Before & After Buffalo Garden Great Plant

Boxwoods in front yard gardens

(and a few backyards, and a castle or two...)

In a past post, I invited readers to let me know if they were looking for anything in particular I could curate from my 70,000+ garden photos, I got a comment requesting photos of boxwoods in front yard gardens.

I just cannot find the comment

I can’t remember if it came on Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, a comment on this blog, an email, a text, certified mail, or carrier pigeon. I do remember they wanted to see photos of boxwoods in front yards. My apologies to that reader – but here you go!

Disclaimer: Among the photos below are some of privets, which can be substantially taller than boxwoods. Sometimes it was hard to tell the difference in photos, but they can serve the same design purposes.

My own front yard could use some boxwoods

My raised bed potager when I first planted it.

I don’t have any boxwoods in my front garden – though I have considered a low boxwood wall around the entire front yard to help “contain” it. My grassless front yard garden is a cacophony of perennials and shrubs. It has little structure. It could use some.

I do have boxwoods in my back garden, in a raised bed potager garden. These are dwarf English boxwoods – they only get to about two feet tall, maximum. I had to order them through a nursery, as they didn’t have 18 or so of the identical pants I needed for this project. I planted them about 18″ apart (if memory serves).

More than 15 years after the photo above. It now has a knee-high apple tree espalier around the outside, a home-made copper trellis supporting sweet autumn clematis, a ceramic fountain birds love, a grass and paver checkerboard garden to the left and a mirror-walled patio with inlaid “marble carpet” to the right.

For a potager garden, you have to provide some sort of enclosure, boxwoods are perfect for that. In my potager, it is in a raised concrete block bed, boxwoods and gravel path form a classic cross, and it has a centerpiece. Originally mine was a rose standard, which lasted about five years. Now it’s a fountain, wich has a longer lifespan than a fussy rose standard.

And a potager usually has vegetables. I started with vegetables – lettuces, beans, peppers and such – but found that the tree I planted across the driveway (at the same time I built the potager) grew to shade the potager. Now I’m on a life-long quest to find something to grow there with some shade until noon. Low-growing bugleweed, with a tall penstemon in the center of each of the four potager quadrants, seems to have held up for a few years there, and looks respectable.

Boxwood care

Boxwood are any number of Buxus plants, there are lots of varieties and cultivars. If you’re going to be using them as a design element and planting multiples, make sure they’re all the same plant.

They need full or part sun, and well-draining soil. Until established, after about two years, they’ll need at least weekly watering. If you can plant them to avoid winter winds, all the better.

Once they were established, it’s safe to say it is the plant in the garden I give the least thought to. They never need watering beyond rain and they seem to be impervious to pests and disease.

I shear my boxwoods only two or three times a year to keep the edges crisp. Mine are simple squared-off “L” shaped rectangles. All 18 plants now look like one unified design.

Are there any garden features I can find for you?

Whatever it is, I may have it in my 70,000+ photos! Let me know- leave a message below. Here are other garden features I’ve assembled from my photo collection.

A neighbor’s garden on Garden Walk Buffalo. Great use of boxwoods surrounding hydrangeas backed by barberry.
One of my favorite uses of boxwood – containment without having to use a low fence. But they even have a low fence here too!
Another Garden Walk Buffalo garden – formal structure, but softer forms.
Buffalo’s big ol’ houses need hardy structure.
A row of boxwood – a pleasing “do not enter the yard” signal.
Boxwood provides some visual relief in busily-planted gardens, much like grass might.
A billionaire’s garden with low-growing annuals planted in front of the boxwood.
Boxwood in its more natural form, used here as just another perennial plant for texture, height, and color.
Lucky charms! A nod to the gardener’s father’s job at General Mills. Found in a Garden Walk Buffalo garden.
A Garden Walk Buffalo hellstrip (area between sidewalk and street)
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon has boxwood that mimic the rounded thatched roof.
A Williamsville, NY garden where the boxwood really help to “lead the eye” to the front door.
Another billionaire’s garden (this one in Atlanta) where annuals are planted in front of the boxwood. What is it with billionaires and planting in front of boxwoods?
Always liked this use of boxwood as foundation plants in planters around trees. This is from the Chelsea Flower Show.
A neighbor’s garden on garden Walk Buffalo. This garden has balls.
Formal structure in a Buffalo garden.
Great way to contain an area of tree roots! Same garden as photo above.
A boxwood hugs a low stone wall in a Garden Walk Buffalo garden.
Thie boxwood has neon in it! From the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery in Venice, Italy.
A cozy Buffalo backyard garden on Garden Walk Buffalo.
A whimsical tableau of boxwood and found objects in a Buffalo garden.
I lke the look of clipped spiral boxwoods, but I wouldn’t want the work. Found in a Buffalo garden.
Another modern garden (this one outside Austin, TX) and clipped boxwoods.
Rounded boxwood-lined garden path on Garden Walk Buffalo.
A hotel garden in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia.
Photographer: Jim Charlier
A crisp, low, boxwood hedge separating this Lakeview, NY garden from the shore of Lake Erie.
A boxwood bench at Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC.
An East Side Garden Walk collection of alternating boxwoods and evergreens.
Photographer: Jim Charlier
A formal garden with soft edges in a Garden Walk Buffalo garden.
Not for every front yard, but if I had the space… (Disney World, Orlando, FL)
Squared in Haifa, Isreal.
Unique boxwood sidewalk plantings, Los Angeles, CA.
Crathes Castle, Banchory, Scotland.
Crathes Castle, Banchory, Scotland.
Stepped boxwoods surrounding a fountain at Hohenschwangau Castle, you can see Neuschwanstein Castle off in the distance. (Fussen, Germany).
Great boxwood edge in in the gardens of Mirabell Gardens, Salzberg, Austria.
CIMG6212 2
Hortus Botanicus’ boxwood-edged paths in Amsterdam, Holland.
Classic boxwood-edged potager gardens at the Chateau at Villandry, Loire Valley, France.
The Love Garden (Jardin de “L’Amour Tendre”) Chateau at Villandry, Loire Valley, France.
Simple bordering boxwoods at the Johnny Mercer House in Savannah, GA.
Undulating privets in the gardens of Barcelona’s Park Güell in Spain
At the end of any privet path should be a castle, like here at Crathes Castle, Banchory, Scotland.
Not quite a maze, but the boxwood hedges overlooking the pastures at House of Dun, Montrose, Scotland.
Boxwwod incorporated into this arching structure at House of Dun, Montrose, Scotland.
Boxwood-lined path at Inverewe Garden, Poolewe, Scotland.
Boxwood front yard garden at the Library of Birmingham, Birmingham, England.
Low boxwoods make for a great setting for lipstick-red tulips in one of Buffalo’s traffic circles, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. (Photo by Don Zinteck)
Round-bordered beds at the Toronto Botanical Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
A rose arbor, lined with boxwoods, at Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC, Canada. Would they get enough sun in this spot to look their best?
A classic boxwood knot garden in a private garden in Atlanta, GA. This looks lie too much work for me!

Jim Charlier is an advertising designer/photographer/crafter with a serious gardening problem. He's co-written a garden design book featuring the funky, quirky and fun gardens by the gardeners of Buffalo titled "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" (; he writes a long-standing garden blog (; led the largest garden tour in America, Garden Walk Buffalo; has written for, or provided photography for dozens of magazines and books; has made presentations and participated in panel discussions on garden design and garden tourism nationally and internationally.

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