Sunday, June 1, 2008

Garden Therapy - this just applies to everything, doesn't it?

I can't deal with both the front and back yards right now so this is for the backyard only. We spend way more time there and it just needs some affection, not huge amounts of $$$$ thrown at it.

Bones
: The hardscaping. Paths, structures, fencing, and necessary bits (like sheds and composters).

Ailments: The sandy soil is not bad, per se, but I want to put in gravel paths and a gravel patio area next to the raised beds. The fencing is in fine shape and the compost pile is back around the other side of the house where nobody sees it.

Breath: The positioning of the objects as well as the plants should encourage health. Weeds and pests are akin to clutter. Things should be arranged so that these are kept to a minimum.

Ailments: Weeds are fairly under control. Mulch that was supposed to keep the weeds down blows all over and needs to be raked up and disposed of (I have gotten most of it, I just need to get the last little bits). Far side of the garden is completely unused. I want to make a path that goes to the far side of the garden and stick a gravel patio there too so it will encourage us to spend time out there (we have a very nice maple on that side that I like to look at, I just need a reason to go over there). Eventually I'd like some xeriscaping around this theoretical patio, so not too much more to water, but a little more to see.

Heart: This is defined as "style." Colour, texture, materials. Will the landscape be welcoming? Will it be peaceful? Will it be interesting and full of something interesting each season?

Ailments: Plants are still pretty small, in the area I have started on. I want more perennials - flowering stuff that will attract more of our neighbors (bees, hummingbirds, mourning doves, quail). There should be more color. The shrubs can fill in on their own time, they'll get nice and huge someday. I need to accessorize! Also the current concrete patio area is functional but ugly, I would like to find out a non-horribly-chemical-oriented way to clean off the paint and adhesive so it can just be functional and ignored. Possibly some potted plants here, too.

Head: What is the purpose of the landscape? Does it support all the activities you want to do in it? Is it a living, welcoming part of your home? Does it welcome wildlife (if that's a goal)?

Ailments: People clump on the concrete patio area. A gravel patio and paths would extend the useable areas and still allow drainage (and not break the budget, optimally). Also it would be cool to have a firepit on one of the gravel patios for long summer evenings. I want my garden to be more sociable for more of the year. Right now we get plenty of use out of the concrete patio, and none out of the rest of the backyard. That is a lot of wasted space. It's mostly sand.

I am trying to repress the urge to go to the nursery right now. I have a shopping list, but I am waiting on it. I need tomato stakes and a soaker hose for my existing plants, but I'd like to make my yard more friendly to the local wildlife so I am looking at: penstemon, echinacea, another honeysuckle, some salvias and rudbeckias. Eventually. Also I want to collect some excess river rocks from the front "landscaping" (which is another story) and use them to outline the gravel patio/path areas. Oddly enough, right after I first got the gravel patio idea, I found a whole section on gravel as hardscaping on the Sunset magazine website.
http://www.sunset.com/sunset/garden/article/0,20633,1623709,00.html

2 comments:

Alana in Canada said...

Oh very cool! I love the idea of using gravel. The husband wants a surface he can shovel easily, though so we won't be using it.

I've been looking into rubber pavers and I'm quite excited about them, actually.

I'm going to beg for pictures. Especially f the Maple tree!

Anne (in Reno) said...

I'm on it! Pictures to come ASAP! When you mean a surface to shovel easily, you mean snow-wise during the winter, correct? Because this is areas we don't use when there is snow on the ground except once a week to put out the trash/recycling, so it doesn't ever need to get shoveled. I can see how that would be a pain to shovel without getting your surfaces all rucked up.