Garden Photo of the Day

Building a Garden With Bas

Transforming a narrow garden space

another view of stepping stone path and surrounding plants

Today we’re off to Canada to visit with Bas Suharto.

I built this garden for Ms. Jeanette in Orleans, Ontario. It started July 5, 2023, from a simple sketch. I discussed with her and proposed the layout on the sketch. The garden is part of the back terrace and is 45 feet by 8 feet. At the very back of the property there is a 45-foot-long cedar hedge. The existing ground is clay soil.

garden layout sketch with list of plants

In searching for the plants at various places, sometimes I found more interesting ones to replace what I had proposed on the sketch, or some plants were not available at the local garden centers or nurseries, so I made some changes at the garden.

adding new garden soil and compost to garden bed full of weedsThis is the beginning of the work, day 1. I added garden soil and mushroom compost over the existing weedy clay. I avoid using harmful products to kill the weeds. One of Jeanette’s family members helped me deliver the soil and river stones to the front house.

newly planted garden bed with pink flowersThis is the first day of planting, when I put in boxwoods (Buxus sp., Zones 5–9), bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5–9), ‘Sum and Substance’ hostas (Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’, Zones 3–8), and some annual geraniums (Pelargonium hybrids, Zones 9–11 or as annuals).

garden bed with new small trees and shrubs added to frontJeanette likes the white flowers of daisies (Leucanthemum × superbum, Zones 5–9), so I planted a row of them along with two Snow Fountains weeping cherries (Prunus ‘Snofozam’, Zones 4–8) on the left side and two dwarf Korean lilac standards (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’, Zones 3–8).

close up of pink roses in the gardenAlong the border of the terrace, I planted hybrid roses ‘Grande Amore’ and ‘Peggy Rockeffeler’. They can grow in Zone 5a of Orleans, Ontario.

gravel pathway lined with bright green ornamental grassesI made a “river” of stones to bring rainwater from the roof to the fences and on to the municipal rain drainage. I then planted a row of Hakone grasses (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’, Zones 5–9) to grow over and hide the plastic edging along the side of the gravel.

stepping stone garden path next to lots of ornamental grassesNext, I installed concrete stepping stones, and along the right border I planted the ornamental grass Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ (Zones 3–9).

view of terrace garden from balconyIt took me 11 days to finish the garden. Here is a view of it from the balcony of the house.

close up of pink and red flowersPink anemone (Anemone hupehensis, Zones 4–8) and annual geraniums

close up of foliage plants in finished gardenA look at the finished product

another view of stepping stone path and surrounding plantsAnd looking down the length of the garden


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View Comments


  1. user-7821942 10/17/2023

    Beautiful garden! I very much appreciate your showing the start to finish process of this garden transformation. I love the gravel pathway with the stone stepping stones. I would love to see this garden in a year. Thanks for sharing.

  2. MohawkValley 10/18/2023

    No matter how small an area that one has to work with , with some imagination , planning and execution , it all comes together for a personal paradise . Next season , another idea or vision will come about and it's back to a small shovel and some more plants ... Peace from the Mohawk Valley in central New York .

  3. rosebudal 10/18/2023

    Beautiful! Great use of upright switchgrass.

  4. User avater
    simplesue 10/18/2023

    WOW! What a challenge that long narrow space with with municipal drainage area was.
    You did a fabulous job turning it into a beautiful and interesting focal point!
    You even got the row of privacy evergreens to merge naturally with the garden design- you did an amazing job!

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/18/2023

    If you type Bas Suharto in the search, you can find several other of Bas's submissions.
    Beautiful as usual, Bas.

  6. btucker9675 10/18/2023


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