I have been working on some major changes in my backyard for a couple of years now. A busy schedule and an injured arm have created some delays, but I am hoping that this spring I can complete the project (as much as any garden is ever completed).
As with all of my landscaping projects at home, they all begin with...
"the stare."I stand out in my yard and stare at it until something comes to me. Whenever my husband sees me standing out in the middle of the yard staring, he just shakes his head and says, "Now what are you up to?!" Anyway, sometime in late spring 2008, the staring commenced in my backyard. I wanted to decrease the size of the lawn area, add more pathways, and increase the bed areas. The ideas started to flow. I got out a garden hose and laid out the proposed lawn, bed, and path areas. I liked it! So I drew my ideas on paper.
Below is my rustic drawing of my backyard illustrating the "bones" of the layout. The areas shaded gray within the dashed lines were lawn in 2008. All of the areas in white were beds that were already established around the perimeter and inside of the pathways. The pathways on the top and right side of the drawing were already in flagstone. The pathway in the middle was nonexistent; it was lawn area. The pathways on the bottom and left side of the drawing were grass pathways between beds. Someday I'll have to do a post and show you how we started with "nothin' but dirt" in the backyard...but I digress.
A year later, in late spring, early summer of 2009 I removed the grass pathway and replaced it with flagstone creating what is now the flagstone path on the left side of the drawing. There was quite a slope where the path entered the backyard (lower left side), so I decided that steps were needed. First I had to extend some drain pipes in this area. After doing that, I started to level the area and added a row of boulders to hold back part of the slope. When I got to that point, I was a little overwhelmed with the "how to" of building steps, so I hired out that phase of the construction.
At that point it was July, and 100-degree temps tend to put the kibosh to major landscape projects. When autumn came, along with cooler temps came an extremely busy landscape schedule for clients, so like the shoemaker's kids with no shoes, I was the landscaper with no time for landscape projects at home.
Winter brought much needed rest; but starting in February of 2010, my client landscape schedule geared up once again and went into overdrive. As time allowed between jobs, I started to work again on my backyard project. More drain extensions need to be added, and another "boulder curve" was added to stair-step the slope on the other side of the yard (lower right side of the drawing).
In June of 2010 I lifted the existing metal edging outlining the old lawn area (see dashed line on drawing), and moved it to enclose a smaller peanut-shaped area that is currently the lawn (see green shaded area marked "lawn" on drawing).
Then I started removing grass by hand using a pick-axe, shovel, and rake. Slowly but surely, I got all of the grass removed, and I started to add decomposed granite to the areas that would eventually be pathways.
By mid summer all of the grass was removed from the pathway areas, and I had added decomposed granite as a base for the flagstone that I was planning to lay in the fall when the temps cooled down a bit.
Summer in Texas, and once again, it was too blasted hot to work. And besides that, the pain that I had started feeling in my right forearm in the spring was hurting more and more. We went on vacation in July and I thought the rest would do me some good, but my arm continued to hurt. I tried my own brand of at-home therapy, and still the pain persisted. So in August I broke down and went to the doctor. That's when I got diagnosed with radial tunnel syndrome, and the Gimpy Gardener saga was born.
When I got the news from the doctor, at that moment, all landscape projects were officially on hold. I first thought it would just be a couple months of recuperation and I'd be back to work. Long story short, my arm was not well in two months, so I decided to go ahead and hire out the flagstone work so my project could proceed. So in October of 2010 the flagstone work commenced.
After the flagstone work was completed, I wanted to plant dwarf mondo in between the flagstone.
And 65 flats of mondo later, the pathways were complete.
Now to the point of this post (finally)....to tell you what my landscaping projects are for 2011. If you refer back to the drawing, the areas shaded in gray on each side of the path are the new bed areas that were created by removing the lawn and adding the pathway. They are just expansions of beds that already existed.
This is what those areas look like in January of 2011.
To finish off those beds, I plan to:
- Add several yards of compost
- Add flagstone to create an area to hold the bench
- Add plants
- Add mulch
Last year I had 3 crape myrtles removed from the east side (left side of drawing) because of the increasing shade. I plan to add one 'Forest Pansy' Redbud tree in that area to give some height and color.
I hope you've enjoyed this journey through my backyard project. If all goes well, I will be sure to post pictures of the plantings in the new bed areas. Please visit again to see the completion.
I hope you can start (or complete) some wonderful projects in your garden this year!