WHO’S BEHIND DOOR #2? by Faith Michaels

Our client lives in a two family condo and though condo #1’s front door is clear, her condo was hidden off to the left side. She needed some curb appeal and a new walkway that designated the second residence. First order of business was to take out some old tired plantings and sick trees. Then, we built two new walkways and added colorful plantings to help define the two separate residences.

IMG_3790.jpg
IMG_1168.jpg

We added a trash barrel area and a big landing for strollers and Bikes.

IMG_4512.jpg
IMG_4514.jpg

A beautiful birch tree now defines the garden space and will bring vertical interest throughout the year.

IMG_4518.jpg

A limelight hydrangea greets our client at the door and helps to hide those ugly bins!

IMG_4523.jpg

A whole new experience to come home to and lots of nice compliments from all the neighbors!

Thanks FF Crew ( Lorena, Tiatyra and Jared )for all your hard work on this one!

Can't See The Forest For the Trees (or anything else)! by Faith Michaels

When I first met with my Newton clients, they knew for sure they wanted to take down the trees in their backyard. The tiny trees that had been planted years ago had grown and overwhelmed their home and backyard. They threw down an abundance of sap on the terrace and outdoor furniture, and created a gloomy and dark atmosphere. Though I hate to take down trees, these were more appropriate for a large forested lot. Take a look at how we transformed the space to a bright garden full of light.

IMG_5112.jpg

Pink azaleas, purple catmint, and liriope fill in below the tree form hydrangeas.

IMG_3726.jpg

We spruced up this drab entrance by resetting the stepping stones, adding a few hostas and flanking the terrace with limelight hydrangeas.

IMG_5113.jpg
IMG_3705.jpg

We pulled out dead plant material and added a swath of annabelle hydrangea against the brick. Next year, white puffy blooms will be popping all summer long. The new grass adds a lush color.

IMG_0248.jpg
IMG_3708.jpg

At the exit to the garden, we planted Leucothoe to add green all season long. A colorful PJM will eventually grow to the window to be enjoyed from inside.

IMG_5110.jpg
IMG_3711.jpg

The back door got a quick makeover with seasonal containers, a limelight and a PJM guarding the exit.

IMG_5114.jpg
IMG_3706.jpg
IMG_3715.jpg

A venus dogwood, sweetspire, catmint, and knockout roses love this newly light filled garden!

IMG_2710.jpg
IMG_3701.jpg
IMG_3724.jpg

I'M SCARED! by Faith Michaels

Sometimes when I go back to a client’s landscape after a few years, I’m scared to open the gate! Did the client water enough? Are the plants ok? How did the landscape age? I’m always relieved to walk into the garden and see everything flourishing as planned. Last weekend I stopped in at the Wellesley English garden, (featured on this site) to see how it is doing a year later. WOWZA! This garden is on steroids! It helps that the owner is a wonderful gardener herself. Please enjoy her beautiful photos.

BEFORE THE WORK.

BEFORE THE WORK.


DSC_1087z.jpg
61940473_10156537692298049_6415084602095828992_n 2.jpg
IMG_6620.jpeg
IMG_6607 2.jpeg
IMG_6453.jpeg
IMG_6443.jpeg
IMG_6597.jpeg
IMG_6325.jpeg
IMG_6372.jpeg
IMG_6601.jpeg

Decked- OUT! by Faith Michaels

IMG_4409.jpg

When I first visited this property on a cool fall day, I was surprised by the deep lush backyard this JP property had to offer. Unfortunately, an old deck imprisoned the back of the house and cut off the home from its natural surroundings. My client was surprised and then excited when I suggested taking down the deck to have the new entertaining space right off the house. We got to work this summer to make the space a natural family sanctuary.

We installed long granite stairs at both doors to access the new bluestone terrace. Oversized containers with lush hydrangeas flank the french doors. Our favorite outdoor furniture vendor, Didricks, provided a modern, stylish, and comfy dining set. One more chaise lounge to relax and read a book will make the space complete!

