Skip to content
July 13, 2014 / Linda Hartong


Over the past 20 years we have made many changes to our little bungalow but none have pleased me more than the changes made in the garden.

This is the front before. The fence and gate were rickety even then but ivy covered it and we lived with it until May 2013.





What an improvement


and I adore my new arbor and gate.



Our front porch improved a bit at at time.


We planted along the straight concrete walk.


Now the path curves around a planting bed and is made of boxwood lined stones.


I like sitting in the rocker in the evening and listening to the ocean murmur.


The sellers sodded the front yard to clean it up and I tried to maintain grass over the years. It was a losing battle.


I prefer my current look of a stone path winding through shrubs, flowers and ground cover.


I have only this one photo looking toward the gate. Not much to see.




The back gate leads to this patio which was cracked concrete for many years.


Now pavers replace the concrete and form a raised planting bed


filled with colorful blooms.


The front NE corner of the garden went from this


to this. SIGH!



My privacy problem solved by lowering a patio and adding a raised planter. From here I survey both front and side gardens.


This is the sad little spot between our house and garage.


Now all that is hidden by a handsome gate and plantings.


This is the view toward the garage.


We redesigned the space over the years adding a fountain with its inviting sounds. The birds are constantly bathing here.

side garage

Planting beds on both sides of the walk way are filled with color.



The front of the cottage is now visible and tidy.



How did this all this come together?

It was with the help of Kathleen Coss Landscape Design – I have come to think of her as my gardening fairy godmother.

And the meticulous work of Luis Cardenas- Landscaping.

Next week I will show you all the hard work that went into this transformation.


Leave a Comment
  1. Linda Floyd / Jul 13 2014 5:23 pm

    WOW…great job and so very Carmel Cottage. Have missed getting your blogs…was there something wrong with my email? Hope not and that all is well…glad to have received this wonderful Garden Tour!
    Biddlestone Cottage

  2. Ann Robertson Armstrong / Jul 13 2014 5:42 pm

    So beautiful! And, it made my heart jump when I saw your blog in my email. As always I enjoy your photos and your commentRy!

  3. sandra / Jul 13 2014 5:51 pm

    What magical home you have created. So very impressed. Carmel is my happy place. I spend a month every October…………cannot wait until October.

  4. Robert Condry / Jul 13 2014 5:51 pm

    My golly! How wonderful it all is, Linda! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Best, Mary

    Sent from my iPad


  5. jfr / Jul 13 2014 5:56 pm

    Welcome home Linda! So glad to see you posting again. The cottage garden looks great . . . it was a pleasure observing the transformation in “real-time” too. If you will be in town for Concours do call so we can meet for breakfast. Cheers, jfr

  6. Lorrie / Jul 13 2014 5:56 pm

    How beautiful and inviting! I have missed seeing you, I hope you are back among us once again!

  7. Michelle R / Jul 13 2014 6:21 pm

    So happy to see your post! What a wonderful transformation you you have performed on your home and garden. Can’t wait till your next post, you have been missed!

  8. lynn momboisse / Jul 13 2014 7:31 pm

    Linda your garden always looks so wonderful whenever I pass by. Love the new fence – glad to hear from you again. Hope all is well, Lynn

  9. Jayne Kiskadden / Jul 13 2014 8:00 pm

    Lovely creative solutions LInda! Thanks for sharing. Happy to hear from you.

  10. Susan / Jul 13 2014 8:54 pm

    This is truly a dream yard and garden! I would imagine that quite a bit of hard work made this happen 🙂 It’s so nice to have you posting,again~

  11. Betty / Jul 14 2014 12:16 am

    Lovey to see this beautiful transformation. I love the way you have made it so welcoming and restful. You and your husband must be very pleased with the result of your hard work. You’ve given me some ideas for my own garden, which needs a transformation.
    So nice to see a post from you again. I’m sure you have been enjoying recording some interesting stories from the elders.
    Happy days,
    Betty (Melb)

  12. Carol Daugherty / Jul 14 2014 12:44 am

    Linda, thank you for sharing. Stone path, patio and planting bed are beautiful. It is so nice to see before and after photos.

  13. dennis strauss / Jul 14 2014 2:13 am

    Linda-I am so glad that “you are back”. Look forward to next weeks edition. Hope to see you and Bill in August.   Denny Strauss

  14. Judy / Jul 14 2014 3:42 am

    What a beautiful transformation! So glad you are posting again!

  15. Cyndia Montgomery / Jul 14 2014 4:09 am

    Glad to see you back! I’ve missed your posts! Which reminds me, I need to go back and re-read many of your older ones, since I’m heading to the Monterey Bay next month.

