Black and White Garden

Black and White Garden -an old garden is refreshed with a new pea gravel seating area, and lots of black and white accessories and plants, including a garden of all white plants.

Black and White Garden -an old garden is refreshed with a new pea gravel seating area, and lots of black and white accessories and plants, including a garden of all white plants.

This black and white garden refresh was a labour of love.  It was over grown, and needed attention.  

The Old Garden

About eight years ago now -boy time flies, we did some work on our backyard.  The kids were little and we decided it was worth spending what we might have spent for a nice one week vacation on the backyard instead, since we could use it everyday.  We had a beautiful pergola built with a patio underneath of it for a dining area.  We also re-did our deck railing and added wide stairs to open the whole deck up more and connect it with the rest of the backyard.  And in the space between the pergola, the deck, the house, and the fence I created my white garden.  It almost feels like a little courtyard.

All White Garden

When I created the white garden I got the idea -I don’t even remember where, that it would be fun to create a garden that was all one colour and I choose white.  Sometimes they were called moon gardens because the light of the moon could reflect off of the white flowers at night.  It really was a favourite space of mine.  And when my girls were little, I spent many nap times out there on my own weeding and puttering with the baby monitor in hand.  The other side of the yard was their play space with play houses, swings and a play structure, sand box, and kiddie pools in the summer, but the white garden was my little spot.

The Pathways

For the bones of the white garden I create two intersecting paths.  One connected the pergola with the back gate, and the other intersected it.  The paths created four quadrants and I filled them with perennial white flowers.

Over the years though, one of the paths had become quite over grown.

relaying flagstone garden paths

over grown garden pathsUnfortunately I laid the one path of large flagstones surrounded by small river rocks without any weed barrier underneath.  Shortly after laying it, I realized the mistake I’d made and thought someday I’d have to fix it.  Over the years, this path has required a lot of weeding.  Also over time the river rocks had worked their way into the soil and were mostly buried in the dirt.  

As well, everything in the garden has grown tremendously.  Somethings have flourish… ie started to take over, and others have died out.  Everything was just looking a little tired.  And since I haven’t puttered away during nap time for quite some years (my girls are now 11 and 13) the whole area just needed some attention.

refreshing an old garden

The Black and White Garden Refresh

This spring my oldest daughter’s Mother’s Day gift to me was to help me fix up the white garden.  Our biggest project was to re-do the old path.  It was a big job, not difficult, but very time consuming.  We had to lift all the small river rocks from the path, dig them out of the dirt, and then wash them off.  We then lifted the large stepping stones, and laid the missing weed barrier cloth.  Then we had to relay all the rocks and stones. 

It took an extra long time to do, because we stopped part way through.  I had an injury on my leg and had to wait about 3-4 weeks for it to heal, so our spring project stretched well into the beginning of summer and into the heat wave last week which meant we could only work in the morning hours when it was shady.

If you’ve been following along on Instagram Stories, you’ve seen my progress day by day.  If you love to see behind the scenes and don’t follow me on Instagram yet, make sure you do.  You can see exactly what I’m up to with all my little projects.

new flagstone and river rock garden pathways

new garden pathsThe New Seating Area

It wasn’t just the path ways and plants that got a refresh.  We also decided to add a little sitting area in the white garden.  It really is such a lovely little garden, and in the morning it is nice and shady from the house.

pea gravel seating area in a small garden

Our yard is very sunny, and despite trying to grow vines over the pergola for the last eight years, we haven’t managed much shade yet.  We’ve tried all sorts of different vines, and had lots of damage over the years from the wild rabbits from the forest behind our house that love to come into our yard and snack on my garden.  We feel like the grape-vine and the wisteria might just give us some real shade soon, and we’ve become more and more diligent about adding chicken wire to them in the fall and winter to protect them from the rabbits.  Here’s hoping they really grow this summer!

pea gravel seating area in a small black and white garden

So I thought it would be nice to add a little seating area to an area of the garden that’s already shady -at least in the mornings and create a spot to enjoy our morning coffee this summer.  To create a seating area, I had to expand the pea gravel path into a little patio area.  I removed some of the garden beside the old path, added more weed barrier cloth, and then added more pea gravel to create the little patio area.  It was really pretty simple to do.  I actually wish I’d done it sooner.

seating area in a small garden

It was a bit difficult to find the perfect little love seat for the spot.  I found everything here in Canada that I liked was out of my price range.  We ended up picking up this one at Target.  I was cross border shopping with my family and spotted it, but we didn’t have room in our car to bring it home.  We thought we’d order it and have it delivered, but when we got home we realized this piece isn’t available for shipping to Canada.  After looking around here I decided to make the 2 hour drive back to the US and pick it up.  We got the second last one in the store, since it went on sale.

