of the house’s interior, and it certainly didn’t draw anyone outside.

This is the drawing of the property submitted by the homeowners, along with some “before” photos of the property:

Although it is a small, narrow lot, the homeowners had an ambitious list of programming requests for the space: growing flowers, vegetables, and herbs; children’s play spaces and hiding places; a hammock and other spots for relaxation and reading; outdoor dining and entertaining; sunbathing and stargazing; creating privacy and screening certain views; and providing a welcoming entrance for the psychotherapy cottage behind the house.

The homeowners love color and whimsy and wanted to extend the feeling of their warm, happy home into their yard. Both embraced the concept of open-air rooms, defined by outbuildings, fences, and planting beds. They also shared a preference for curving lines in the landscape. (For more information on these and other design concepts, see Home Outside, Chapter 3).

Here are the two designs created for these homeowners by JMMDS designers:

The homeowners loved the designs and requested a hybrid plan that combined their favorite features of both.


As soon as they received their final design, although it was late autumn, they went to work preparing the space for the work they would do in the spring.

With some supportive hugs and encouragement, they installed the white picket fencing that delineates the garden rooms.


They laid out a hose in the shape of the garden beds and adjusted it until the curves were just right, then used orange landscape paint to mark the edges.


With shovel and muscle, they cut deep edges around the garden beds, forming a “pool of space” in the center of the yard. Then they layered on newspapers, compost, leaves, and hay (the “lasagna method“) to prevent weeds and improve the soil quality over the winter, with a minimum of hard labor.



At the homeowners’ request, JMMDS provided this partial planting plan (an additional service) to indicate varieties and locations of small trees and shrubs, which went into the ground in early spring.

Over the next few weeks, the owners filled the planting beds with perennials and some colorful annuals, as well as birdhouses, sculptures, and other whimsical objets. They also transformed the sad, neglected psychotherapy cottage into a welcoming destination with fresh paint, cheerful plantings, and an inviting entrance.


The owners’ negative feelings about their landscape were completely transformed into pride and pleasure in this “magical, happy space.”  The children love their new yard.



Just nine months after beginning the Home Outside process, the homeowners held a party for family and friends in the new home outside they had created…



Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Carol Wood says:

    Awesome and so inspiring!

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks, Carol! It is inspiring…such a transformation in a short time!

  • Velma Cross says:

    An absolutely astounding transformation- I can hardly wait to see it through the seasons and in person this fall! It’s magical in more ways than one. Of course there’s the glorious beauty of the garden itself, but add to that the miracle of planning and execution in one year( I think maybe even less) ..well I rest my case!
    Good job!

  • Deb Hudson says:

    I love the curved lines and the red bench — you’ve created a very enchanting garden out of an ordinary backyard. Beautiful!

  • Mary Ellen Cook says:

    I have lived next door to this transformed yard. It has been inspiring from the design through the execution in a short period of time. Job well done!

  • Thank you all for your lovely comments. We are so thrilled to see how well our online design process can work, thanks in no small part to the energy and creativity of such a motivated client and her fun-loving family!