grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere

Sunday, September 9, 2007

"My Whole Yard"

A while back my best friend Shannon asked me to show some pictures of my "whole yard". Well here they are.
Now, I'm sure everybody noticed that my kitchen garden is in a very awkward spot. The reason for this is that nothing had been done in my yard until I decided to plant some veggies. Since I'm a lazy bastard and so inclined to lose interest in things as fast as I begin obsessing about them, I decided I should plant this stuff immediately in front of the patio so that I couldn't ignore it. This also happens to get full sun for most of the day. Well, after I planted here, I decided to do the whole damn yard. Boy, do I regret putting it right there! Not only that but I put down the black fabric so as soon as I pull it up, I'll have a nice big brown spot there that I'll have to fight to get grass to grow. I'm planning to have three 4x4 raised beds next year and I'll move them over to toward the south fence more.
For those of you that remember the out of control Spirea, do you see it over there by the fence? The Rock Star landscaper trimmed it into a ball. UGH! Casualties of war, I guess. I would like to publicly state that I did NOT ask him to do this, nor did I ask him to make the front shrubs look like poodles. I'm not into that! Now I know I should give explicit instructions on that sort of thing.


  1. awOh, so sorry about those shrubs in the front of your house. Just let them grow out and Don't allow anyone to do that again! Yes, just a light pruning.

    Re the kitchen garden: it won't be that hard to put in some grass seed. Scratch up the spot, put down a little compost and topsoil, and then grass seed and straw. Keep it watered and moist and in a short time, before the snow flies, you should have nice green grass.

    You need tall, softening, plants in back of your house, and along the fence and garage. Ornamental grasses, shrubs, small evergreens, and taller perennials would work nicely. Looks like you have lots of sun so there are a million things that would thrive in your garden. The raised beds sound just great and would be lovely surrounded by your other gardens and lawns. Oh yes, for the curves in the front of your home. Just take a garden hose and lay it down in different curved patterns until you find a configuration you like. Mark those lines with baking flour (lightly!) and dig from there. Trust in your own judgement and remember, anything can be changed when gardening.

  2. I see a patio in your future. The area in back just as you step out the door. This is a project you could do with your GB .

    Too much lawn in the back ! I envision a small ornamental tree near the patio to soften up the look of a bare back garden and to provide some shade. Ornamental grasses , as Alyssa suggested would be a wonderful addition.

    If you're going to do 4 raised beds near the south fence that will add a lot of interest to that area.

    Don't let the rock star in your garden with those shears again ! The good news is they'll grow back.

  3. Gina,
    This is nice because you can experiment your heart out with so many areas to landscape. I'm in an experimental mode so this would excite me.

    As for the lawn, it depends on what you do with the lawn - do you have kids that play on the lawn or wild volleyball parties where you need that open space? ;)

  4. it looks like a lovely backyard and good sized too.. You can do so many things with it!!!

  5. alyssa - do you have any favorite grasses, shrubs or small evergreens that you think would look fabulous in the areas you noted? I think I'm a little scared of shrubs seeing how big and out of control they can get if left unattended. BUT, I'm willing to try it.

    carolyn - thanks for the suggestions, as usual. same question to you that i asked alyssa - have any favorites you'd recommend planting? I wish i could plant some azaleas but i believe they are shade lovers, right? i also love forsythia but the only ones i've seen were in the south and HUGE.

    rosemarie - no kids, no volleyball! we have the huge basketball court which you can see in the picture but i'd really love to try to hide/soften that

    DF - everybody comments on how big our yard is but being from the south where the yards are much bigger, it has always seems smallish to me. it's plenty of space for us but I always have this little voice in my head that says DO NOT EVER REMOVE THE GRASS! I think it comes from years of watching my grandma fret over her grass like it was gold. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Hi again Gina. There are numerous ornamental grasses to pick from. The Miscanthus varieties, Feather Reed grass, and hardier Fountain grasses. You'll find tons at all garden centers. Some good shrubs are Barberry, Burning Bush, Buddleia (Butterfly Bush),Honeysuckle (named varieties), Hydrangea, Miss Kim Lilac, Potentilla, Rhododendron,Spirea, Viburnum, and Weigela. Some will require an occasional pruning, but generally don't get huge. But you would want some as high or higher than your fence. These are all common and will be at a garden center. The small evergreens would be at a nursery where you would ask for "dwarf or slow growing". Also look on the internet for the names of short or dwarf varieties so you can ask or order at the nursery.

    I suggest getting a few books on annuals and perennials, grass, shrubs and trees that are specific to the midwest. I have tons of books and use them a lot. They have been invaluable through the years. I hope some of this info will help you make some choices. Have fun!!