Best Curb Appeal Redo: Victorian Garden

Who: Dawn Peters and Diana Krieg
Where: Bloomington, Illinois

The house needed everything: a new foundation and roof; major fixes to the porches and drainage system; restoration of intricate details, such as finials and ridge cresting; a new paint job. And that was just on the exterior! The interior, which hadn't been touched since the 1930s, was another story altogether. Our first step was to educate ourselves. We read everything we could get our hands on about historic preservation and Victorian-era design. For DIY training, we watched online videos and worked side by side with pros who were willing to show us the ropes. We repainted the exterior ourselves; Dawn even conquered her fear of heights to tackle the second and third stories.

We love gardening and did nearly all the planting—that is, after digging up truckloads of old bricks and concrete by hand on the new lot. A local arborist created the period-style landscape plan, including a parterre, an ornamental garden in which beds and paths form a pattern best seen from the house's upper levels. It's one of our favorite outdoor features, though the boxwoods are a bear to trim!
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