Backyard makeover, part 3

We’ve had plenty of time to sew up our backyard makeover, and indeed, it is almost a wrap. Eric and I have been working diligently on this project since we returned from our Arizona vacation in mid-April. The final touches may well be in place by the time I finish writing this post (because it takes me forever to crank out a blog post).

For weeks, our backyard looked like a plant sale at a construction site.

Plants on a patio table and construction items in background.

This view made me feel a little overwhelmed, but we’ve worked our way through all of it.

These two hombres supervise. Chex looks tough, doesn’t he?

I busted my hump creating the rain garden, but I got to know my chiropractor better. The garden is dug, rocked, planted, mulched, decorated, and lit. Duke has dug it up at least five times, despite our (obviously too-wimpy) protective wire fencing. I have uttered many four-letter words as I replanted the poor, abused plants. Gotta admire Duke’s determination, though.

I especially enjoy the new view from our bedroom window. So do the cats … one is often on the windowsill.

Silhouette of cat on windowsill.

Ginger keeps an eye on our progress from the bedroom.

Here are some in-progress photos.

River rock being installed in a landscaping dry creekbed.

During construction: Laying out the bigger rocks. I sort of bowled them into place to achieve a random scatter.

River rock installed in landscape dry creekbed.

Large and smaller river rock is in.

Dry creekbed garden

From another angle.

We use the narrow, fenced side yard (through the gate in the photos above) to store large items like aluminum ladders and wheelbarrows … but how to get there across that creekbed? Eric built a beautiful, gently arched Japanese-style bridge that will make it easy—and safe—to haul awkward items and wheelbarrow loads across the creek. The area under the gate’s swing is paved with flagstones.

A gently arched bridge spans a dry creek bed.

A gently arched bridge spans the dry creek bed.

Most things in the woodland garden in the back corner of the yard are thriving, although Diggety Duke had his way with a few unfortunate plants there, as well. The sword ferns are going bonkers. Eric and I picked out the gorgeous lantern in the corner for our ninth anniversary present.

Ferns, birch tree and Japanese lantern in corner of backyard.

The back corner is ferny.

While I rocked and planted (and replanted), Eric was busy doing his own heavy work. He restacked the veggie garden wall and filled the garden with new soil. (We’d used some of the old soil to build up the woodland garden after the fence was built.) Veggies are sprouting! We’re growing radishes, onions, garlic, carrots, spinach, parsnips, turnips, and rutabagas. (Does anyone else call them “rootabeggers” from childhood?) In the containers are bush beans and peas, Swiss chard, sweet peppers, and pickling cukes. On our deck are cherry tomatoes, Interlaaken grapes, a fig tree with 16 little figgies, and a lovely lemon tree (with teeny-weeny fruit!).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ll leave details about the greenhouse refurbishment for a future post. You’re gonna love it! (I do!)

Over on the deck, I couldn’t resist buying this set of lime-green chairs to compliment agave Maria in her red pot. I resurrected a Midcentury hairpin table base out of the garage and painted it and a new table top to complete the set. I like the bright colors.

Green webbing deck chairs with red pot.

Green chairs and red pot.

Green webbing deck chairs with rec and green small table.

…and the table. (Color is washed out in this shot. The chairs match the table rim.)

Tuxedo cat curled up in a pot.

My favorite potted plant.

Just inside the gate to the alley, Eric wrestled with 60-lb concrete turf blocks to create a secure parking spot for a car or our utility trailer, should we want to get them off the street. Once the grass grows in, these pavers will be less visible. (See how nice the window wall of the greenhouse looks?)

Turf blocks being laid in backyard.

A heavy job.

He also relaid and raised the brick apron leading from the alley under the gate, and created flat areas for our garbage, recycling, and yard waste receptacles.

Brick pavers under a fence gate.

Eric lessened the slope of the brick apron from the alley into our yard.

Alley with fence and garbage receptacles.

On the alley side, it’s all business.

In total, we’ve moved over 5000 pounds of soil, rock, mulch, and pavers—most of it multiple times. We are tired. But we are happy.

To finish off our design, we installed some landscape lighting. Small solar lights shine down from the tops of the fence posts, and solar lanterns punctuate the garden. I added a few spotlights to highlight trees, and Eric installed a solar light in the tall lantern. It’s a little fairyland at night!

The murky nighttime photos are from my phone, but you get the idea …

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’re pleased with the results of all our work, but as any gardener knows, the work is never done.

I’ll close with a couple of Eric’s shots.

Rain garden with hostas and Japanese maple.

The view from the bridge.

Two blue glass fishing floats among hostas in a rain garden.

Blue glass Japanese fishing floats in our rain garden.

Green ginkgo leaf with 1913 - 2013 below it


19 thoughts on “Backyard makeover, part 3

  1. Barbara H.

    Gosh, I am SO impressed. You’ve done a lot of work and created a wonderful garden area. Congratulations on a job well done!

  2. Nine Dark Moons

    “a plant sale at a construction site” – LOL!!!!!!!!!!!
    in the first picture, what are the yellow fluffy things under the palm tree leaves? some kind of fruit?
    i LOVE how the creek bed came out – the placement of those bigger rocks is genius! and the bridge is amazing 🙂 and the lantern – beautiful.
    love how your new/old table came out, too – amazing with the chairs!
    love the kitty in the pot – soooo cute 🙂
    wow! you guys have been BUSY!!! looks amazing. all of it. can’t wait to hear about the greenhouse upgrade – the windows looks awesome.
    your solar lights look like fireflies! *jealous*
    great job x100000!

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Thanks, Alison! Those yellow things on the palm are its blooms. They ripen into tiny black seeds that fall and cover the ground. They look cutest when they first come out … scraggly later.

  3. Cathy Lee

    What creative solutions to several problem areas, including those turf pavers to do double duty. I look forward to sitting on your deck, drinking wine and eating those figs! Totally worth the chiropractor 😊

      1. Cathy Lee

        Will welcome just sitting down 😊 do not know what I was thinking when I signed up for these races. Connecticut tomorrow then done. Nuts.

  4. Tom & Judy Huppert

    Will you two come landscape our backyard? I know how hard that work is, but I also know you all love doing it. You should have a great sense of accomplishment and be proud of the end result. Your labors were well worth it and the chiropractor. Sorry we won’t see you in Sept.

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Thanks, T&J! I would love to do a desert landscape–I absolutely love desert plants. Wish we could meet up in Sept. My allergies just can’t put up with MN in June anymore!

  5. Donna O.

    Your backyard looks gorgeous! The plant arrangements, rockery, wood bridge that Eric made over the creekbed – all so beautiful. lAlso like the colorful chairs and painted table. You guys are landscaping pros! Why would you ever want to leave that place – that looks like a dream house to me.

  6. D'Arcy H Post author

    Thanks, Donna! Well, it’s not quite a dream home, but it’s comfy and cozy, and I could probably stay until they carried me out in a pine box. But, old houses are hard to take care of, and we’re not getting any younger! It’s fun to keep improving things, though. We’ll never stop!

  7. Jo

    The dry stream bed is gorgeous. It really sets off the plants behind. I know it was a tedious job “bowling” boulders. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music


Don't be shy! Leave a comment--I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s