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The Shape of Things to Come

May 9, 2013


The magnificent Shorty came out this weekend to finish the shaping around our house. It looks so much better now! Before the land was really randomly chopped up. We had ditches, piles of building supplies, lot of grass and weeds – just yuck. Having Shorty come out was motivation to finally clean up all of the building supplies, including plastering tools! I’m feeling a little overwhelmed now that we’re faced with all of this bare dirt. I’ve been planning the landscaping since we first drew up the house plans (!), but the reality is making me unsure of my ideas.

East side:

West side

We park at the bottom of this hill, so we’re going to put in stairs that run from the parking area up to the porch. At some point we are also going to build a front porch and stop using this as tool storage. I’m planning a foundation planting along the wall. Maybe hydrangeas, coneflower and mock orange? Most of this area is getting seeded with a native grass mix. I’m also considering putting in a flowering tree (crabapple?) off to the top right on top of that little hill.

South side:



We’re making a patio area with pea gravel along this side, probably about 12 feet wide. That will take up mot of the bench (the flat part), and I’d like to do some kind of flowering border along the edge. I started blanket flower, black eyed Susan, and milkweed in the greenhouse for a fast growing, reliable, and somewhat native mix. Does it seem like just flowers is too little? Maybe the border needs shrubs or grasses? The hill slope is getting seeded with native grass mix as well. This area is pretty long (about 70 feet) and accessed from the great room, so it is going to be our main outdoor area with a table, a fire ring, the grill, some chairs. Maybe one day a more permanent outdoor oven? The stuff of dreams. I originally was going to put medium-sized trees at either end, but Mr. B wants the option to be able to drive up to the house (no tree on the east end), and my favorite view is down the valley (no trees on the west end). Any ideas on another way to sort of bookend the space?

West side:



Sorry for the weird picture – this side is weirdly difficult to take a picture. It is another bench (flat area) that slopes down to meet the rest of the property. We’re going to put in a smaller gravel patio area on this side that eventually will be covered. Most of our weather comes from the west, so a covered patio will protect the plaster  and give us the option to sit outside when it rains or provide some shade. We’re also going to fence in an area running from the house out into the field so Tempe can go in and out of the house when we’re not here. I’d like to use that fenced area as our official backyard – a lawn, flower beds, clothes line. I always hated lawns when we had them, but it is so nice to have some mowed and watered grass to sit or play on. I’ll be happy even if this just becomes a fenced dog yard with tall grass (how redneck). We live about half an hour outside of town, and there are a lot of days when it is hard to balance being in town with having a dog that needs to be let out of the house. In my dreams, this area is a huge flower garden though, with all of those flowers I wanted to grow but couldn’t justify buying. There is also at least one hammock. The biggest challenge with this side of the house is the road (just behind me in the picture). I’d really like to increase the privacy with plantings and growing stuff on the future fence.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. mike permalink
    May 9, 2013 6:43 am

    Wow! Shorty is worth his weight in gold (and caterpillar equipment). Looks GREAT. Don’t forget the Lupin (sp?), clematis and columbine if they can grow there (why couldn’t they??). I need Rita for guidance on flowers.

    • May 9, 2013 6:45 am

      We do have native versions of all those species, and I’m sure most of the cultivars would grow here as well. Shorty is totally worth many times his weight, and he loves Tempe!

  2. Germaine Haberman permalink
    May 9, 2013 10:59 am

    I am in perpetual awe of you two! You are truly amazing and what you have created is a labor of love and hard work!

  3. Rita permalink
    May 10, 2013 8:49 am

    Don’t forget your cool northside with the little creek. It could be a little refuge.

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