Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lucy's finally getting a garden

No, it isn't fall, just leftover leaves from last year.
After being back in the house for a year and three months, we are finally ready to get going on the yard project. We've had a conceptual design since before we even hired an architect to do the house renovation. John is so garden crazy that he wanted to put the garden cart before the house renovation-horse. But when we realized how important the geometry of the addition would be to determining the geometry of the yard, we had to put those on the shelf for about five years.

In future posts I will talk more about the design process and how we got to where we are today, but for now, I just wanted to get the BEFORE pictures on record. In less than two weeks we will begin demolition and by the end of the month we will have seven hornbeams installed with the rest of the site grading, hardscape, irrigation, lighting, and planting to follow that.

Although the garden is more John's bag than mine, by a long shot, his interest and knowledge has sharpened and amplified my own interest in gardens and gardening. My mom and two of her siblings are natural born gardeners, so it does run in my blood, but with John around I get to be more of an observer than a doer.

Whatever I lack in creativity, skill, or knowledge, I make up for in destructive energy and organization. After so many years contemplating all of this work, it is suddenly upon us and we needed to get our act together. One of the things we had to do was clean out the old shed that is being demolished and decide which of the pots and other garden equipment would be kept.

Aside from the house and driveway, nothing will look the same in three months. The 60-year old privet hedge has seen better days and will replaced by a new yew hedge. 

The weird shaped bed that we inherited will be replaced with something that
makes much more sense and will have a partner bed on the other side of the front yard.

The curvy front walk will be replaced with a straight one and the paving material will be a thermal finish bluestone.
The shed goes away and the neighbor's fence gets covered up with a new fence just on the inside of our property line.

The old privet hedge is in even worse shape back here. It, and the chain link will be replaced by new wood fencing.

The downspouts will be channeled into underground drainage pipes so the long black snakes will be gone. The existing chain link gate at the front side of the porch (hard to see in this picture) will be replace with wood picket and an arched trellis.
This shed has looked like it was going to fall over since the day we moved in, but it has been surprisingly sturdy and roomy. The bluestone steps will be reused as paving in various parts of the yard.

I call this area 'the back 40'. It used to be home to a swing set and prior to that a swimming pool. As a result, there was planting in front of it that has always served as a visual block that made this part of the yard a bit of a no go zone. Our new plans, and the removal of the shed will give our yard the feeling of more depth.

Since we were taking up precious yard with a new garage, we made sure it was a cute as possible so that it would look like a little cottage or carriage house and serve as a nice background for the garden.

When we cleaned out the shed I found this bit of natural taxidermy. We think he tried to crawl up the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot and got stuck. He is so well preserved, but it makes me a little weepy.

We think this may have been part of the rest of him.

Lots to choose from come planting season.

This desiccated fellow didn't make me as sad as the previous one.

Lots of garden shed stuff that needs to be sorted and organized. The retaining wall on the right will have a wood fence above it with new ground cover and holly on the neighbor's side.


  1. Wow--so cool. I'm dreaming of a landscape revival myself, so it's fun to see/hear your ideas. Your plan is spot on........Can't wait to watch the transformation!

    1. I'm just glad the revival won't take as long as the house.

  2. The neighbors wood fence in the 4th picture is what Bob and I always refer to as an 'F.U. fence'with the back side facing the neighbor. Can't wait to see it all come together.

    1. Kind of wish we could have them take it down after ours goes up. Hate the notion that stuff is going to grow in between the two.

  3. What did Lucy think of your furry friends?

  4. We didn't let Lucy see the carcasses. She was just fine with sticks.

  5. Poor little mouse in the pot. Great idea with the new garage...taking notes and looking forward to following your progress.