We started with a vision--birds, butterflies and flowers with a sprinkling of herbs and vegetables; places for the birds to nest and rest plus water to drink and bathe. Greenery summer and winter. Lush but still water-wise, with drip irrigation so we could travel in summer without coming back to crispy critter plants.
When we bought the house, the backyard had good bones--trees around the back fence and shading the porch -- but the center was bermuda grass, as invasive as roaches.
The vision for the biggest area in the center was not so clear, engendering a number of (heated) family discussions before we happened on an image of a formal parterre garden with a center urn circled by herb beds.
I've been more of a wildscape gardener in past but small areas need more structure. Not to mention paths for access, terracing to cope with the slope, raised beds for planting. And a fountain in the center because water enlivens any space.
Denny said he could do the hard part, leveling the slope, building the beds, running electricity for the fountain. I would pickaxe to break up the limestone, then plan and plant the greenery. But first we'd have to kill the infernal bermuda grass.
Once we found the fountain, we were motivated.
We decided on materials, then all we had to do was do it. Every day for hours. In August. And in the middle we decided to stain the fence too. If you're thinking we were crazy, you're right.
But within four months we'd stained the fence and built and planted the beds, with drip installed for everything but the bit of remaining lawn (soon to be converted to a fairly drought-tolerant and less invasive strain of St. Augustine).
Every morning when I looked out the window I was happy.
I used a number of evergreen plants for year-round color and planted for a three-season bloom span, although this winter was so warm few plants died back and several bloomed all winter.
We're happy and the garden has truly become a bird, butterfly and bee retreat.
Copyright 2009-2016 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.