Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Projects, Projects, Projects

It's hard to believe it's already Tuesday! If only my work week would go as quickly as my weekend.

I've got a hundred different things on my plate right now, and I promise I'll have something wonderful for you in a few days. Til' then, take a look at the inspiration images for a garden I'm helping to design for my friend, "Margaret".

Margaret aka Allison, and her husband Chris, have a large double lot on our short street which is a hot commodity, and very rare. There are probably only 4 other houses that have the same frontage, so Al and Chris have a lot of space to garden in. With 3 small children though, gardening hasn't been at the top of the list ... until now.

While we toured the gorgeous gardens of the Buffalo Garden Walk, Allison and I talked about her late night conversation with the hubs to create raised beds around a preexisting blue cypress in her backyard. Of course, the project hunter I am, I immediately started to brainstorm, talking frantically, almost irrationally about all of the things that she could do in the backyard, stopping just short of telling her to install an ice skating rink. But once we got back on target, she and I came up with one heck of a plan to make that awkward giant tree the centerpiece to a dedicated garden, starting with a river rock pathway.

A river rock path is not unusual in our area. It's an inexpensive alternative to cobblestone, which can be much more expensive, and it allows for the organic and feminine quality that Allison is looking for in the garden. It also gives Chris, a very talented mosaic artist an opportunity to form art under foot.
The path will circle the existing raised brick bed that the large blue cypress is planted in, leading to a small seating area. To create a more intimate space, and give Allison and Chris a place to plant vegetables and flowers that won't be damaged by the random soccer ball or tricycle, we'll do raised cedar planter beds.

This is my favorite type of design; focused on the juxtaposition between feminine and masculine. Allison wants the softness of curves and prefers the organic "free form" over the rigid formality that straight lines sometimes form. However, Chris wants vivid color and flowers and doesn't mind straight lines. So, to blend to two, and keep the costs low, we're creating square cedar beds around the square brick bed under the cypress, but planting lots of creeping sedum to cover the wood, and give the shape a more organic appearance.

Here's a quick rendering of what we've got so far: (click for full view)


  1. Very nice....my weekends are short as well! :) I like your blog.

  2. Super cool--it will be beautiful when finished.


  3. Can't wait for the big reveal!

  4. Amazing! She is very lucky to have your creative mind at work!

  5. I can't wait to see it -- sounds lovely!

  6. Artie, it is going to be lovely!

    Re the River Rock, a note of personal experience. IF using the type as shown in the first picture I highly recommend the use of commerical grade landscaping fabric underneath it to prevent weeds caused by airborne pollen. Also, ensure that the rock you are using is clean (free of sand/earth).

    In one particular section of my gardenS I neglected step two, and by the following mid summer had to remove all the RR and reapply an addtional layer of fabric due to the infestation of weeds.

    Do not know if pesticides are allowed in your State, but they have been totally banned in our Province which makes Gardening a real challenge. Fortunately this summer that particular patch finally seems under control.

  7. Oops re last paragraph, that should have read ... HERBICIDES and pesticides. -Brenda-

  8. This is going to be one beautiful yard!

  9. yikes!
    i thought that i loved cobblestone.
    the river-rock is too gorgeous.

    i love this post.