Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Backyard Chronicles: A History

I've written before about the undeveloped state of the backyard when I bought this house. Unfortunately, I don't have a "before" picture (because it was nothing anyone would want a picture of!), but here is a representation:
The brown area is DIRT! The bright green is grass that migrated from the neighbor's yard. The top left area is sort of a wild area with small trees.
Since then: The magnolia was very sickly, so we had it cut down. The concrete stairs had migrated away from the back door, so we had a deck put in above them. Scott also installed a chain-link fence for the dog, and built raised beds for me. We put compost bins in the wild area, and otherwise left it as-is for small animal habitat. We put in a couple of beds, edged for now in spare brick.
The yard was looking better, and the grass was slowly spreading, but the dirt was still a big problem. The yard has poor drainage, which is not only annoying, but very bad for our poor foundation. We installed a sort of french drain in one really bad area (it was impossible to give it an outlet, so it has a deep hole at the "end" filled with rocks), and decided to try growing grass in another. We put in 50 blocks of sod today, which made a significant dent in the field of dirt. Scott decided that it would be fun to put in a small fish pond as well:
Here is the raised bed area viewed from the top right of the diagrams above:
The raised bed area from in front of the compost area:
Towards compost area from edge of new grassy area:
Toward house from in front of compost area:
Old herb area in one of the raised beds:
...moved to next to the new grassy area this weekend (see beer bottle garden in background):
Partially-sunk 100-gallon pre-formed pond liner in the ground:
Same surrounded by 50 blocks of St. Augustine sod:
Same from a different angle:
The next step is to add rock edging around the pond, and some plants in and out of the pond. We'll get a pump/filter and a few goldfish after that. We may add some more sod to the remaining dirt area eventually, depending on how well this does. Or we may just let this and the grass in the other part of the yard meet in the middle!
Advice is welcome!!!


Janet said...

You have made some great changes in your yard Ginger. I feel for you with the lack of dirt and having a dog (or three!) The sod is so nice once it is in, isn't it? We sodded our back to get the grass down as seed kept getting run over my the stampede of the doggies.
Is the other yard St. Augustine as well? If not --does having a mix of grasses bother you? I have Bermuda and it runs, so I use Round-up about once a month. Cutting height and weed control chemicals (if you use them) can be different for different grasses.
Does you dog think the pond is a giant water bowl? Mine drinks out of the bird bath.

Susie said...

Ginger, it's fun to watch the progression of your yard. You guys have certainly made some big changes.

In regard to your comments on my blog regarding your Limelight, if it is drooping, how often are you watering? Is it soil that drains pretty good? Since we haven't had rain in the last few days I'm already watering mine. A couple of times mine had wilted and I thought I had killed it from not watering.

As far as blooming, it has one tiny bloom. That's disappointing but hopefully next year it will be much better.

We don't sell the type of water plants you need for this pond. We sell the kind you actually plant. We don't have any in stock now. We won't again til next year. It seems no one sell the floating types.

Heather said...

You two have been a busy couple! I love it when people post wide shots of what their gardens actually look like and not just pretty blooms all the time! The big picture is what you see in real life~ I can't wait to see the pond project finished. How fun to have gold fish in your pond.

Ginger said...

Janet - we didn't even try seed first because I knew it wouldn't work with the dog. Yes, he immediately went and drank out of the pond!!! The other grass is St. Augustine, but we don't care about grasses mixing -- any grass is better than dirt! There are three kinds growing in the front yard - LOL.

Susie - I was wondering if I might have watered the limelight too much. The other two hydrangeas I bought from GW at the same time are doing GREAT. All have gotten the same amount of water and light. Hmm....

Heather - I also really appreciate it when people show imperfect areas of their gardens/yards - it makes me feel so much better about our obstacles. Still, it was a little embarrassing to post these!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

You've done so much since you moved in. Isn't it fun to look back at how it used to be? I bet the former owners would be surprised. It's looking great. How fun you're putting in a pond. You will love it, it adds a whole new dimension to gardening with the plants you can use to the wildlife it will attract.

Dirt Princess said...

I LOVE your drawings! Great job! Ya'll have both worked so hard in the yard, and it is really paying off! I can't wait to see it this time next year!