Sunday, April 8, 2007

Being Backyardovich

What I loved most about my garden was how much it changed over the years. Ultimately, I think it did evolve into what I had hoped for - or at least I can say I satisfied myself with what I wanted to accomplish in the space and time I had. I have the same expectations and unexpectations for my new garden - I have a plan (or so I think), but I hope the years here change the outcome.

(note: the Garden Planner plan is not complete - just a first draft - I will make a good copy with exact measurements soon. I didn't fill in the beds with all the flowers, just enough to get an idea of what would be where)
Immediately it was apparent that nooks needed to be distiguished. It's a long narrow area that in danger of becoming an alley garden - or, if I was let loose without a plan, a long narrow jungle. I like the idea of creating some sort of eating area near the back fence. Between the eating area and the shed would have to be a gate, an entrance from the back lane (with a solid lock on it). A small greenhouse is in the plan, which we'll erect in front of the shed (with enough space between the two structures to move things about, but not enough to waste space). The shed (8.5' x 10') is snazzy and new, and too convenient to lose, but it's not ...pretty; it's positive attribute is that it is neutral, and presumably easy disguise. Perhaps if we don't mention the shed, we'll just forget it's there - until we need to stow the Claw;).

The house shades a significant area of the backyard most of the day. I don't want to plant a spongy shade garden next to the house, so I'm going to put it in pots. A few weeks ago I saw a picture in a magazine that I can't get out of my head. I've been trying to rely on my memory, rather than retrieving the mag from the front porch because I don't wnat to copy the idea, as much as I would like to. I want to, rather, use what I remember most and what attracted me to the design, and encorporate it into what I was already messing with in my mind. It works perfectly, and also adds a new feature I hadn't considered before - water. The first eight feet from the house would be a low deck area, not more than a step off the ground, barely enough to feel elevated...that illusion would be felt as you walk across the footbridge covering the sunken ponds. I imagine a feeling of woodland-wetlands, with a rich earthy stain (cedar decking? *swoon*).
Eight feet of decking, followed by three feet of pond, into a half moon grassy area of about 11 feet. Other than structures, the small dining area, and this deck/pond/grass space - the rest is deep bed planting space, divided into exposure-approriate "gardens".

The deck itself is large enough to provide a small corner seating area near the "entrance" (which would be the bottom right of the image {made using Garden Planner} ). I'd like the deck to have the feeling that it is just above the ground level of the plants, having them spill onto the floor. Large pots of shade plants, shrubs (Willow "Nana", browalia, hostas, ornamental grasses would create a wall on the west end - meeting closely with that large lilac & virginia creeper sneaking in from the neighbors yard.
We could fit a few chairs, a BBQ, maybe some other stuff....

I'm excited about thinking about the pond(s) (one or two)(no more than about 2.5/3' x 4') on either side of a small "dock". Pond plants (especially in this climate) will be an adventure...but even more interesting will be the creatures that'll undoubtedly become residents. One long pond would turn the walkway to the grassy area a bridge - Hannah likes this idea...

I don't think I can expect the greenhouse to get an extraordinary amount of sun(it will get plenty, bt will be shaded on one side for part of the day), which is fine - I expect I'll use it more for storage and etc. more than serious planting concerts, just because of space (it's going to be small, as will most things - none of thsi oversized *stuff*). Facing the house in front of the greenhouse will be a shade garden - ferns, hostas, lungwort, red elder (feature shrubbery), astilbe...that sort of thing. I look forward to playing with textures, scents, and lush lush foliage.

The dining area near the back gate would be paved with the same flagstone/MYO flagstone?/don't know yet - stone pathways anyway. A smallish round space - I have various visions for the style of dining set, but I'd sway towards the side of more casual, maybe something that goes well with the muskoka chairs I already own (which I'd love to stain a deep red). Sean and I saw a nice low rise table/firepit table recently that would probably fit the area. The fire pit didn't even look like a fire hazard, being small, like a round hibachi cooker in the centre of a round ceramic table. It sat low, inviting people to even sit on the ground (which I often like to do) - which would be perfect with the chairs.
It could also be slightly more formal, like a outdoor dining set - but I think the previous idea is more us.

The dining area would be surrounded in a kitchen garden, herbs (in pots too!), sun plants, honeysuckle, tomatoes at hand, snack whilst you sit, heh heh.
I also like the idea of having this area slightly set apart from the house. You'll have to venture through a few other places before you find this nook, and in a few years, by August, the plants will form a wall alive with distance and space and food. be continued...