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.)
Jason and I had been brainstorming what kind of architectural design element we could add to our house to create a backdrop for our spineless prickly pear cactus (which is the same color as our house.) At one point we were considering using decorative concrete block.
As we’ve also been discussing the design of a fence for our backyard, Jason decided to create the accent for the front of our house using the same style we’re thinking of for the fence. He used 1×2 untreated planks and 2×4’s for support, then stained the whole structure before mounting it onto the house. (I helped a little with that step.)
It took a little bit of getting used to but I’m really loving it now! We’ve decided to call it an architectural trellis (or an architrellis!).
We (meaning mostly Jason) recently replaced all of the pine mulch in the front of our house with pea gravel. From a distance it doesn’t look all that different.
But closer up it looks really nice and clean.
And it won’t decompose and need to be refreshed twice a year.
A little piece of Arizona style xeriscape in Nashville, Tennessee.