Friday, July 29, 2011

Side Yard

First of all let me say thanks for all the deck suggestions. I think I have a game plan and I can't wait to execute it in...October or at least when it cools down. Until then I am going to stop being embarrassed about the deck and actually entertain more outside.

So onto today, I have the long story of our side yard and how fast shrubs grow...

talk about embarrassing- I actually had several parties with the yard like this

When we moved in our house 2 years ago our back yard was fenced in with chain link and we had a little deck off the kitchen that wasn't in the fence. We wanted it in the fence so Claire could spend time with us while we were outside. So we decided to fence in the side yard with a wood privacy fence.

You can see in the first picture (which was taken the first time we drove by the house July 2008) the left side of the house doesn't have the fence. In the second pic you can see the addition.

The side yard started out weedy grassy. We left it this way until we decided how to landscape.

We knew that the area wasn't big enough for grass, plants, and a purpose and since it wasn't covered I didn't want to waste the space with a table sitting in the hot sun. After looking out the kitchen window at ugliness for too long Eric cleared out all the weeds and we came up with a plan.

We wanted to have landscape around the perimeter and gravel in the middle with chairs and a fire pit. Eric put down the black lining to keep annoying weeds out of the gravel. We had some flagstone left over from our front walkway so he broke them up and used as a border,cementing the stones into place. We do wish we raised the flagstone a bit because it would be easier to sweep the pine straw off of it.

We filled it in with gravel instead of water-should have made it a little pool. We finally found gravel that I was happy with at Lowes. We learned if you buy the bags with a rip they are half off and still usually full of gravel since they place them in clear garbage bags. Score!

For the shrubs we kept it simple and used Niko hydrangeas, loropetalum, gardenias and double knockout roses. I really wanted to have some green out there even during the winter enter loropetalum & gardenia.

Ok sorry about that ridiculous picture which was taken as a joke but it is the only one we have of the plants right when they were planted. Last summer it was so hot and dry we had to cut back the hydrangeas to save them, but they all came back this year. Eric did end up irrigating the area which is great because we haven't lost any plants this summer. He just used a simple irrigation system bought at Lowes.

What a difference a year makes! Look how big our plants have grown. This was taken before we cut the knockout roses down to half the plant, they were taking over! The hydrangeas are getting too big for the space so they will be transplanted to the back yard.

We have since added day lilies, native grasses, cone flowers, lavender and some blackeyed suzies. I have an OBSESSION with clearance perennials at Lowes. Seriously it make me happier than anything in the summer when I see cone flowers for $1 so that is when we buy our perennials.

I stained our adirondak chairs with outdoor stain and love the way they look, although they did get a little banged up during a hail store. I love to sit in the chairs and read.

We were originally going to take down the chain link fence between the side/deck and main backyard. Once we moved in and spent time in the backyard we liked the barrier and being able to close it off to Claire.

While functional, the chain link fence was ugly and in bad shape. Much to Eric's dismay he and my dad took down the chain link and put up the picket fence. I wasn't aware of some issues with a gate and the wood fence so long story short we no longer have the gates to shut Claire out. That sort of defeaters the purpose of a fence but the landscaping was already set so we had to have some sort of border. And it looks so much better than the beat up chainlink.

Forget the gates, what we really need is a fence around my little garden. Claire likes to help herself to the veggies, squash is her favorite.

Unfortunately it is very hot during the summer and the skeeters are rampant so we don't get to use the space very much. Come fall we will use the space more.

We are almost finished with the backyard, we just have the shrubs in the back non-sodded part of the yard. Eric planted 20 hydrangeas! & 3 dogwood trees this week in the back part but hopefully by fall he will spec the rest of the shrubs and our backyard will be complete.

Hope you all have a great weekend! Football practice starts next week so it is pretty much our Eric's last free weekend until December :(


Red Gate Farm said...

Loving your yard! And I love the little picket fence even if it's mostly for looks.... Our dogs get into our veggie garden too, mostly for the carrots. We just purchased rolls of vintage looking wire fencing (for my birthday) to put around our veggie garden mostly for looks but it will keep the dogs out too!

Your plantings around your side yard look fabulous. I can't believe you get that much growth in one year! We're a lot slower around these parts!


Kat said...

Oh wow, Vanessa! Love it all--the picket fence, the Adirondack chairs, all the lush greenery--it looks amazing! All your hard work has certainly paid off.

skye @ neathering our fest said...

I love your little yard Vanessa! It looks like a nice peaceful place to read a book in November when the temps finally drop below 70. :)

Totally off the subject - do you watch the TV show Bones? Just curious - you look just like the girl that plays Angela Montenegro in that show. It just hit me today! :) Hope you have a great weekend!

hartmom said...

Love your yard Vanessa, and extremely jealous of your big! Can't seem to get them to grow out here...too dry I think. Your whole outdoor space is looking fantastic. Can't wait to see what plants you come up with in the backyard. How is your sod doing?

And woohoo to college football getting going! We are counting the days! I guess since I "met" you during the off-season and learned all about Auburn, we will be rooting for our UCLA and for Auburn too. So see there, your sweet blog is responsible for some new Auburn fans. Go Bruins and Tigers! :)


whoa what an awesome backyard love it!

Comeca Jones said...

Cute space.

Nikki said...

It is adorable! Nice job. You make me want to get out in my yard and battle the weeds...

Laura said...

Those plants look great! I have so many I've gotten from the clearance rack still in their temporary pots until I can figure out where to put them all. Nice to see yours are in the ground and looking good!

Kim said...

Great job! We have been working on our yard this summer also. On our To Do List? Fix up the fire pit area. Our yard is completely shaded and we battle falling pine needles and oak leaves so we can't grow any grass. It's been quite the challenge. Your gorgeous flowers make me jealous! :)

Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl said...

Vanessa, you have some very similar plantings in your yard. We are still adding to our "clean slate" after having our front yard ripped up last fall. I love the lorepetallum (sp?) and gardenias. And I have to move on of our hydrangeas that is getting too much sun. Thanks for sharing.


vinylpicketfences said...

The main reason to install a privacy fence is to end up with an area where you can go and get away from the hustle bustle of your everyday life.

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