Our outdoor living space is ‘in transition’…to put it politely. But we recently completed what we’d like to call ‘phase one’ of our landscaping –far from the finished look, all about creating some structure, and making things neater. Here’s our side patio, way back.
We love the original concrete. We don’t like the not-so-Cali trees, and the patchy, weed-filled lawn –it’s the ‘rainy season’ and it hasn’t rained for weeks, so a lawn just isn’t sustainable. For starters, we’re reducing its size, by defining some planting areas, like this one.
And this section, alongside our master. Initially, most people assume this is where our yard ends, but there’s a whole other (larger) yard through that gap. We decided to remove the fence, to connect the two spaces. But first, we confronted our secret shame…
…this pile of junk, on the other side –carpet, tile, bits of wood etc. removed from the house during the last year. Lucky for us, the city allows two free junk collections per year, so just the small matter of hauling it to the curb.
Pre-pickup, a few passers-by took some bits to re-purpose, which is good. I hope the city recycles at least some of the rest. We did consider transporting it ourselves, but our MINI Cooper isn’t the ideal vehicle. And you can’t beat free. Here’s the money shot.
With the fence gone, the space opens up, allowing a view of the back yard. We also defined this border, removed the trees, and planted two windmill palms –on reflection, we should have bought them bigger. But they’ll get there…eventually.
Our landscaping plan (and there is a plan, honest) is more about structure than planting. We just buy plants we like the look of. We consider the amount of sun and water they’ll need, but our main priority is looks. On that, somewhat shallow, note, we couldn’t resist these two.
You don’t see agave where we’re from, or palm trees for that matter –probably why we gravitate to them. It’s always puzzled us that so many people here prefer the English country garden look –we just don’t think it fits Eichlers, or California.
In the right-hand border (above) we planted variegated Baumea –it likes water, but it does get ‘boggy’ in this spot…when we do get rain. We also added spiky grasses in-between the windmill palms. Oh, and a ton of ‘salt and pepper’ rock.
In the distance, our nomadic umbrella plants. Here’s a closer look. After a month or so (notice the leaf infiltration) they seem pretty happy here, and have room to spread –we’re hoping they go crazy come spring…though we may regret saying that.
We had some rock already, but needed more –enter Cascade Rock. This place has a cool mid-century vibe (check the decorative block), a huge rock selection (as you’d hope) and lots of other landscaping materials. We’ll definitely return for ‘phase two’.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (always wanted to say that) things were looking pretty tidy. Here’s a view of our (now gray) house. These benches are actually loungers, donated by our über-generous ex-neighbors, Clyde and Michael –thanks guys!
A little later, we added this yucca, another donation from neighbors, Kelly & G –thanks guys! He’s just bedding-in and, despite looking a little shabby, seems to be doing just fine. We’ll remove the lower leaves shortly, and he should thrive here.
We also added rock to the front, and we plan on planting here too –maybe agave, with a flash of color, fronting the cinder-block. To the left, probably two/three queen palms. And we’ll slay that
evil leaning tree.
Sick of rock yet? We were by now, but we added yet more beside this path to our entrance. We also transplanted (pun intended) this sun-scorched flax –formerly it lived in the pic above. Our planned fence/secondary front door will run just behind its new spot.
Here’s the view looking back towards the street. I realize all this rock looks plain but it’s much neater than before, and a nice blank canvas. That’s our neighbor’s royal blue roofline, by the way. We don’t dig looking at it, or the industrial-sized AC unit and ductwork on the roof.
We see it all from here, and from our kitchen window (below). Our bottlebrush/maple combo does little to conceal it. We need a more dense screen, so (long-term) we’d like to add tall planting, extending above the fence. Not sure what –clumping bamboo maybe?
Either way, we’ll definitely add a lot more green on both sides of the path. Some planters would fit here too –to the right of the door, for starters, and maybe beside the window. And (as I keep saying) we’ll get that fountain working come spring.
We also put rock in a couple of backyard spots. First, this long thin strip, running alongside the unpainted rear of our house. We’ll be adding a row of golden barrel cactus here –beats the ugly bush thing that was here.
Second, this spot, home to our sorry-looking bird of paradise. It’s been touch and go for these guys, but they’re finally showing signs of life. We also ‘rescued’ a neighbor’s flax (thanks for the donation, Zann!) and planted it on the end. It’ll live too.
That’s the gate leading to our courtyard entrance, and we’ll remove it when we add the front fence/door I’ve mentioned. Okay, nothing amazing but definitely progress. We’ll revisit the outdoor space in a month or so. Before that, I need to share some indoor projects…