Having never really had a yard of my own, I have never done any landscaping beyond setting up a container garden on my balcony. One thing our Oregon house has is a backyard, and it needed a lot of attention. Even though we’ve owned the house for a couple of years now, I didn’t want to do anything to the backyard because I figured it would all die while we were away. This summer, however, Mick and I have been spending a lot of evenings sitting outside and staring at that ugly mudhole of a backyard was too depressing so I got to work.
I know very little about landscaping or gardening in general, so the first thing I did was a little research on the internet. I found a landscape plan I liked and that I thought would work for our yard:
Of course I knew I wouldn’t do anything as complicated as all this, but there were elements of this garden that I used in my own design. First, I decided that the left hand side of the yard would use (roughly) the same type of plants as shown in the left hand side of this picture. For this I needed tall grass, a shrub, and some smaller grasses to use as groundcover/accents. As these plants mature, of course, they will fill in the space better.
The next element I decided to use was the water feature, although I planned on a simple garden ornament rather than a fountain. Mick told me he’d really like a sundial, so I ordered one from yardenvy.com.
This is the space where I knew it would go:
In the “model” garden, the garden ornament is surrounded mainly by groundcover. I decided I wanted to include some tallish flowering plants around the base of the sundial, then fill in the rest with groundcover:
Though it wasn’t part of my initial plan, I decided to add some containers to the middle of the garden. They add balance and color to an area that would have otherwise been too plain:
The final element of my landscape was a simple cedar garden bench:
We also replaced the small bistro set we had with some more substantial (and comfortable) wicker chairs:
I am really proud of the job I did on this landscape. First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my life! They don’t call it “yard work” for nothing, that’s for sure. More importantly, however, I planned it carefully and there was almost no waste—which is not my usual M.O. The only things I have left over are a little potting soil and a few groundcover plants. If you don’t count the bench, sundial and new chairs, this landscape cost well under $100 and it really transformed the yard. If you include the bench, sundial, and chairs, the price still came in under $400, which I don’t think is bad at all if you consider that we now have an outdoor space where Mick and I sit almost every evening to read, chat, and of course, drink wine.