February 2019 Garden Update

I had a personal request from über-gardener and plant authority Nance Klehm requesting an update on what’s going on in our garden. So here you go Nance.

A lot like the first step in Alcoholics Anonymous we admitted that we are powerless over doing garden design work ourselves and sought out the help of a design professional, Haynes Landscaping, to come up with a plan and do the hardscaping that we never seemed to be able to get to. Last year, while I focused my attention on the inside of the house, a team of very capable workers removed an ugly patio and put in a new one. In the process of that work we discovered a rotted sill plate that needed replacement and some other structural problems that delayed the project but the patio was finally finished late last year. The Haynes folks will return to install a rain garden fed by the back gutters of our house, replace a failed retaining wall in the front yard, fix the drip irrigation and install some lighting. We will also take out one of two junky pecan trees growing along the fence line.

If I could step into a time machine and advise my former self, back in 1998, about what to do with our yard I would say this:

  • Be bold. Remove any trees that are in the wrong place, too big or just plain ugly. Then plant trees that either feed native wildlife (such as oak) or provide fruit. Think carefully about their placement.
  • Do all hardscaping first and build it out of durable materials. Those retaining walls that failed in the front yard are wood and only lasted 15 years.
  • If you don’t know what your doing hire a professional. It think this would have actually saved money over the years due to hasty and poorly thought out amateur landscaping attempts.

If our house was not on a hill I would also seriously consider adding a granny flat to the backyard to provide rental housing and/or space for aging relatives.

I’ll post more pictures when the work is done and/or in progress. The photo above is somewhat deceptive and doesn’t show all the junk and weeds in the rest of the yard. That said, we are thankful for the rain that has made everything lush even if there’s a lot more work to do.

I did manage to make a new gate, based on a design by the English architect C.F.A. Voysey.

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  1. A WONDERLAND TO GAZE AT AND MEANDER THROUGH from the ice shelf called the upper midwest. The rains have been a gift to you !
    Snip! Snip! I feel a salad coming on…

  2. Wow! I am very impressed. It all looks fantastic. I am interested in seeing your front slope when it is done. That front would be a big problem for me. I had a back slope when I lived in the foothills and it was NO Fun and difficult to grow anything on. Not to mention slipping down trying to weed it.
    Meanwhile keep posting the pictures. And your good advise.

    • Our front slope is a mess and difficult to work with. And, yeah, weeding is treacherous. What’s sad is that we’re going to have to rip out a bunch of plants to fix the three retaining walls that failed. Those walls were built out of pressure treated timbers, by the way.

  3. Pingback: Garden Update Part II: The Good the Bad and a Lot of Ugly | Root Simple

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