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Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Posted by bill_ri_z6b (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 3, 11 at 11:49

After two years of planning, construction and hard work I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. These photos were taken at various times this year. As you can see, much of the new upper garden and the new boulder garden still need to grow in and get established. But the budget was definitely stretched last year and this year! And I also want to see how certain plants perform, so that I can make good choices for adding more of some of them.

The new upper garden. Needs so much more......but a good start.
New upper garden 3

The new upper garden. Paved circle and the end of the path will get a bench and probably and arbor for shade.
New upper garden 2

The new upper garden. Dogwoods, cherry tree and rhododendrons will look so good in a couple of years!
New upper garden 1

The new boulder garden and granite steps
New boulder garden.

The new terrace, steps and planter with smaller patio above. Part of the boulder garden is visible beyond the house.
Terrace and patio

New steps and planter. Oak leaf Hydrangea and old roses in background
New terrace, steps and planter

A splash of color....
Color splash

Ice plants and cactus in the xeric garden in front of the house
Front of house

Sempervivum and sedum nestled under a rock in the front garden
Nestled under a rock

Lewisia. Blooms lasted for several weeks!

Lithodora 'Heavenly Blue' lives up to its name!
Lithodora 'Heavenly Blue'

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Bill: Thanks for sharing this. It will be great to see some follow-up pictures over time. It makes me realize that I need to do some hardscaping.

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Oh my, Bill, you have been busy!! First the front garden renovation and now the upper garden. (Is that up hill of your house or behind it?) Did you do all the design and planning yourself? It looks lovely so far. Your stonework is stunning and I like the mix of woodies you have so far in the upper garden. Your front beds have filled in well from last year. When I look at the before photo posted in the last summer's post, and look at your gardens now, I am amazed by how you could envision the changes. I'm sure that I would not have know where to even begin to renovate and create so much useable space from such a beginning. Well done and thanks for posting your progress in steps this way. I'll be interested in seeing the changes as you continue to develop the upper area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bill's front garden last summer

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Bill, all I can say is "Wow!" These areas are spectacular!

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Thanks for the kind comments!
My property consists of three city lots and the street is a hill. The lots are pretty much stair-stepped up the hill. The house is on the center lot. The garage is on the lower lot and the large terrace is behind it (but on it's own level about 2 feet higher than the garage and driveway). The upper garden is on the highest lot, and is to the right of the house looking from the front. So the transition from the lowest level up to the terrace, then the stone stairs up to the house level, and from there the granite steps through the boulders go up to the top level. There is also a stone wall between the house and the upper level, about 60 feet long. There are also new walls in front of the house and the upper garden along the sidewalks, so that all the lots are each at their own levels from front to rear. I used to have a lot of hills and it was impossible for me to maintain.

I did all the designing and planning myself and worked with the stone mason and the landscape crew and nurseries.

I just came in from preparing and planting spring bulbs near the other new patio area. I haven't posted a photo of that yet but it's on the right side of the house on the same level, below and beside the stone wall that retains the upper garden.

I hope I have not confused you! I think I lost track myself!

I will post more now that I have set up the photobucket account.

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 3, 11 at 16:36

Terrific start, Bill! You have a lot to keep you busy (and financially destitute) for the next decade. Everything looks very well thought out and the plants look well-grown. I particularly like that boulder garden (I like boulders); great opportunity for plants draping the stones and nestling in crannies.

Maybe I missed it, but did you decide on a tree for the planter by the street - the planter in between the garage and the front of the house?


RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Wow! Everything looks great. I love the stonework - nice job on that.

Your delosperma is great (I could never get that to grow well for me. I'll have to try again after seeing yours) and I love the lithodora.

I think what I'm most impressed with is that I can't find a single weed anywhere!


RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

The planter that you mention is formed from the corner of the wall in front of the house, where it turns 90 degrees to define the lower garage level from the higher level of the house and back yard. I reversed the top half of that corner of the retaining wall to form the planter. I had an old cement urn so I cleaned it up and placed it there. Here's a photo.


And here you can see how it fits into the wall. The sidewalk has since been formed of concrete courtesy of the City of Providence! Now there is another wall that defines the house level from the highest level, where the new garden is, and I made another planter much like the first one, at the corner of that wall. I haven't decided what will go there, but I'm thinking tree rose or crape myrtle, maybe. You can see the second wall and planter for the upper level in this photo as well.

