Tag Archives: Phormium

Low Maintenance, Dry, Bachelor Garden

This was a fun garden to create. My client wanted almost zero involvement in his garden. The only thing he was interested in (beside not having to do anything) was that the garden look interesting and tidy. For this design I started with the style of the house. You can see from one of the  images below that the house is very boxy with a flat roof. Sort of mid-century style, but built in the early 80’s so not nearly as cool as, say, an Eichler design. Needless to say, (but I will anyway!) an English cottage garden or a traditional, formal garden would be very out of place here. I ran the idea of a mostly succulent garden with boulders and gravel by him and he said go for it. So here’s what I came up with:

Really Heavy Rocks

Really Heavy Rocks

These rocks were a royal pain to “place”. They ended up being 2x as heavy (& expensive) as they were estimated to be. The four guys I hired to move them the 6-8′ from the sidewalk to where they are now were amazing and never got discouraged, though I was ready to cry after about an hour! I was seriously ready to hire a crane to place them, but the guys kept moving them, inch by inch, and after FOUR hours they got it done. They didn’t even act like they wanted to kill me when I said things like, “Could you move that one two inches to the left with a quarter twist?”

Front Garden View

Front Garden View

Here’s a more complete view of the front. The boulders in the first image are to the left, just out of the shot. In addition to the low Agaves, etc., I introduced some vertical lines to the design with Equisetum, Papyrus and Phormium. The client wanted a fountain, and thought maybe he wanted an Italianite, classical style piece, but was very pleased with the natural stone fountain (see center of image) we created for him. I didn’t know if I would like this garden when I started it- I’m more drawn to soft or symmetrical forms- but this ended up being one of my favorite gardens so far!

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Job done… after pics and more

 

Woodland path looking a bit neglected...

Woodland path looking a bit neglected...

   “Fluffing” job is done.  Whew. LOTS of weeding. Mostly done by Perry, Dave, Scott and Juan, but of course I followed them around from time to time, pulling the stragglers. We also did a lot of pruning, tired/dead plant removal and planting. The property looks great and the clients are pleased. Yay.

   This garden was planted 25 years ago by the original homeowner. A lot of do-it -yourself stuff, for the most part aesthetically pleasing, but some components haven’t held up structurally so well. So…I never felt like we were completely DONE. I wanted everything to look perfect (relatively), but had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t possible- without a total redo. I was there to refresh (fluff!) the property for a special occasion, and that’s what we did.

   Here’s an example of the subtle (sublime?) changes that we wrought over three days. The woodland path was weeded, pruned (look up at the  tree canopy on both images) and the paving was cleaned- making sure to not take ALL the moss away!  A lot more light now filters down on the ferns, forget-me-nots and the Iris. Kinda makes you want to take a stroll, doesn’t it?

Woodland path...nice and tidy

Woodland path...nice and tidy

 

Below:    This view was the first thing you saw when you parked at the house.

 

first impression...before

first impression...before

 

    There was a 90% dead Hebe hedge (left through center),

    a really messy Phormium(right)

    and a whole planting bed in need of care

    that you can’t see behind the hedge.

 

 

 

First impression of house and garden

First impression of house and garden... after

   Right: This is how the same view  looked when we were done

 

Hebe hedge gone,

all plants cleaned up,

new plants and mulch added

and potted sucullents added

near the cool

horse head hitching posts.

 

 

                        Here’s a closer look at the pot next to the hitching post.

detail of new pot with sucullents

close up of new pot with sucullents

  There is an identical twin to this pot and hitching post just about ten feet to the right, flanking the entrance to the front walk, just out of camera shot.

 

On to the next job!

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