Black and White Garden seating area

I have to say it was worth all the trouble.  It’s the perfect size for the space.  I love the scandi design.

black and white garden seating areaAnd it’s supper comfortable -nice and deep and cozy.  Also the price was right, even with the drive, and paying customs at the border, and the exchange rate.Black and White Garden with love seat and vintage bench coffee table

While I was at Target I also picked up the great black and white pillows.

garden fountain with cement birdsI already had the beautiful water feature, but it was in a different location, and this spot defiantly shows it off more.small garden area with pea gravel and river rock and flagstone pathways

I also added in this pretty little garden bench turned coffee table.  It was a rough piece picked up at a garage sale, but we’ve given it the prettiest makeover, that I’ll be sharing with you tomorrow.  On top,  a little roasting pan is full of hens and chicks.old vintage roasting pan with succulents planted in itBlack and White Garden -an old garden is refreshed with a new pea gravel seating area, and lots of black and white accessories and plants, including a garden of all white plants.

I wanted to carry the black and white and boho feel from inside my house into the garden so I also made a few fun tassels.  I picked up a little black and white yarn at the thrift store, and made this easy garland of tassels and another of pom poms in the pergola space.  The yarn should do fine outdoors all summer, and it’s such a fun and easy way to add a little boho vibe to the space.Black and White pom pops and tassel bunting for the garden

The Pergola

The pergola got a little sprucing up too.  The only new additions are the pretty hanging lanterns.  They’re from IKEA.  They’re made of fabric so they can withstand the rain, and are solar for the prettiest little glow at night.Black and White Garden -an old garden is refreshed with a new pea gravel seating area, and lots of black and white accessories and plants, including a garden of all white plants.

Black and White Garden pergola and dining areaOn the table a pretty new tablecloth from H&M Home.  I love more of that boho black and white feel.  I got the table all set up for a perfect snack.

Black and White Garden dining area and pergolaIt’s such a lovely space for entertaining.

black and white garden dining areaI love to start a party off out here in the garden with appetizers, while we bbq, and then move into the air conditioning later for and white garden picnic

Black and White Garden -an old garden is refreshed with a new pea gravel seating area, and lots of black and white accessories and plants, including a garden of all white plants.The Deck

I’ve carried the black and white up onto the deck too.

Black and White Garden refreshThis area has our Muskoka chairs on it and a nice outdoor rug, which is so soft underfoot.  The pots are all old enamel ware and metal pails, and washtubs.  I love their aged vintage feel.  We added holes to the bottoms for drainage and planted them up with black and white and white annuals.  I love how the black and white plants look together.  So simple, and so striking.deck with Black and White container Gardens in vintage metal tubs and pails

Years ago we invested in a simple, easy to install deck irrigation system.  You can read all about how we installed it here.  The plastic pipes run around the edge of the deck and the system is set on a timer.  Every morning at 7 am ours runs for 10 min.  You can set it for when ever and how ever long you like.  Now I never have to worry about forgetting to water the pots.  How many times did I invest in gorgeous annuals for the deck and then end up forgetting to water them?  Or going away and them all dying or half dying and looking horrible?

Black and White flower container GardensThis system is so worth it for me.  In the fall we just put the timer away, and blow out the water lines so they don’t freeze.  In the spring we set it up again.  I really could not be happier with it.

Black and White Garden

white pergola dining area with curtains and solar lightsSo that’s my black and white garden refresh.  It was a big job, that ended up taking ages to finish, but I’m so happy with it.  We’re already enjoying coffee on the new love seat most mornings since finishing it.  We also have an upcoming party next weekend that I’m so glad the space is all ready for.  It really wasn’t an expensive refresh, just a few new pieces, and lots of work -but so, so worth it!

You might also like our Summer Deck Makeover post here.

Also check out our How To Make A Fairy Garden House post here.

You might also like our DIY Cement Garden Markers post here.




  1. Thanks Shannon, yes we’ve had a lot of fun making lots of little spots with lots of different purposes,but my favourite might just be the morning coffee zone. 😉

  2. I love how you made it look so easy and comfortable!…I have always liked the black and white look….my bathroom needs an update so maybe…….I can tell you’ve put your heart into your backyard…it is beautiful!!

  3. I enjoyed reading about the update on your garden. The new sitting area, love seat, hideaway location, my kind of area. But I’m in love with your water feature. Will you please tell me about it. I want to add one to an area in my garden, but I don’t want to spend an arm/leg to buy one.

    I feel your pain caused by rabbits. We too have woods behind our house with deer, racoons, rabbits and turkeys, and no telling what else.

    Enjoy the remainder of your summer. Here in Tennessee the kids have already gone back to school.

  4. Hi Mildred, I found the water feature about 10 years ago, maybe? It was at my local garden centre. They’ve since gone out of business, and I’ve never seen one the same since purchasing this one. It was a bit of an investment piece, we store in our garage each winter so it’s out of the snow and ice, and bring it out again in the spring. I have to say it’s one of my favourites. I hope you can find something similar that you love too.

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