The Cutest Cottage Garden Makeover for a Seattle Front Garden

I’m simply blown away by this front yard cottage garden makeover in Seattle.  I am not sure what property values are doing in Washington, but I have to think that this garden and curb appeal makeover added way more than the average 10% value increase you can expect from improving your front garden.

A person stands in front of a blue house with a well-kept lawn and blooming red flowers, showcasing the impressive garden transformation. Another house painted green is visible to the right. A tree stands behind the blue house, and a detached garage can be seen to the left.

Before – Front of house

Images and design by Leah Steen

Before – Backyard

A small blue-gray house with a reddish door has a set of wooden steps leading up to the entrance. The Seattle front garden features a patchy lawn in the foreground, and a walkway leads up to the steps. A smaller matching shed is to the right before & after another house visible in the background.
A quaint purple house with a yellow front door, adorned with a flowering vine, stands proudly in the Seattle front garden. Symmetrical shrubbery lines the pathway leading to the entrance. A large central window and a smaller upper window are visible, framed by a manicured lawn on either side.
Welcome to Leah Steen’s adorable cottage with boxwood lined from the walk and a pretty clematis growing over the front door.

A drawing of flower pots in a frame.

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A small purple house with a tan front door and an asymmetrical window above it. The house, located in Seattle, boasts a stunning front garden transformation with well-maintained green shrubs and leafy trees. A paved stone path leads to the entrance, surrounded by a variety of plants.
The makeover continues across the front sidewalk and into what is often referred to as the hell strip – the challenging area between the sidewalk and the road that can often be plagued with abuse from street activities, exposure, and neglect.

The hellstrip (i.e., the verge between the sidewalk and the road) might be my favorite part.  I love neighborhoods that have landscaped areas between the sidewalk and the street and homeowners who replace government grass with something better. 

I think neighborhoods with this street design really are a much more friendly feeling – the separation of walkers from the road feels like you have halfway invited in the people who are around you.

Given that this area is particularly wide, this path from the street to the sidewalk has the opportunity to become a really lovely feature.

A lush Seattle Front Garden features stone pathways bordered by trimmed greenery and bushes. Two trees frame the view, leading to a street where a red car and a teal van are parked. Residential houses are visible in the background, highlighting the garden transformation that has taken place.
Irregular cut large pavers set below the turf level can be mown over and are easy to maintain, but they also provide a clear and welcoming path from the street parking into the front yard.
A Seattle front garden features a small tree surrounded by a circular hedge maze made of dense green bushes. Various plants and flowers bloom throughout the garden. Stone paths meander around, showcasing the enchanting transformation from before and after, with a car partially visible in the background.
Rosemary, santolina, and yellow lilies give color contrast and a formal structure to the cottage garden.
A serene Seattle garden scene with three colorful houses, from left to right: yellow, purple, and teal. Two lush trees and neatly trimmed bushes line the sidewalk, enhancing the front gardens. A small cat stands in the foreground on the street, facing the camera.
The house and the front door are playing peek-a-boo behind the front garden trees. This sense of mystery makes the house even more intriguing from the curb.
A suburban yard in Seattle with lush greenery showcases a stunning garden transformation. Various shrubs, small trees, and well-manicured bushes adorn the space, complemented by stepping stones leading through the garden. In the background, parked cars line the street against neighboring houses.
Two houses in a suburban neighborhood showcase stunning garden transformations. The house on the left is yellow with white trim, and the house on the right is purple with tan trim. Both homes, reminiscent of a Seattle front garden before and after makeover, feature lush hedges, flowering bushes, and small trees. A sidewalk runs in front.
All Images by leahsteen

The clematis growing over the front door is so sweet.  I am forever impatient at how many people have a complete phobia of climbers in their homes.   Sure, they can always get out of control, but so can the “foundation”  trees that are frequently requested.  I am a fan of the vines on the house…I say go for it.

A lush, green garden in a Seattle front garden features various shrubs, bushes, and small trees arranged in neat clusters on either side of a paved walkway. In the background, parked cars, including a vintage blue van, are visible in front of residential houses.

It’s not an entirely lawn free makeover, but given the grass is in minute quantities, I think this would even satisfy the lawn-less cheerleaders among us.  Are you loving it as much as I am, or would you do something different?

The Planti-ful Backyard

Lots of plants transformed the backyard. In particular a fearless use of large shrubs, even in a small space make this area cozy and inviting.

Often homeowners are inclined to put plants only around the edges of the yard. They do not realize that building from the center out will give them a better result. Small urban backyards don’t have lots of room for lawns. More charm and a greater sense of space can be had by moving focal points to the middle and obstrucitng views. If you can’t see everything, the space will feel bigger.

Before and after its transformation, the Seattle front garden now features vibrant blue hydrangeas, a variety of green foliage, and a Japanese maple tree with reddish leaves. In the center, a round concrete water fountain adds a tranquil touch, while a wooden fence and shed provide a backdrop.
Hydrangea, Japanese maple, and variegated dogwood (among other plants) surround a concrete water fountain in this urban backyard transformation.

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  1. Topiary Lady says:

    Beautiful makeover! I love the hedges!!!

  2. K-Line says:

    I don’t think this could possibly be improved. It’s just perfect.

  3. Stevie says:

    It’s great. so green and lush. And I love the front door with the clematis.

  4. Just Great – we seldom see houses like this one in London – the colour of the buxus against the grey of the house timber look stunning. Most of the front gardens we build are much smaller than this one. We have a few in our portfolio at – take a look I would like to see what you think.

  5. invisiblebees says:

    Love it. Love it. Love it. Despite the formality of the plant choices and pruning, there is a softness to this garden and entry way. I’m curious to know if the owner’s had career enhancements (if feng shui holds up).

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