Thursday, April 15, 2010

Teaser Reveal

When I was getting ready for this post, I began browsing through old pictures of the gardens. How they've changed has been inspiring to say the least. Before we actually moved from Texas, we had friends take pictures of the interior spaces and the exterior spaces so I'd have something to obsess over during our 32-hour winter car ride. What they sent back:

Nothing spectacular, eh? In fact, the only thing growing back there (besides grass) was 3 rose bushes, a Japanese ribbon grass, (which I kept), and the most rigorous of mint vines. Oh, and lest I forget the indefatigable non-fruiting grape vine.

So even though it wasn't exactly a clean slate - it was close enough - giving me plenty of room to explore ideas. I think that good use of space is as crucial in a garden as it is in interiors. Just as we acknowledge the feeling of an entire room as covetous in homes or magazines, the space in a garden is not just about the plants planted in the ground, but rather the space between the plants, and the objects in the garden that make it memorable. When you're planning a garden, ultimately, you should consider these spaces before you get started. But sometimes, great spaces, are created by accident.

This is the back of the house last July - 2 years after we endured the sweat, soreness, and sunburns. Can you believe that before/after? Now, I'm not a gardener and you'll never hear me say that I am. I think of the yard as a house, and I accessorize and space plan accordingly. Sometimes things work out great, other times the light isn't right - or I'll plant lavender (a desert plant) next to a tree that needs 2-gallons of water daily.

Our "round" garden, was created accidentally when I started extending and curving the peninsula bed last year to accommodate the perennial spread. Though it wasn't a true circle, it was close. So with ideas from my new go-to guide, and a healthy dose of energy, I created a rudimentary compass with twine and a stake, and used yard marking spray paint to map out the 10' circle. Then, with shovel in hand ... the laborious part of the job ensued - for a full day. But, since that's never the fun part we want to look at (and I was too busy shovelling to worry about grabbing the camera) ... here's the (almost) after:

The brick draws you into the round garden, leading you to a place you cannot see (in its entirety) without stepping into the circle. I love that we used reclaimed brick, found locally. More than it's age and patina which can't be found with other products, it's a connection to the local identity and this place. What's better than connecting your garden to the local surroundings while remaining budget and eco-conscious?

Once you enter the round garden, the boundary of the aged and patina graced brick moves your eye along the circle, making visible every point of this smaller garden, before you enter into the larger garden beyond. The addition of the fountain was an idea a neighbor suggested last summer, and as I started working with the brick pattern, I knew she was right and it had to go there.

Now, there are other plans here ... so don't get too excited. What's left? I have to work in the brick border around the actual fountain base (which I sunk) and pick up the over sized granite polished river rock to fill in around the base of the urn. So much to do - such little time to do it. I hope you all enjoy the changes that are happening around CdlV. I'd love to know what you think - so if you get a chance - drop a line. And I've linked up to other great transformations (mostly interior) at The Shabby Chic Cottage. Stop by and check them out! See you soon.