Sunday, June 1, 2008

The state of things to come (with pictures!)

This is the patio that needs some love. It is fully functional and frequently used, but it used to have AstroTurf all over it so at this point it is covered with adhesive and green paint and is highly unattractive. This is the view out the sliding glass door. I am wondering if it will be too dim to have pots of plants in the left-hand corner (not in the picture) as there is roof over this area.

This is the view from the right of the patio. And this was today's project: I am trying to outline the potential gravel paths and patios with a rock border. The front yard has an excess of river rocks so I am just swiping them from there (that is also why they look a bit on the small side). On the left are the plants I added today, some penstemon and salvia for the birds and a honeysuckle to start covering up that little iron fence thing. I have been advised that the little iron fences are nice because they separate that part of the patio from the rest of the yard, so I am planning on covering them with vines. I want to make a second little zone in front of the nearer section of iron fence but that backs up to the barbecue so I worry it would get too hot. But the lone tiny sagebrush seems to be doing just fine.
This is the view off of the corner of the patio. Shrubs are doing well, catmint is going bananas (the lighter purple stuff). The soaker hose will eventually be disentangled and run through here so I don't have to water these by hand.This is around the corner (you see a bit of it from the patio but not most of it, you can barely see the end of the patio in the bottom left corner of this picture). There is a short sidewalk off the other corner of the patio that leads to the gate, but for some reason the A/C unit is in the middle of the sidewalk. So the path will go around the A/C and connect to the little bit of sidewalk on the other side. The only question is should the gravel patio go all the way to the concrete patio on this side? Or should there be another little perennial bed in between (against the last little section of iron fence)? In the center, in front of the wheelbarrow, are my tiny raised beds. I am thinking now I should have built real ones instead of using the "pile of dirt" method, but so far everything seems relatively happy...This is looking in the opposite direction - taking a right when you come off of the patio. This will probably be a continuation of that path, I'd like to stick a tree in on the left as it would improve the view out those windows immensely, but that's not in the budget right now. Also, there's that nice maple. And some ivy and roses that are surviving on their own so I am ignoring them. They will eventually get cleaned up so they can look like they're part of the side-of-path flowerbed area. Same with the right side, if I can solve the hose issue.This is where the theoretical second gravel patio would go. Buckets are from the freak week of rain we had - I've been watering the plants with rainwater for a week or so now, I'm finally running out so they will disappear soon. This is also the water dilemma - in the right hand corner (of course I cut it out of the picture) is the only hose bib FOR THE ENTIRE BACKYARD. I will be discussing this with a plumber to see if he can hook into the pipe under the house and add one on the side by the A/C unit or somewhere in that vicinity. Right now the hose must run through three potential flowerbed-type areas in order to reach the veggies (clever, that, lot of forethought there). This will be secondary gravel patio area with more seating and eventually something shrubby to soften the lines of all that brick (junipers or something evergreen that won't need water, most likely interspersed with some prettier stuff someday).And that's a better view of the maple. I want a hammock under that tree. I'm not worried about much else past that, the left side will probably get more junipers since the neighbor's (hanging over the fence) seems to be very happy and there are always lots of birds in it. They also love to pick through the stuff that the juniper sheds (left side, on the ground) so the gravel won't be going over there. The middle area is basically sand and is reasonably level so it won't be too bad to just cover it with some gravel and edge it with rocks, I don't have to put down a sand layer and compact it because it's already there :)

Also, around the corner is the compost pile, but it's not doing much right now because Matt filled it with juniper when he pruned the shrubs in the front. I have been systematically removing it.


Alana in Canada said...

i'm having a hard time visualizing the area where you plan to put the gravel patio, so I'm not sure where there should be a path. Is there something you can plant to hide that AC unit? Maybe put up some trellis and grow something on that?

I am astonished that anything grows in all that sand. That's incredible. I think you're doing extremely well. And that Maple is amazing! Amazing! You MUST put a hammock underneath.

Anne (in Reno) said...

The A/C unit kind of needs to be able to breathe, we're supposed to keep it clean and unencumbered, as I understand it. Also, it is concrete on two sides and wall on a third, so anything to hide it would be directly in the only available path of travel to get to the gate. Bleah.

And it's not bad sand, honestly. It's not like a sandbox, more like the cactus mix you buy to plant your succulents in (if you're fancy like that). Soil is composed of three parts - sand (chunky inorganic matter), clay (very fine inorganic matter) and loam (organic matter). This is sandy enough that the clay doesn't turn to adobe like it does when I try to plant stuff in my parents' yard. But their is enough clay and loam so that it is actually easy to dig in and stuff seems to do relatively well in it (well, so far).

And, yes, hammock, definitely. I just wonder if I need to hang it from the tree to a post (thus, put in a big post somewhere) or if it would be easier to get the kind that comes on its own stand (thus, more $$$).

Anne (in Reno) said...

Oh, except succulents freeze here.

zooza said...

Oh, wow - I'm looking forward to watching your progress with this. What a great 'virgin' plot. And that maple is amazing - definitely a hammock.

You've got me thinking about water access, too. We don't have a hose point, so I'm going to be investigating small water butts, as we do have rain.