One of the first things I was aching to do when we moved into our first official house (or condhouse as I call it) was landscaping. With our house being a mixture of a 'real' house and a condo, we are not left with an ample amount of land to garden to my hearts content, but there was just enough space that I could do a little somethin' something.
I kept waiting for Jeff to get on board, but then one day it struck me, why do I need to wait around for Jeff to start landscaping the backyard? It's only 200-300 square feet, how hard can it be? So I hatched a plan. I would landscape the backyard myself and make it part of Jeff's birthday present. This will both take it off his 'honey do' list (which is pretty long), and help justify the expense. I got him his very own present as well, but this was a bonus for both of us.
I have to admit, I had no idea where to start so I just started to research on the Internet at lunch. Most of our backyard is a concrete patio which just left one 17" wide by 10' long and one 26" wide by 27' length area to be planted.
I woke up early and spent pretty much all day one Saturday trying to tackle the backyard. Even after a week of prepping the space after work, I still had to make a handful of trips to the store, and ended my day with dirt and sweat all over, with a big smile on my face.
This is what I learned:
1. When making a foundation flower bed you need at least 18" to work with. I also learned that I would need to slant the bottom of my flower bed, the highest point next to the foundation, so that the water would drain away from the foundation minimizing any water damage to the foundation.
2. The flower bed needs to be at the very least 8" deep.
3. Black construction tarp can be used on the bottom of the flower bed as an extra water barrier. (I really wanted to protect my neighbors house foundation)
4. Water irrigation systems are surprisingly easy to install. Especially when your brother-in-law stops by for a couple hours to set up the timer just right.
5. A 12" flower bed takes a lot longer to dig than you would think and uses way more soil than you'd naturally plan for.
6.Planting flowers is just as fun as I thought it'd be. I woke up at 5 am on "landscaping day" without an alarm. I was so excited you'd think I was going to Disney Land.
7. Finally, when I'm nervous and think I bit off more than I could chew, I just need to relax because I can do it! (And if I can't there is no shame in asking for help)
It was hard work. This is what my hands looked like after the digging, moving rocks, setting up the irrigation system and planting.
But I was so happy with my final result. This is what I was left with at the end of the day
I decided on my flowers based on our partial sun, dry climate, color story (staying with only yellows and purples- which goes well with our brown house), Internet sites recommendations, and multiple trips to Moon Valley Nursery. Oh, I also picked them based on how pretty they were. My favorite has ended up being the Mexican Sage (tall purple plant). It seems to also be holding up the best as well. The Hibiscus and Annuals I think wish they had a bit more sun than what our backyard provides, but so far they are hanging in there.
I did some touch ups and my final project was ready for Jeff's birthday party (more to come on Jeff's 28th birthday party later).