The week before last, we had a load of 5 tons of gravel delivered to our courtyard. Jason graciously spent most of a Friday spreading about 3.5 tons. (The rest will be used somewhere else.) I was so tired so walking through the mud to get to the lovely paver stone path Jason made up to our front door steps…and mainly tired of Lucy getting her paws muddy. We’re taking our landscaping one step at a time but there are a few big things we wanted to tackle ASAP. The courtyard is a high priority to me because it’s the front entrance, the first impression of our house, and we’re expecting a lot of guests in the first weeks and months in our new house. When I looked at the pictures I took of the courtyard, I realized it came out really, really close to my Photoshop rendering!
I love how the windows reflect the sky.
We’re going to add a short fence and gate between the corner of the garage and the concrete wall to enclose all 4 sides and make it a true courtyard. Here’s the mock up I sent to our contractor, based on the fence we designed and built for our last house.We ultimately decided to keep this element out of the construction budget. Jason and I will build this, hopefully in January. The opening is only 12′ across so it’ll be so easy compared to a whole fence. And maybe will inspire us to add some privacy fencing around the backyard later in 2013.
Because things aren’t moving fast enough (that’s a joke!) I decided to take some of my photos of the house with siding and add our paint colors in Photoshop to see how they look. The house process has been flying lately at the house so it’s possible that by the time this post goes live, the painters will actually be painting the exterior…but anyway…if I’m going to waste my time daydreaming, I might as well waste yours too:
(The battens weren’t all up yet when I took the picture below, but close enough.)
Use your imagination here. Our garage door will not be translucent. It is coming soon, though. Hopefully the rest of the driveway (and back patio) concrete is coming soon, too.
OK, now this one got me really excited. Our front door area has been a mess since the beginning of construction and I never like how it looks in photographs. Now I can really start to visualize how lovely this courtyard entrance could be…
My landscape expert husband Jason will be planning out this courtyard with what areas will have planters, paver stones, gravel, potted plants, etc. All I know is that our OTP orange metal chairs will be resting here. Probably. So the birds have somewhere to perch while they watch us eat breakfast.
I love this time of year in Nashville. Summer is hands-down my favorite but the start of fall with lower humidity and cooler nights is usually a welcome change. Most days it’s sunny with highs in the 70s and temps dipping down into the 40s overnight. I decided to snap a few pictures of some beauty in our garden before the overnight frosts start. Check out how tall our banana tree got this year! The leaves don’t survive the winter so it starts out as a stump each spring.
It’s been warm enough that some plants are flowering a second time this year, including our pink roses, orange zinnias and yellow canna lilies.
I love the furry fronds on the end of our pampas grass.
Our black bamboo has really filled in this year. If you’re not familiar with growing bamboo, the saying is “first year sleep, second year creep, third year leap.” This has definitely been a leap year for it.
Jason is considering moving this agave to a pot through the winter. Juuuust to be sure it doesn’t die if we have several cold days in a row.
What is your favorite season?
Look! A blog post that isn’t about the kid! I’ll get back to writing about her tomorrow, probably. I didn’t want to leave this series unfinished.
We got our gravel delivered and spread in the front garden. It’s close to being finished. Jason asked the delivery guys not to spread it all the way to the edges because he wants to had a landscaping border first, to keep the gravel from spilling into the grass. Weed eaters and pebbles are a bad combination… our front window can testify. I don’t have a whole lot to say about this since I identified the plants in the Phase 3 post. So, on with the pictures…
Plants! After chopping down the grass and covering the area with landscaping fabric, it was time to start adding plants.
Besides less front yard to mow (hooray!), we don’t have a specific plan for the landscaping of this area. Jason will have lots of space to play and plant and tinker and propagate and all those fun things. I’m sure in a few years it’ll be as full and lush as our back garden. We’re using gravel as mulch. More on that in the next post.
Blue Elf Aloe x2:
Some kind of cactus… if you want to know the name, I can ask Jason
Variegated yucca transplanted from my parents house:
And lots more space for future plants:
I take no credit for the piece of paradise located in my backyard. This oasis is all thanks to my husband’s love of plants, especially dessert and tropical plants.
