Saturday, October 1, 2011


Remember back in the day when I said I volunteered to help my in laws with their back yard area? The area that is almost entirely in the shade? Where the deer play (and apparently raise their young)?

Yeah, we finally started on that the other weekend. By the time my mother in law had decided she wanted to do something and had bought the patio pavers, it was too hot to really bother doing anything so the project was put on hold. Plus she kept saying she didn't know what to do - she's not a designer (not that I am - I mean come on, most of you have seen my yard). But, as with all things, it's easier to see potential in other people's yards - with the added benefit that if it looks like crap when it's done, it's not your yard.

Now then, as I had mentioned before, she wanted to re-sod most of the yard instead of going with native plants and I had THOUGHT I had convinced her to use plants instead of grass. I was wrong. She did go out and buy grass seed (something that's supposed to grow in the shade, but it's not St. Augustine). They spread it out and dutifully watered it. It didn't take. There are little patchy clumps near the edge of the shade area, but the rest of the area is bare. So she agreed to try plants instead of sod.

Of course she said she couldn't do plants because she doesn't know how to design a landscape, so I drew up a plan (I mean it's just like the design a go-go's right?). She saved it and it is now the plan of what we will be designing (even though it's not to scale, nor does it necessarily have accurate plants for the area - I didn't have my books with me so I had to go off of memory of what grows in the shade and is deer resistant). The biggest problem thus far is that the neighbor's tree is dropping all it's leaves, plus my father in law pruned their trees so now areas get more sun than they used to. The worst area is in the area that I had marked as "Turk's Cap". (good thing Turks Cap grows in the sun AND shade)

So the other day we (my mother in law and I) went out and layed rocks out at a 2' interval (due to lack of enough rocks) to mark where the patio should be, where the shredded bark paths should be, and where the planting beds would be.

The toughest part was getting my MIL to understand that if she didn't like where a rock was (as in it made the bed too weird of a shape, or the path wasn't wide enough), she was, indeed, allowed to move the rock to a more appropriate place. After we were finished I insisted that we "walk the yard using the paths" just to make sure the feel was okay. She thought it was an unnecessary step. Until we were doing it and decided that one of the paths should veer to the left instead of right. Guess what? It's a lot easier to move a few rocks than it is to move shredded bark and planted plants.

Since I know we'll have to go back up there at some point in the near future to put gutter guards on the house, I'm guessing we'll be laying more rock and laying the patio itself. Guess I'd better start lifting weights again...

And I haven't even started on the projects I have for my yard yet (hell strip, front berm, side yard, and planting trees). Oh yes, I have plans, but they'll probably take at least 5 years to implement.


Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

Sounds like fun. I am sure it will be beautiful! At least the weather is better here in Texas for all of this gardening.

Bob said...

Have you thought about suggesting she use a professional? Just for the labor if nothing else.

Have you been down the road to Forever Gardens yet? You could probably get most of your plants there.

Pam/Digging said...

It's generous of you to make a design AND help with the labor for your MIL's landscaping, especially when you have projects for your own garden that you haven't gotten to yet. But you're converting her to natives and well-adapted plants, and that's a good thing.