Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Apartment Garden Makeover January 3, 2010

Filed under: grasses,neighborhood gardens — greenwalks @ 10:10 am
Tags: , , ,

This small, formerly nondescript one-story brick apartment complex underwent a totally fab makeover since the last time I happened by it, including a pretty trendy-looking landscaping overhaul. I didn’t think I had a “before” picture, but then I remembered the marvels of Google Earth.

Have you seen one of the Google Priuses cruising by your house, photographing it for posterity? I have, and it’s kind of creepy. Then again, I enjoy going for virtual “walks” and checking out street gardens via this technology, so I guess I will have to make my peace with it. Still, it’s pretty Big Brother, no?

Anyway, back to the makeover! Here is the “before”:

Apartment building/garden "before" (by GoogleEarth)

Grass, concrete, and clipped box hedges. Yawn. Then, a year later, this!

Apartment garden makeover I

I imagine these look a little better in a month other than January, but you get the minimalist drift:

Apartment garden makeover III

Large poured concrete pavers and shiny black rock mulch, kind of a zen garden look:

Apartment garden makeover II

Love these green tufts but can’t recall their name:

Apartment garden makeover IV

Trust me, this look is completely novel for my rather traditional, Craftsman-home-favoring neighborhood. It’s not my style but I love it when people break the mold. I’ll be curious to see how it holds up. One question – how do they keep the “negative spaces” weed-free? Hope it’s not with Round-up!


13 Responses to “Apartment Garden Makeover”

  1. Grace Says:

    Hi Karen~~ So, it’s a Google Preius [?] that takes these photos? I was thinking it was some sort of invisible inverted submarine periscope. Now that would be weird. But I know what you mean about Big Brother. I live in a small enough community that said Preius crowd hasn’t ventured this far yet. I can be seen from the sky though and this is weird enough. But fun too. Our world is shrinking. … I know what you mean about the makeover. Although Zen isn’t my favorite, someone made a real effort here and deserves big time kudos. I think the green tufts are Lirope, or Lilyturf but I’m not positive. Could be a Carex species too I bet. Anyway, good eye, girl!! You know how to spot ’em.

  2. Catherine Says:

    It is kind of creepy finding those pictures on Google Earth, I always wonder when they take them and can usually figure out the year by the way the yard looked at the time.
    I think they did a really nice job on the landscaping, anytime someone takes the time to fix up their outside space makes the whole street look nicer. I wouldn’t really call it my style either, but it looks nice and clean and well maintained.

  3. Megan Says:

    Fantastic! I see places like the before pictures, I always think somebody ought to turn that place into the kind of it wants to be. I don’t think I personally have the restraint for a sleek modern style with a minimalist garden, but I appreciate it when I see it. All that bare ground though, that would never last for me.

  4. Bonnie Story Says:

    Hi Karen!! Is that green Mondo grass? Hopefully they covered the ground with landscaping fabric and then covered it to keep it weed-free. I agree that the soldiers-in-a-row look is not my cup of tea but bravo for getting something different done, and well done at that! I enjoy the golden tone on the brickwork and the orange doors, that’s a kick. I think these apartments will rent much faster and for mo’ money now. Looking shipshape!!!! Google Earth has little interest in our Toandos peninsula so far but it I really enjoy looking at it, especially shoreline details. The aerial pics of my area are all at least 7 years old. Someday we’ll be updated. Have a great day! Bonnie

  5. Deirdre Says:

    All those grasses will fill in and look less rigid in a few months. It’s not my style (my husband, the former architect, would love it), but it looks good, and suits the style of the building. I kind of wish they hadn’t painted the brick. I’m a fan of old brick.

  6. I love this! Looks like a spiffy paint job happened too. I wonder how much more the rent will be? (hehe). I love this style of planting and keep thinking someday I’ll go more that route. Maybe when we up and move south….

  7. Jane Says:

    Pretty nice makeover! I’m with Dierdre about the brick and although I would have liked to see it stay unpainted, I at least like the color they painted it.
    This seems like the perfect garden design for an apartment building where the occupants are likely to be uninterested in maintaining it, and the landlord wants to do as little as possible on a regular basis. I do like the linear elements. It will be interesting to see how the “lawn” fills in (or doesn’t) down the road a bit. Maybe you can do a followup post next year, Karen.

  8. Jen Says:

    Very nice, especially for the type of house it is. A funny Google Earth story: they photographed my sister in law coming out of her house with her 4 kids. Then, if you go down the block you see them waiting at the bus stop, then without kids walking around the corner to the store, etc. It followed her all morning! and yes she was a little creeped out by it.

  9. I like it! I think it looks very neat and orderly. It isn’t what I’d have for my yard because it wouldn’t fit the architecture, but I think it works very well with this house.

  10. rebecca Says:

    I agree, it improves the appearance of this formerly bare box.

  11. That rocks! What a fun redo…Kim

  12. Lorene Says:

    Tres Hip! You’ll have to show us pictures next summer as everything relaxes as bit and gets settled. one note: Don’t plant beneath those deep mid century eaves. Even in our rainy clime – nothing grows in that arid wasteland! Sorry, couldn’t help myself!

  13. Oh, no, what a horrible color they chose, I’ve always hated painted bricks, it looks always like they are smeared with the paint, so unnatural… A pretty funny planting, too; all these small plants forming straight lines. Maybe the people who did the this garden ‘makeover’ like all things military too…? I love modernist gardens, but this seems so restricted. By the way, I have to check how our garden looks at Google Earth, thanks for the idea, Karen!

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