Lower wall

The final picture may help to explain how the boulders define the different levels between the house level and the upper garden level. Beside the house, I had a stone wall to allow for more space, and you can see the newest patio along side the house. It will be flanked by two areas of lawn (which I planted today!) and two flower beds against the wall. That side ends with the driveway toward the street end, and it will be paved with the same pavers as the patio. I decided on a curved path to the curving granite steps up to the curved paths in the upper garden.

Boulders and side of house
I have tried to make the maintenance as easy as possible, so mulch has helped to keep the weeds to a minimum. That Lithodora is one of my favorite plants ever! The color is amazing.

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Just love your new garden, Bill! Since our lot is completely level without a grade change at all, I'm always envious of a lot that has enough elevation to make it interesting but not so much to make a lot of work. You seem to have just the right amount. I love all the rocks everywhere, the stonework, the patio, and the plant selection. Your Oakleaf Hydrangea is blooming it's head off. It is going to be great as it matures. And wow, does it look LOW maintenance. Have you added any type of watering system?

What a difference from the original garden. Great job!

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 4, 11 at 10:39

Bill: The urn is a good solution for that planter, considering the possible difficult conditions with that exposure by the street. If the plants don't do well you can easily swap them out for something else - not so easy with a tree. You can also do interesting holiday decorations in the urn. Is that a light in the planter to the left of the urn?

I like the way the planters repeat going up the street. Do you have a boulder or two left over to place in the second planter? Just a thought, to echo the boulder garden next to another stone wall.


RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Hi Ann. Thanks for the positive feedback! I haven't added a watering system, but the back yard is easy to water, and the upper garden isn't so bad now. I had used an oscillating sprinkler for the first couple of months to get the new plants established, but the rain has been sufficient since then and they're all doing fine. The dry garden out front is just that, partly because it is always hot and sunny there, and partly because I'm too lazy to pull the hose out from the back!

How is your cactus doing?

If you want to add interest to a flat lot, you can always create a mound or a 'berm' as they're called. I've also seen low walls created (usually curved or S-shaped for interest) and then have soil mounded against one side to create a slope. Meanwhile, if the wall side faces south or southeast, you could nestle more tender perennials there for protection.

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Hi Bill, I briefly considered a watering system and decided against it too.

My cactus is doing okay. I did divide it in two plantings and one didn't do well over the winter and is gone, but the other did fine this year. I see that I planted it in a full sun bed, but on the East side and the plantings around it didn't allow for enough sun I don't think, so it didn't really grow any larger, but I'm going to move it to the south side next spring. Thanks again for letting me try that!

Thanks for the ideas for my flat lot. I would like to add a berm, but the work involved has cooled off that idea for quite awhile. I have done a low wall in one area and it has added interest. Good ideas.

Look forward to seeing more photos next year, better yet, it will look nice over the winter with snow on it too. Thanks for posting them.


RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Actually the plants in the urn did really well! That photo is kind of old. Over summer they spilled out really well. I don't have any boulders left, but the upper planter is a little smaller than the first one. I think a small shrub will do the trick.

That's an electrical outlet behind the urn. For convenience, and will allow a lighted display for Christmas. I still have to have that and some other electrical connections finished. During construction I had them lay in lines for that outlet as well as power for the garage (there used to be and ugly overhead line from the house! Yecch!). And one more line for an outlet in the planter on the big terrace behind the garage. For convenience there too. Can have lights, plug in the blower, trimmer etc.

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Bill, I love the 'Heavenly Blue' Lithodora much more than the one I have and will definitely add that to my list for next year.

But that's not all! I'm drooling over your hardscape areas, especially the placement of the large boulders and how they fit into the grading and slope of the lot. You've done exactly what we would like to do. I'm curious. Any tips for selecting a stonemason and landscape crew so that one finds the best match to the idea?

It will be wonderful to see all of this again next year when the plantings have matured into the site, and when you've added more, no doubt!

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)


Thanks for the comments. The Lithodora is one my all-time favorite plants.

I would easily recommend the stone mason who did my work, since he was very good to work with. The designs were all mine, and I explained what I wanted and he executed my ideas very well. Now and then he offered suggestions which I also accepted. However, I don't know where in CT you are located, so I don't know if he would be available to you. He has done work in parts of eastern CT that I know of.

I would also suggest that you visit a local stone supply company since I'm sure they could suggest some reliable stone masons, and perhaps you could then see some of the work they have done.

I hope you can see your visions come to life.

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

Wow! I enjoyed the photo tour of your garden. Great work. I look forward to more photos next year.

RE: Finally! Photos! (I hope)

All gardens are always works in progress, but a new garden even more so. But then that's the fun of it all. I can already see some of the plants getting established. I'll be adding things for some time to come I'm sure.
Thanks for the positive comments.

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