Backyard overhaul & working with a blank slate...Pics!!
We are in Sacramento, CA and moved into our more permanent home in early May, so I finally get to start my first big gardening project (yay!). Our new backyard is basically a huge blank slate, which is both exciting and overwhelming for a novice gardener. I'm terrified about having to design a landscape from scratch but good thing it's not a good time to plant so I can spend the hot summer planning! I'm eager to show you our progress and to get feedback on what to do next!
Here's what we had to work with:
A decent cement patio edged by 22 roses. Beyond that, a "lawn" or shall I say weed infested patch, extending back to 3 large trees. 2 massive Oak Trees on the right and 1 tree on the left which I haven't identified. The backyard is facing South but those large trees provide a decent amount of shade to different areas of the yard throughout the day. (hopefully I can find my "before" pics to share just for fun)
What we've done so far. "progress" pictures are from about 1 month later:
Looking out from the house:
You can see the large trees in the back, new sod laid out, a 14' x 14' cement platform just beyond the roses, and planting beds barely visible around the edges of the lawn. Rose revival measures included violently removing landscapers fabric, top dressing with compost, and covering that with a layer of gorilla hair mulch. I also adjusted the horrible watering schedule they were on, which together with no maintenance was probably to account for the fact that they were covered in black spot-removed all affected foliage and waited to see how they fared.
PROGRESS from same vantage point:
Patio covered in porcelain tile, patio lighting replaced (you can see one lamp by the window), Garden Arch pergola entrance added, Canopy and seating placed on cement platform, Roses happy and healthy now! Except for that one left of the arch which was transplanted (clearly not a good idea at this time of year) but I'll wait and see if it recovers and just replace it next year if I must.
Close-up of Canopy:
You can just make out that the planting bed beyond the canopy, which for reference ranges in width from about 10-14' from the fence. Ignore the random pavers near the roses, those will be used for a short path through the grass starting at the garden arch and making its way to the canopy seating area.
Facing the house, from the far back corner:
Sorry about the mess, this was in middle of working on the patio area itself. That's DH and my FIL hard at work making my crazy ideas come true :) Just beyond them is a white french door leading to the kitchen which we painted dark brown. Also notice the old patio lighting...strange bug-catcher-jar type things that were just awful imo. From here you can get a better idea of just how much planting area is left around the lawn. Those windows on the right are to the master, which also has an entrance onto the patio. In front of those windows we built that raised cinder-block planter (diameter is 10'), and we plan to put some lattice or something to block the ugly a/c unit. Also planning to put a rain barrel on either side of that wall where the rain spouts are.
PROGRESS and close-up of the same area:
The french doors to the kitchen are now dark brown, as you can see behind Toulouse over there on the left :) A purple leaf plum was placed in the middle of the planter shortly after that last picture was taken, and it's doing well. Although we didn't have enough dirt to fill the planter so it's much lower near the edges and mounds up towards the tree. Going to go haul some more in soon, and then was thinking to plant something, or just cover with mulch until it's a better time to plant. In this planter is a mix of about 1/3 soil from our yard, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 new soil.