March 11, 2009

Backyard Progress

Filed under: House — maryparadox @ 10:49 pm
2564folsom.yard2.jpg 2564folsom.yard3.jpg 2564folsom

Here are the promo shots of the backyard from when we bought the house. When we first moved in the backyard had an overly-staged look — everything was covered in wood chips, there were a bunch of new plants randomly distributed and everything was sharp and clean. Nothing seemed very well thought out — there were a bunch of bushes placed right on the central walkway where they would eventually grow large enough to block the path, an abundance of mystery citrus (4 trees in a little tiny yard), and did a I mention all the wood chips?

We have a couple of goals in redesigning the back yard:

  • Make it feel larger and make the view from the house nice.
  • Grow food.
  • Make a nice space to sit and relax.
  • Make it “overgrown” (goal from Peter, of course).

The plan for addressing these goals is:

  • Have plants close to the house and in the center of the yard be short, then let things in the back and along the fence-line be taller.
  • Put in planter boxes in the sunniest area for food plants and replace any non-edible plants with edible ones if possible.
  • Try to break the yard up into squares, rather than one long rectangle. (I’ve always found that how big a room feels is proportional to the size of the largest empty square).
  • Buy more plants(!), which we haven’t gotten to yet because spring is just coming up.

Peter and I have done a couple of projects so far along the lines of this plan. We planted grapes along the back fence. One day I went crazy and espaliered the Camelia. Then one weekend Peter and I moved the meyer lemon tree. I’m happy to say it is still doing well.


Lemony happiness.

When we moved the meyer lemon tree we also narrowed the path in the back yard — I showed the areal photos of this before, and now I have a third photo to show — the yard with the “new” planter boxes (as you can see I have a different lens on my camera now).

2008.12.25.0005 2008.12.25.0053 20090308-930

We cut the existing planter box into three pieces horizontally, trimmed one end off, and turned them 90 degrees. I was afraid the planters would make the yard feel smaller (always a concern with a 15′ wide yard), but it feels bigger. I like the way we managed to keep the plants where the planter boxes went — we just buried them a little bit.

The plan now is level off the back third of the yard, lay down some stone re-purposed from another area to form a patio, and ring it with bushy and climbing plants. We will of course be planting our vegetables soon too! As for trees, we have a kumquat tree we still need to plant and I really want to get an apricot tree. Maybe I’ll get one (early) for my birthday (hint hint).

And here are some gratuitous close ups, just because I’m so proud of us:

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