The natural landscaping encourages plenty of wild birds - making it really nice to sit and enjoy or grill out. I started with not much back here at all and defined garden areas with rocks I have picked up on the side of the road. Of course, I have spent real money on rocks too - all part of being a homeowner! There is a path in the garden I made of broken roof tiles from an incredible house built by two women escaping from Hitler. I hiked down into the L.A. canyon and carried a couple of hundreds of pounds out. The tiles are wonderffully worn - they had been walked on by adventurers hiking down in the canyon for over forty years.
New Additions - built them all myself!
I laid the concrete base for the hot tub and sided it with hand sanded cedar boards. Then I built the deck and rounded out the fire pit. It cooks perfect marshmallows and warms up the night on those few cool Houston nights.
I later replaced the old existing deck - it had become quite slick on rainy days.
I really hate the bushes on the sides of my house. They are not very attractive and when you clip them they grow back horrible red shoots. So, I am cutting them all down and replacing them with natural wild plantings. Which really make the rock borders more enjoyable. Only problem - one of the racks of bushes I removed, left a big white gaping wall. So I painted an old soda sign on the wall - ties in nicely with the back of the house and adds more ambiance to the sitting garden off the back of the new deck.
So again with the red tips... another was sacrificed, but for quite a worthy cause. I have never cared for the particular bush in question and often times considered planting a vegetable garden in its place. But it is up close to the house and vegetable gardens, although quite useful, provide no ambience. Besides, I have always succeeded better when I grow my vegetables in containers. Multiple trips to Japan and these wonderful rain chains I had picked up led me to finally see the corner's destiny. With a hand built bridge (of course by me), my neighbor's discarded pond shell, and $15 pump I was on my way. The large rock was another story - but I must say you can get a lot of favors from the delivery guys with a bit of cold hard cash. Then came the trip to get the lanterns... Still need to locate the smaller diameter bamboo poles to finish out my fence - but I, along with the tree frogs, are really enjoying it!
Wow - an update is needed!
It has been two years since I planetd the Japanese garden and I can say it has really filled out... perhaps even a bit overgrown at the moment! In fact, some of the ferns have started dotting the left edge of the next area mingling with the blue daze and mexican heather adding wonderful height. The japanese influence has continued and also transformed my front entry. The frogs really love the water!
Now... the last batch of red tips met their demise back in March. This time highly motivated, after massacring them with the chainsaw, I dug them out by their roots! That was a lot of work! I widened the bed a bit and planted a slew of wild, natural flowing plants – funded by my tax return! On the left is how it looked the day I planted it… most notably the spiraea, an iris, some bluebonnets, a low to the ground bougenvia, and a Texas Passion Flower. And on the right - after just two months the potato vines have filled the bed completely and you can even see the passion flower poking out three feet away from where it is planted. I also moved the little bench near the garden as you enter the back yard gate. The hose is wrapped around some old piece of farm equipment. Needless to say, that potato vine will be planted in my other front beds!
As for that little sitting area in the backyard... it has undergone a bit of change as well. With the addition of two new metal tables and an AMAZINGLY large water feature, it is starting to come together. I had to load this fountain into my car alone - it is big, but it's hollow - well it is a whole lot heavier than it looks! Check out my blog for that story!
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Susan N. Freeman
LAST UPDATE: 4 JUN 07