Corner lot? Small space? Shade? Get ideas from this Ken-Ton gardener

garden on corner lot in Kenmore New York
With this corner lot, you see the gardens from many angles, and there’s something delightful no matter where you look. Julie Wood’s front garden is to the left and the side garden is to the right. The grayish turtle, which all the neighborhood kids love, hides her garden hose. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
coral bells in shade garden in Kenmore NY
Coral bells, also known as heuchera, add color to the garden with their foliage. The heuchera at top has leaves that are yellowish and pink, and it’s blooming with dainty flowers. Another heuchera has purple leaves. Two types of hosta also add color to this shady spot. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
ground covers in garden in Kenmore NY
Consider using attractive ground covers instead of mulch to cover soil in your garden. The short stature of a ground cover contrasts with taller flowers. Also notice the decorative stone around the succulent.

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Julie Wood liked the house on a corner lot, but the tiny front and side yards needed some TLC. There was an area that was supposed to be lawn, but grass couldn’t grow. And there were thorny bushes by the sidewalk.

“Why put thorny bushes there?” Wood wonders. “So people wouldn’t cut through the grass?”

The landscape has changed a lot since she and her husband Jason moved in about 10 years ago. She gave up trying to grow grass and instead cultivated gardens that are friendlier and more attractive.

Wood shared her gardens on the Ken-Ton Garden Tour in July.

One thing I noticed was her use of raised beds. Parts of the front garden are sectioned off at different heights. The side gardens are raised as well.

“I wanted them to have dimension,” Wood said.

She also has some tricky lighting conditions. Street trees cast shade on different parts of her gardens at different times of the day, but Wood doesn’t mind.

“Shady plants are fun, too,” she said. “It’s obvious I love coral bells.”

Coral bells, also known as heuchera, have leaves with interesting colors, have many varieties to choose from, are easy to grow and stay pretty through the winter.

Wood also likes ground covers because they help her perennials stand out better. The ground covers are full and look as if they have been in place for years, but she added many of them just this spring. She said she “jammed” them in.

I like the approach she took. When I tried using ground covers in my garden, I was stingy and spaced out the small pots of plants, hoping they would spread quickly. Unfortunately, the weeds were quicker and found the open spots before the ground covers could fill in.

Wood also noted that if her ground covers spread too much, she can always take some out and plant them elsewhere.

Wood surveyed her garden.

“It’s always changing, right?”

front garden in Kenmore New York
Julie Wood’s front garden has shrubs as well as perennials, annuals and ground covers. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
raised beds within garden in Kenmore New York
Raised beds within the front garden add interest by creating various heights. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
garden path in Kenmore NY
The side garden is wide enough that it needs a path for Julie Wood to have easy access to maintain the plants. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
garden along side of house in Kenmore NY
Julie Wood’s garden extends along the side of the house all the way to the side door. It stops to create an entrance, then continues along the short fence by the side door. A window box and hanging planters add to the charming view. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

3 Comments on “Corner lot? Small space? Shade? Get ideas from this Ken-Ton gardener

  1. It’s so nice to have the back story on Julie’s gardens…. I live a few streets over and often walk my goofy pitbull past her house **just** so that I can take in the details of her plants. I’m constantly struck by the continuous changes…whether it be from mother nature & more heat/more rain/less shade, etc. or Julie’s efforts – she surprises me constantly w/ the attention she puts into the hanging planters at her side door! Way to go Julie – even neighbor “strangers” take notice – just beautiful!! And, I’m hoping next spring to replicate a few of your examples in my yards on Parkwood as well!

  2. What beautiful gardens! I would love more information on what ground covers Julie uses… everything looks so full and lush.

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