Monday, August 18, 2008

Gone with the Lawn

At my house we have been in the process of renovating the exterior for many months. This work required that we move many plants both to make way for change (a new patio) and to keep them out of harm’s way. Sadly, because the renovation took so much longer than expected, some of the plants in the nursery didn’t survive Georgia’s drought and watering restrictions. However, now that the worst of work on the house is complete, I’m finally able to get into the yard and work on the landscaping in earnest.

For the front yard we have decided that growing grass is a losing proposition. There is too little sun. And without the ability to irrigate (due to the drought) there is too much competition from large maple and crepe myrtle trees.

Instead we are going to create a combination woodland and cottage style garden. The entire front yard will become one big garden (see the mulch) with paths running through. As I mentioned in my Inkslinger Chronicles blog post this week, we are creating rustic paths with leftover brick and pavers made of concrete and pea gravel.

In the shady areas we will plant fern, hosta, cardinal flower and other shade loving herbaceous plants, along with some native shrubs such as azaleas, hydrangeas, and sweet shrub. In the tiny corner of the yard that receives several hours of sun each day, I have already planted a rose bush, a couple of peonies, several varieties of flocks, some Route 66 day lilies, and one of my favorites, bee balm. I’m also thinking about a short wrought iron fence across the front – probably just knee high – to give the space more definition.

After the 9/11 tragedy many people were talking about the increase of American flags flying on front porches – ours included. I decided to take that a step further and create a color garden (red, white and blue). Now I have a chance to do that on a larger scale.

As with all gardens, this will be more of an evolution than a revolution, but at least I have some of the bones in place (paths and some shrubs). I’ll wait for cooler weather and the hope of fall and winter rains to plant more.

Some of the bones are in place for the back yard landscape as well. The patio is finally complete, and I have started to lay new edging and paths. Many of the plants are in position, but the whole is lacking in fullness and a couple of tons of mulch. Hopefully by spring both the front and back yards will be lush and worthy of photographs.