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telophase ([personal profile] telophase) wrote2017-04-11 10:59 am
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What we did this weekend

We mostly worked on the patio/deck/back yard this weekend, putting together patio furniture we'd bought and doing a few things here and there.

This first bit is my pet project. This is the little path that transitions from the half of the (tiny) back yard covered in stonelike pavers to the grassy area on the other side of a now-giant bush/hedge/thing that hides this area from the deck/patio/pavers bit. The original builders just put eight leftover pavers in haphazardly at just the wrong angle and spacing to make them easy to walk on, and since the space is now shaded due to our benign neglect of the plantings (I like messy English cottage garden type spaces, plus it hides the houses on the other side of the street that our house backs up onto), then no grass ever grew between them to make them look like anything other than squares of fake stone (except for the ones installed ... sigh ... upside down, which looked like regular concrete pavers) plopped onto the dirt.

So we bought some new fake stone pavers carefully manufactured to look irregular, and I removed the old ones, arranged the new ones down in a way that you can walk over them using a normal stride, and used our extra bags of pea gravel (originally purchased to weight down a patio umbrella, for which we bought twice as many as we needed) to cover the dirt around the pavers. The gravel will eventually wash away, I predict, but at $4 a bag or $2 if you buy the bags that have broken open, it's an easy matter to replace. I also liberated a couple of stones from an overgrown part of the yard to fill in the empty spaces. (Probably should have bought 7 pavers but we only got 6.)

Looking back the other way:

We got these trellis thingys to mark a sort of transition between one section of the yard and the next. With luck the ivy growing over other bushes will find them. I'd have loved an arch to go here, but all the arches I could find were too wide, and we'd have to cut down one of the crape myrtles to install one, and I didn't want one that bad.

We also got a metal crane to install in the (theoretically) grassy area of the yard, to provide a bit of visual interest from the viewpoint of the master bathroom window, which is how we experience that part of the yard 99% of the time. There used to be a tree filling in the gap between plantings, but the drought killed it, alas. The crane is held down with yard spikes and a couple of those square pavers that we moved from the path, but you can't see the pavers from the window because the plantings in front of the crane obscure them.

This is what it looked like this morning from the bathroom window.

We keep mulling over plans for that grassy area--the original owners had small dogs, so needed it, but neither of us cares that much about grass. I want to make it interesting, maybe like a courtyard garden, a medieval herb garden, something. We might do stonelike pavers separated with some sort of hardy ground cover between them.

We are both agreed on NO WATER FEATURE. We rented a house with a fountain, and it just bred mosquitoes because the pump kept failing and it had no drainage. But a statue thingy or a sundial, or some sort of tall planting in the middle might do as a focal point. That area will also need seating, to make us want to spend time out there, and at least one bit of seating in shade because TEXAS SUMMER.

Back in the other part of the yard, over on the edge of the area with the pavers, on the opposite side from that little path, there's a river of rocks that provides drainage on that side of the house, so that the water is theoretically directed out the back of the yard. I wanted to put a few small things here and there that you might not necessarily see at first glance, but you might see when looking for a while.

So we got a concrete turtle, and I had Toby put it on a flattish rock next to the "river" so it looks like it's sunning itself.

So you can orient yourself, the turtle's head is barely visible in the bottom right here:

The river of rocks is mostly obscured here by the overgrown bushes. The tree in the dead center of the photo is the woodpecker tree, and the river of rocks continues behind the deck railing there.

And here's another Easter egg. At the foot of the woodpecker tree, on the other side of the river of rocks, we have...a metal chicken. Because I saw the metal chicken and had to have the metal chicken. It's held down by yard spikes.

We also got a whirligig because Toby likes moving things. :) This photo is taken from the porch, and you can see the river of rocks. It doesn't look like a breeze can get to it, but we installed it on a windy day and when we held it in that spot at that angle, the blades rotated. Naturally, as soon as we installed it the breeze shifted and it stopped moving. We might move it if we figure out a better spot for it.

Sitting on a porch looking over the deck. That table is shorter than a regular table so that lower chairs can fit under it. The bricks no longer live there: they were temporary, to flatten out the mat. That giant bush/hedge thing is what separates the deck from the grassy area.

And an exhausted Toby, sitting in one of the chairs, with the woodpecker tree behind him. We haven't put them all together yet, but we only have two more chairs and a small side table to do. Not pictured: the large storage box Toby put together that also lives on the patio, so store all the cushions when we're not outside on the deck.