After working tirelessly through that first winter to renovate the interior of our new home—an 1890 stone farmhouse—I needed some fresh air. I had created a garden at our old house, on a postage-stamp-size lot in the city, so this 75-by-200-foot parcel seemed huge by comparison. We started around the foundation, planting Pieris japonica for evergreen structure and hydrangeas for color. To define the yard's perimeter and contain our pet, we added a cedar fence, and planned to let it weather to blend into the privacy plantings of trees and shrubs that we would layer in front of it. Now the area overflows with hosta and other shade-loving plants, softening the home's masonry walls.