When we first moved into our home about 18 years ago, we weren't sure exactly how we were going to fill our backyard. We hired a landscaping company to draw up an initial design, and had them install the first section of our yard with some grass, a patio and of course trees and plants. A few years later, we hired a pool company and installed a pool for the second half of our yard. For the longest time we left that last section of our yard just natural and undone. About 8 years ago we hired another garden designer to give us some more ideas, and we added some of her suggestions to our yard. Some of the ideas we loved, others didn't really work out well.
Over the years we have been slowly filling up our garden. As every gardener knows it is a never ending job. This last year or so we have been working hard to really get the last section of our yard completed.
Two years ago in one of the winter storms we lost our biggest Oak tree which came down with a small section of our fence. Thankfully, no one was harmed or nothing major damaged, but it left a huge hole with a giant 5-6 foot root stump in that area of our yard. It had to be dealt with. We let it dry out, and then began working hard clearing the weeds, moving the rock, and preparing the paths.
We decided to divide our yard into thirds, the first third closest to the house would be our more formal garden with a boxwood hedge, filled with hydrangeas behind and a trumpet vine trellis in the center. This garden is very clean and manicured. In the second section of our yard by the pool, we decided to create a cottage style garden with plants that were more free flowing. Various shades of green, purple, pink, white and golden yellow echo and repeat. We also planted a small rose garden along the fence by the pool which is one of the areas that gets good sun throughout the day.
So when we finally got to the last section of the yard, with my love of all things European, we decided on a French/Italian style garden. This section of our yard is elevated and is on an incline. We had previously planted two grapevines on the left side of our yard before the Oak came down. My father-in-law actually gave us a piece of his vine. This is special to us not only because it was from him, but also because he has since passed away. With the Oak tree coming down, we decided to replicate the vines on the right side of our yard so that we would have symmetry with vines on both the left and right sides of our back fence. The vines are separated by a second Oak that is in the middle.
After weeding the new grapevine section, we removed some existing shrubs that weren't growing well. We also moved and dug up any extra cobblestone and put it out of our way before laying down some fresh landscape paper. Next we added a new coat of bark. My husband replicated our existing support for our grapevines, and we planted two new vines to mirror our existing vines.
Next we relocated all the rock and put it back into the yard over the landscape paper creating a dry creek bed. We planted French lavender all along the walkway just to keep things simple and clean. I have to mention that this will be my third planting in this area. It gets a lot of sun, and I have had difficulty growing plants and having them thrive well. I think the Lavender, is going to be a great fit and it compliments the look that I love.
Once we got all of that done, we turned our attention toward creating a decomposed granite path with flagstone pavers which compliments our existing retaining walls. First we leveled all of the dirt and dug up any rocks that were sticking up and in our way. When the path was smooth, we put down a layer of road base. After the road base was in place, we topped it with 2 inches of the decomposed granite, wet it down and tamped it with a tamping tool.
We are really loving the way it is looking. We know it is going to take a little bit of time for the new vines to catch up, and some of the new plantings to fill in, but it already has the look and feeling that we were after. The best part is seeing it neat and clean, no more weeds!