So What’s Left?
By Robbie Rhur
The screened in porch, the garden and the yard landscaping remained. I think a few pictures of the yard when I moved in might help you see what it was like (overwhelming comes to mind).
This is the side yard, you can really see how crappy the house and yard looked.
In the 90-plus years this house has stood, no previous owner had done many yard improvements. There were a few mulched flower beds with your standard daffodils and azalea’s but nothing that I would call a garden.
I decided to create a small, dog free, flower garden; it was nice to have two doors to the garden – one off the kitchen and one off the porch. I wanted edible herbs and flowers; someplace that birds & butterflies would want to visit.
Back yard after the huge dead tree came down and before the fence went up.
Once the enormous half dead oak tree came out, the back yard went from full shade to full sun. I removed all the out buildings to put up the work-shop and new fence.
The fence is up and creates a garden in the side yard.
Once the fence and workshop were up, the dogs were secured in the yard. Most gardening came to a halt until the house was more or less complete. I did tackle the front beds, weeding them and planting a few shrubs and small trees. But that was about it for the next 2 ½ years. Eventually I started to imagine what I wanted the yard to look like. I had never been a gardener, I was good at weeding and cutting grass but I had not had the opportunity to really consider what went into making an outdoor space look planned but feel natural. I’m still not great at it but it’s kinda like remodeling a house, you have to create good bones (hardscape) and let the process unfold. I looked at a lot of books for ideas and inspiration and walked the alleys with the dogs and got some inspiration looking into back yards of other houses.
I decided that I wanted raised beds along the fence in the back yard since I wanted to encourage Crepe Myrtles to grow huge and replace some of the shade I lost with the loss of the oak. I also planned several patios, one off the back door and the potting shed.
You can see the raised bed and the patios – just installed.
I then decided to re-screen the porch; I wanted to create a Moroccan theme. I had never torn out old screen before; my advice, wear a mask.
Porch before I began
I decided to carry the purple theme onto the porch and create a lower screen to offer more privacy. It created a really nice feel while on the porch.
I’m very happy to spend time out here when the weather is good.
The garden took a little more planning but it came together rather nicely, too.
The garden is maturing and lovely but I’m sad to report that the back yard has proven more difficult. There is nothing but weeds where the old oak once was and when it rains that whole area is underwater. I am currently trying to figure out a way to drain the yard during the winter months and encourage some grass to grow without the use of chemicals in keeping with a dog friendly yard.
It’s a work in progress, kinda like life!