IMG_3440.jpg
IMG_3442.jpg

Thank you FF Team for the property clean up and restoration. Kudos To Team Netto for their beautiful masonry and attention to detail.

Curb Appeal 101 by Faith Michaels

Ever wonder how to add some curb appeal to your front yard? Here’s a good example of how to update a property. The long hedge boxes in the yard, the foundation plantings need some attention and the the old 1960’s walkway definitely needs some love.

streetview.jpg
IMG_4240.jpg

We modernized the landing and walkway with the clean look of bluestone.

IMG_4490.jpg
IMG_2878.jpg

Next, we took down the old hedge and returned much of the lawn to grass. Using some of our clients plantings and adding some fresh colors, we cut out a pretty garden at the curb. Hydrangea, lilies, iris, catmint and coneflowers greet the neighborhood.

IMG_3238.jpg

A Circular Story by Faith Michaels

When I first visited this property, I was struck by how beautifully the inside of the home had been furnished. The decor truly reflected the cool, modern vibe of my client’s aesthetic. While they had concentrated on making the inside and backyard stunning, the front was still waiting for its turn. These things take time. They were now ready to come home to a symphony of color and our job was to make it happen.

IMG_9220.jpg

The home had two old paver walkways. The first thing we did was to take them out, add one big bluestone walkway, and repair the broken landing and step.

The old walkway…

The old walkway…

IMG_3201.jpg

The center circle was unbalanced. The large pine, dwarf yew, and dogwood were fighting for space. The house number was tacked to a misshaped stone . We knew this could all be remedied with a little elbow grease and some new plantings.

IMG_9217.jpg
IMG_3193.jpg
IMG_3191.jpg

We picked out the perfect boulder and added an engraved numeral. By transplanting existing material and adding a soft hill of rhododendrons, we balanced out the circle. A swath of shasta daisies, catmint and grasses now greets the homeowners at the driveway edge. Red and pink astilbes add a pop of color in the interior.

IMG_3203.jpg

The new front gardens are filled with colorful plant material that will fill in and bloom from the spring through the summer. We dedicated the garden to the right of the mudroom to roses and lupine. Lacy quickfire hydrangeas greet visitors at the front door. We added six mature trees to the property as well as azaleas, coneflowers, phlox, penstemon, itea, twist and shout hydrangeas, and Dragon Lady ilex.

IMG_3210.jpg
IMG_3211.jpg
IMG_3213.jpg

Thanks to Lucas and Luis who restored the landing and built the new walkway and Antonio Pesce/Architect. Thank you to my team of women(Lorena, Tia and Jane) who literally moved boulders to make it all happen!

A Chestnut Hill Puzzle by Faith Michaels

IMG_1744.jpg

Our first visit to the site was a bit of a puzzle. What to do with this rather blank canvas? The clients needed more entertaining space, a grill landing and a cozy couch area. Landscape architect, Steve Woods designed a space that fits together just like a puzzle.

IMG_2653.jpg

We built a beautiful mahogany deck at the far end of the bluestone masonry. Tucked into the wood and stone, is a custom steel corten box filled with grasses, catmint and coneflowers just waiting to pop with color!

IMG_2655.jpg

Oversized mahogany plant containers hide window wells and bring the garden right into the space. The home awaits a new coat of paint, some comfy deck furniture and some great entertaining.

IMG_2665 2.jpg
IMG_2660.jpg

Thank you to the Faithful Flowers crew, masons, Luiz and Lucas Netto, carpenter, Mike Souza and LA, Steve Woods, and Artist Adam Cowell who made the incredible corten planter!

Chestnut Hill Makeover by Faith Michaels

IMG_1764.jpg

We came to this house with grand ideas of a new fab terrace, firepit, walkway, driveway, deck and lighting! This glorious old Chestnut Hill home has great bones but needs a big update for a new, young family. The owners loved our ideas, but wanted to proceed slowly. Breaking a large project into sizable bites is a great way to go. The more time I spend on a property, I see how a family uses their landscape. We installed a beautiful meandering bluestone and granite pathway and brightened up the doorway with new plantings. Now on to phase two!

