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?
We decided to put a fence just around our patio and garden rather than the whole backyard. Partly to save money and partly because we primarily use the patio and as I mentioned, we like the feel of a defined outdoor living space. We’ll be using 4×4 treated pine posts, a little less than 8 ft apart, and untreated pine 1″x3″x8′ horizontal planks. Half way between the 4×4 posts, we’ll add 2×4 vertical boards to keep the horizontal planks from bowing and warping. Then, the whole fence will be stained with deck sealer (all the same color). We’ll have two gates: one from the driveway and one into the yard from the stepping stone path. Here are some illustrations I did of our fence design:
We’ll probably come back at the end and put 1″x4″s over the nailed sides of the 4″x4″ posts.
Step 1: Inspiration
Ever since we moved into our mid-century modern ranch 4 years ago, we’ve been planning to add a fence around all or part of our backyard. It’s not that we don’t love our neighbors—we have great neighbors—but we like the idea of creating an outdoor room. Here are some inspiration photos Jason has been collecting for the past few years:
(Sorry, I don’t know the source for any of these.)