    Wow, indeed! What a glorious transformation! Every picture makes me smile. I can imagine that sitting there on your porch or patio makes you feel just as happy.

  16. carmelcottage / Jul 14 2014 7:43 am

    Yay, it’s so wonderful to hear from you again. What a gorgeous transformation. It looks so personal and such a peaceful private space. I adore fuschias and your placing of them is just stunning. I will be back visiting Carmel in November, can’t wait.

  17. Marti / Jul 14 2014 12:05 pm

    Love it all, thanks for sharing.

  18. Sharon Cemensky / Jul 14 2014 4:27 pm

    Love it all!

  19. leilani / Jul 14 2014 6:25 pm

    Ahhhhhhh. What perfect timing to get another one of these vicarious ‘escapes to Carmel’ Linda sends to our mailboxes – right as I’m melting from the scorching heat here in my backyard today.

    So glad you updated us on the progress, Linda, this is quite the ‘Before and After’, just enchanting! But my back hurts just looking at all those pavers ‘someone’ (AKA your husband) had to put down! 😉

    If your other hobby coaxing memories out of hospice patients is going as well as this one coaxing beauty out of your once-barren Carmel garden is, Linda, the patients’ families will no doubt be very grateful for the comfort they’ll be able to derive from your work there.

  20. Joyce / Jul 15 2014 12:13 am

    Oh happy day- you are back! Thank you for sharing your garden.

  21. Bobbie Belvel / Jul 15 2014 1:51 am

    I concur with everyone; I am very glad to see that “Tales of Carmel” is back and look forward to your next posting. Congratulations on transforming your Carmel home into a thing of beauty.

  22. Linda / Jul 15 2014 2:43 am

    Glad to see you are posting again as we missed seeing all your wonderful pictures and writings about our special village, Carmel by the Sea. Thank You!

  23. Lena H / Jul 15 2014 2:55 am

    Yay! You’re back! Happy, happy, joy, joy. I am not a gardener, but I sure enjoy the beauty.

  24. Mara Lindstrom / Jul 15 2014 10:22 pm

    So glad you’re back sharing your beauties with us!

  25. Annie Westlake / Jul 16 2014 7:41 am

    Oh happy day! Linda’s back with a lot of beautiful landscaping and fabulous ideas for me to try.

  26. Carol / Jul 16 2014 8:19 pm

    We are fortunate to live next door and enjoy all the beauty (and lovely neighbors as well)!

  27. Kare / Jul 17 2014 2:33 pm

    It is even better when you get to see it in person! Beautiful job by all involved!!! Sister-in-law Karen.

  28. Carole / Jul 20 2014 9:30 am

    I was thinking about you the other day and up popped your post (speaking of fairy godmother’s), so glad you are posting again. Your improvements are unbelievable and so beautiful. Thank You

  29. Michael Smith / Jul 21 2014 7:04 pm

    You did a great job redesigning the landscape!

  30. Kim / Jul 25 2014 10:28 pm

    Linda, what you are done is spectacular. I am a UC Master Gardener, born in Carmel, raised there, lived most of my life-there-Native and I just finished reading your post and was so compelled to comment that my heart is touched. I am so proud of you for this huge undertaking and the transformation and improvements you have made since you bought your cottage is heartwarming, that I had to set down and write this to you.

    I also love Grigg’s Nursery and Carmel Native Nursery. As a Master Gardener I have gotten into native plants big time, studying pollinators and how important it is to feed them. I have certified my property as a Monarch Waystation and also a Certified Wildlife Habitat. The Monarchs are in severe decline and need milkweed desperately which I have planted in abundance on my property. I have also established a bluebird trail putting up numerous bluebird nest boxes which they also have an urgent need for. I have about eight nest boxes that bluebird babies are raised from each year.

    One plant that is a native that I am especially fond of is, Golden Currant. After bees pollinate Golden Currant the blossom turns from yellow to orange and it loves being under native oaks. It is one of the most charming natives I’ve seen. There are so many things that can only be grown on the coast that the inland fries, such a fushia and you are so blessed. There are so many plants I love and would love to talk about but this comment would be too long.

    Congratulations on a fantastic project and you have truly created why gardens feed our soul.

  31. Marti / Jul 26 2014 9:41 pm

    All so lovely, nice job on the house and landscape.

  32. Ruth / Sep 29 2014 3:36 pm

    Hi Linda,
    I’m so sorry to hear you were injured. I hope you have healed and regained your strength and mobility.
    Your garden transformation is spectacular! Thank you for sharing it.
    Best regards,

  33. Joyce / Sep 2 2015 10:29 pm

    Linda, I just want to say that I really miss your blog. 😢

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: