Remember back in April when I bravely shared photos of some of the, ahem, less attractive areas in my garden? If admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, than this month I completed my journey. Here are the results of my garden renovation.
Before: I salvaged an old fountain and painted it blue to create a focal point at the end of my shady side garden. A nice idea, but the area was perpetually overgrown and weedy.
After removing virtually all the plants plus two birch trees (thanks for the design advice InterLeafer!) Nick built this wall for me and attached it to the existing fence. A dry-laid mini-patio of Golden Splendor flagstone with Salmon Bay pebbles in the joints createsa floor for a new container garden.
I love the look of the black against the purple backdrop, so added a Black Adder Phormium as the focal point of this pot (with thanks to Patrick Fitzgerald for arranging to have Ryan and the wonderful folks at Pacific Plug and Liner give me several new plants to try out.) Can hardly wait until it gets bigger!
Initially, Nick was hesitant over the idea of painting a wall Grape Riot. And it didn't help when the guy at the paint store asked, "are you sure this is the color you want?" But he has since become a convert. The mirrors came in a set from Target, as did the picture frame, which I painted dark purple with craft paint. I initially went for a bolder look and although I like the apple green
it was too eye-catching, and detracted from the containers, so I toned it down.
Side yards like this are often overlooked, but in our tiny garden, every square foot counts. This view back to the patio shows where we sit in the evenings.
As you can see this is a primary view corridor, so having a space to look at that is fun and engaging with lots of great details was the main objective.
Along those lines, I wanted a pathway with a lot of personality, so instead of filling the joints with mulch or ground cover, I opted for a mix of groundcovers and pebbles and river rock in different sizes. I actually planted some plants in the pathway itself. This wouldn’t be practical if the path were used regularly, of course.
Same view, but this one shows the new water feature, a simple black pot, with another faux wall painted with grape riot.
Painting a wall is a great way to bring some color into a shade garden, and also provides a nice repeat of the feature wall, without making such a "look at me!" statement. FYI, a new water feature was not part of the original plan, nor was replacing the dull red 12" tile with 16" slate tiles laid on the diagonal. But as all you gardeners know, once you start ripping out and renovating, it's almost impossible to control yourself. The patio shape stayed the same, but this was a small change that made a big impact, both because the color is so much more subtle and sophisticated, and because the larger tile laid on the diagonal shows off the space much better.
I created a similar flagstone path on the other side of the garden.
It replaces a tiny lawn that was as beat-up as it was pointless. Both pathways are surrounded by berms, for visual interest, to improve drainage and to allow me to plant despite all the surface tree roots.
Before there wasn’t a clear focal point on this side of the yard.
Now Peace Lady has that honor. She looks particularly lovely lit up at night.
Part of the fun of creating this garden has been including colorful details, like this lantern
And a bright orange pot that keeps the mint contained. I’ve placed it to cover the acute angle (or fung shui poison arrow if you’re into that sort of thing) created by the new hardscapes coming together.
Another unexpected detail: a mosaic starfish nestled into the rocks in the paths.
So if you're wondering why I've been neglecting my blog lately, now you know it's because while the weather lasts, I'm spending every spare moment that I can in the garden.