We have yellow bamboo (left of the gate) and black bamboo (right of the gate, not pictured below) in neatly contained planter on our patio. We cut these blocks out of our concrete patio. (Anywhere I saw “we” just assume I mean Jason.)
The black bamboo was very determined… it’s roots spread under the patio and it shot up a bunch of runners into our cactus garden this summer. We’ve left most of them to grow because the idea of a bamboo grove sounds nice. Plus black bamboo is super expensive (the most we’ve ever paid for a plant!) and it spreads pretty slowly. It’s really neat to see how fast a new stalk grows. I’ll do a post just on that some day.
Most mornings while Jason and I are having bacon, eggs and toast at the kitchen table there is a couple of yellow finches having breakfast on our echinacea (cone flower) plant. I guess the seeds are tasty.
There is also a hummingbird that frequents the echinacea and the red yucca (tall finger-like pinkish plant in the center of the photo.)
Our patio needs repainted. Or stained. Or tiled. Or something.
This is a banana tree. It’s just ornamental, it doesn’t get fruit on it. But it’s huge and fast growing and definitely the focal point of the garden right now.
We love this pretty crepe myrtle tree.
There’s a sister banana tree in the corner of the garden.
Our key lime tree, which seems to be fruitless right now.
So there’s a quick tour around our garden paradise this July. It’s been hot and humid and the plants are lovin’ it!
With the practically tropical Nashville summer weather, even cropping the grass down to the roots wasn’t enough to kill it. It’s basically perfect growing conditions for grass right now. So… Front Garden Expasion: Phase 2. Landscaping fabric. We used WeedBlock from Home Depot. First we thought the 300 sq. ft roll would be enough. Then we bought another 300 sq. ft. roll and a 150 sq. ft. roll, thinking we could take the smaller one back. Nope. Our front garden expansion project is more than 750 sq. ft. We used some leftover thick landscape plastic for the last, oh 50 sq. ft. or so.
(Jason, if you’re reading this… we need enough gravel to cover 800 square feet. That’s a lot of rocks. This gravel calculator says we need 2.5 cubic yards for 1″ depth, 3.7 cubic yards for 1.5″ depth, or 5 cubic yards for 2″ depth.)
I like nostalgia and a good joke so I’m not beyond putting a plastic pink flamingo in my yard. However, when I saw this painted metal art sculpture breed at a local garden store, I may have taken a picture and sent it to Jason with the caption, “For my birthday?” He got me Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants, which I savored (yes, savored… I actually tried to pace myself so I could enjoy it for longer.) But, being the sweet husband and son-in-law that he is, Jason went with my mom to the garden store to help her pick out a flamingo for me. I was quite bewildered by the big, odd-shaped gift wrapped in a sheet. Ah, a flamingo garden sculpture!
I haven’t decided on a fitting name for him/her yet but we found a good spot in our back garden and buried his feet so he stays put. So far so good. The cardinals and hummingbirds that frequent our garden don’t seem to mind him a bit.
Jason is tired of mowing our grass. I can’t blame him. It takes 2 hours with our push mower, it needs done every week, and it’s hot outside. So what is my green-thumbed garden-loving husband’s solution? Expand the front garden to create less lawn! Tirades about xeriscaping the whole front yard or killing all the grass (weeds…) and planting ground cover have also been tossed around after sweaty lawn grooming sesions. This crazy talk scared me a bit. (I don’t want the neighbors referring to us as “those people” with the gravel lot in front of their house.) One day I came home to find our front yard looking like this.
I present you with, Front Garden Expansion: Phase 1.
All that was done here was lowering the push mower to it’s lowest setting and scalping the lawn in the desired garden area, in hopes that the hot summer sun would do the rest of the work of killing the grass and weeds. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the area Jason plotted out was only about 1/3 of the front yard. He says “for now…”
Have you seen this timely article on Apartment Therapy, The Case Against the American Front Lawn?