IMG_4353.jpg


Let it Flow... by Faith Michaels

We took over this property from a "sister" company. They did a beautiful job on the hardscape and custom fountain. We added a lot of plantings to bump up the seasonal color and "secret garden" feel.

The Needham Nest by Faith Michaels

IMG_7996.jpg

Last year I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful Needham family. The front of the house was lacking in pizazz and Faithful Flowers has a few ideas to bump up the curb appeal.

IMG_3561.jpg

We built these cute little cheek walls with recessed lights to add some depth to the yard and light the steps at night. Then, we added new plantings including spirea, roses, hydrangea, catmint and shasta daisies for spring, summer and fall blooms. Now this property blooms all season long!  We also took down a large storm damaged maple and replaced it with three birches that hug the corner of the lot and are beautifully lit up at night. Stay tuned for the backyard makeover later this month!

IMG_3570.jpg
IMG_3563.jpg
IMG_3574 3.jpg
IMG_3578.JPG

The Drive By! by Faith Michaels

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to work with a fabulous Brookline designer. Her interior design and landscape won a Boston Home 10th Anniversary award. I hopped out of my truck today to shoot a few photos of how beautifully her garden has grown. It's always great to collaborate with a client with an eye for design!

IMG_2938.jpg
IMG_2936.jpg

This is the front before we  restored the stately entrance. We took our cues from old photos.

IMG_2354.jpg
IMG_2934 2.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 8.04.12 PM.png

Buddha's Delight by Faith Michaels

Linden Street is a little slice of heaven, tucked away behind Brookline Village. Take a walk though this darling neighborhood and step back in time. Our client asked us to create an oasis out of a muddy shaded backyard that was seldom used.

image.png

We cleaned the old bluestone, took it up, regraded and installed a new footing and relayed it.  Then we added a cobble edge to the new plant bed at the fence line and filled it with climbing Hydrangea, Green Spire and Carex grass. We gave the Buddha a sacred spot in a peastone garden complete with Hosta, Bamboo, Aruncus and Tiarella.

IMG_2395.jpg
image.png

Stepping stones helped define the shade garden, buffered by plantings of Hosta, Hay Scented Fern, Annabelle hydrangea, Azalea, Bleeding Heart and Astilbe, Solomon Seal and Blue Hydrangea.

The Buddha is pleased and so is the client.

IMG_2393.jpg

THE FIRE DRILL by Faith Michaels

 

This beautiful victorian needed to be ready to hit the market and fast! Here's how we gussied her up in only two days...

IMG_0116.jpg

 

While the interior of the home was perfection, the exterior needed some big help. We started by replacing the cement walkway with bluestone. Next we redid the foundation plantings and added welcoming front porch containers.

22_Toxteth-Street__22ToxtethStExterior_800-M.jpg
IMG_1630 2.jpg
IMG_1958.jpg

The backyard was the real challenge-we transpformed the mudpit into livable space by repurposing existing stone into a small terrace. Next we added a firepit, stepping stones and blooming forsythia. The outside of the home is now as beautiful as the inside-who could resist? The home was under agreement in a flash!

IMG_0112.jpg
IMG_1637.jpg
22_Toxteth-Street__22ToxtethStYard_800-M.jpg

 

 

 

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? by Faith Michaels

picture-uh=e668e5f97f1e79ee9886a69e6bf82cb-ps=4ee7b37493bb3648f8c828e684735a-89-Aspinwall-Ave-Brookline-MA-02446.jpg

                                                Here is the before photo in 2013.

I stopped by a busy intersection in Brookline where I had installed a garden several years ago. The goal was to create somewhat of a buffer between the house and the street and to hide a secret garden for a small child to explore.  I was curious as to how the garden held up and if the objective was met. A successful garden should look great as it is planted but also needs to go the distance. What do you think?

IMG_4343.jpg

2017

 

 

No one gave this cape a second look until... by Faith Michaels

This cute Brookline cape was hidden behind an old privet hedge, tired foundation plantings and an ugly walkway.

Faithful Flowers lightened up the look by removing the privet and adding a handsome iron fence. We installed a bluestone walkway to match the existing steps and year round blooming foundation plantings.  Welcome home!!!!

This Terrace is for Turkeys...REALLY!!! by Faith Michaels

My longtime customers sold their large beautiful home and downsized to a historic condo. They had a small space in the backyard dedicated to a terrace area.  Unfortunately, it looked like this...a sad slab of concrete. Not an appealing area to relax after a long day at work.

The first thing we did was to create an inspirational drawing that enlarged the entertaining space and ringed the terrace with plantings to create the effect of being inside the garden.

Given the green light, we demolished the old concrete slab and installed Unilock pavers to keep costs down and to match existing onsite pavers.

The result, a quiet retreat hugged by hydrangea, shasta daisies, sedum, catmint, grasses and knockout roses.  Something is blooming all year long!  The turkeys challenged our photographer Peggy Stander for territory!

Now you know why this terrace is really for turkeys!

 

 

 

SPRING AWAKENING by Faith Michaels

Faithful Flowers displays work year round in center court at the Mall at Chestnut Hill, but spring is always a special time. This season, I teamed up with Ken Dietz, principal of the interior design firm  Dietz and Associates (http://www.dietzandassociates.com). Ken and I often collaborate as he designs fresh and modern interiors which I translate outside into the landscape and natural world. I have been thinking about the young contemporary artist, Juan Travieso (juantravieso.format.com) whose work reflects his environmental concerns.  I am quite taken with his paintings of deconstructed birds and apparently so are many collectors and museums.

Endangered Bird #116 Juan Travieso

Endangered Bird #116 Juan Travieso

 

I suggested to Ken, that I would like to include Juan's work in the project. With that in mind, Ken and I created an installation featuring Juan's birds combined with elements of an awakening spring New England landscape.  See how we took the plan from start to finish.  Thank you Juan for sharing your work and Ken for your impeccable design and eye!

JEALOUS OF MY OWN CLIENT! by Faith Michaels

When we finished building fashion designer Sarah Campbell's firepit, I felt a strange thing....I was jealous of the beautiful intimate space we had created in her new garden.  Why couldn't I have something like that?  My backyard was a true testament to the "cobbler's children who have no shoes" story.  It was ugly and embarrassing. We all work so hard March through November that there is no time to spruce up our own landscape. I decided at that moment to make the time, and with the help of my fabulous crew and input from my good friend Ken Dietz of Dietz Associates, my own backyard dream came true!

Sky Pencils surround the peastone and cobble interior. They will soon hide the space and create a new room in my small backyard. The bluestone cap is perfect to place a drink or to put your feet up!

Room and Board folding oversized folding chairs are great for relaxing in.  

A hidden fountain provides a soothing sound.  Hydrangeas, a Japanese Maple and a spectacular  variegated weeping dogwood give me plenty to meditate on while I enjoy a cold glass of wine after a long, hot day of work.

I always wanted a cutting garden, so I added one next to the fence. Eric helped me remove a huge old stump that had impeded anything growing there! Now I can enjoy my flowers inside and out!

Thanks to the best masons in the world-Luiz and Lucas Netto.  Crew chief Brandy Mirth and the crew... Eric Joy, Neil Demarco, Max Doyle and Tayler Stander.

Photos courtesy of Peggy Stander

 

 

AND THE NEIGHBORS THANKED US... by Faith Michaels

The condo owners had their garden destroyed when important repairs were made to the building. It's a busy intersection in Brookline and a very visible one. Over a year passed before the garden could be restored and the neighbors were delighted.  Every day the Faithful Flowers team was on site, we were showered with compliments!

We added a Venus Dogwood for the whole neighborhood to enjoy while providing a privacy screen for the owners with spring blooming Forsythia.  The air conditioning units will soon be invisible thanks to fast growing sun loving grasses and non-deciduous Andromeda. We perked us both entrances to make coming home each day feel great.  Here are plenty of before and afters to see the big change to the neighborhood!