Organize Simplify Create Design

It is perpetual, living life and keeping it simple. Peace of mind comes from having a place for things. As I watched "Horton Hears a Who", with my grandchildren I thought about no matter how "tiny" the thing, it deserves a home. So I live by the old adage, a place for everything and everything in its respective place...

About Me

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Houston, Texas, United States
Ten things I am or have been: 1 Wife, 2 Mother of five, 3 Grandmother of 16, 4 Hair Dresser, 5 Bookkeeper 6 Bank Teller, 7 Scrapbook Store Owner, 8 Reporter, 9 Gardener, 10 Photographer,

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

7 Steps for DYI Garden Planning

The property began coming together last spring! It's all a matter of patience...
When moving into a new space and you're staring at dirt, and the dust seems never ending there is a garden ready to be born. We spent the first year: 

Step 1 
Other structures included in your master plan. I always divide my space into rooms, so to speak. Places for cooking, eating, relaxing, visiting and entertaining, play area, flower beds, paths, vegetable or herb gardens, even utility areas where air conditioners, generators, propane tank if you live rural, septic systems, composters. Some things aren't easily changed, so be certain you know where you want these spaces to be located, such as outbuildings, pools, greenhouses, sheds, pools, trampolines, firepits, outdoor kitchens, patios, gazebos, and playhouses. Flower beds and shrubs can be altered pretty easy, but tearing out a pergola or patio can be costly. So after considering all of the above we spent the first year building our barn and putting in the pool. 
Step 2 
Then came drainage. All will be for naught if your property isn't draining properly. Hauling in dirt, putting in french drains and even rain gutters can be expensive, but very necessary to be able to enjoy the end result.
 Step 3 
Irrigation, putting in a pool will tear up your irrigation system. Not everyone will choose to put it in, but in our area it's a must have to keep things alive. Sit down and sift through some online sites like Pinterest or Houzz and collect the look you like. Take your survey to a copy shop and print off a few, have it enlarged if you like. I bought a can of spray paint that landscapers use to mark the land. I drew my beds with it, so the sprinkler guy knew what my needs were going to be. Try to decide what you plan to put in the beds. Be sure to allow enough room for the shrubs you want to use. Irrigation from lawn to beds requires different heads and zones. Don't skip this step if you are putting in sprinklers. I also use a lot of container plants, I had micro watering installed at the same time for these.
Step 4 
Fencing, obviously when you put in a pool you must fence it by law in most areas. You may choose fencing for pets, livestock, children, gardens, privacy etc. You will choose your fencing according to your own needs. We put wood across the front and most of the side of our lot to match what the neighbor to the east already had. We have a pond behind us so we used black chainlink along the back to be able to see the pond and forest view.
Step 5 
Flower beds Once we reached this point we began bed building (no plants at this point). We had them drawn on the dirt and chose a rock edging and then brought in the dirt and mulch to keep from tracking over the new sod when it is laid. Try to decide on the general location of beds, and remember they can be altered even after they are in. Hold off on buying plants just yet unless they are large shrubs and trees that are easier planted with equipment. 
Step 6 
After smoothing the surface in preparation for your new lawn, you are ready to really make a big impact on how your yard looks.  We chose to do sod, timing is everything with seed and we wanted to cut down on all the dirt, dust and mud immediately.  It's a labor of love and envisioning to get to what you see here
Step 7
Choose shrubbery and plants for your beds. Buy your largest specimens first. You will feel more impact. Consider maintenance of what you plant. For me, gardening is therapy. I love working in my garden. You may not have the desire or time to work outside. Choosing low maintenance plants is a good idea if this is you. 

This year we will continue to landscape, move anything that isn't thriving, adding new plants, planting tropical palms we purchased in the fall at 80% off and planning raised bed veggie gardens (last years veggies A COMPLETE FLOP) and a greenhouse. 

The pine and oak pollen has spread it's yellow dust everywhere. We always wait to uncover the furniture and clean pool filters when it's done. I'm just happy spring is here.

As you can see I'm not a daily blogger. I enjoy writing and sharing my photos with family and friends. So I'm glad you've stopped in. I'm not into blogging for money, if I write about a product or item it's because I truly love it.

Below are some of last years photos, they inspire me of what's to come this year now that winter is done.

Before and After Photos of Courtyard update
Slate all the way to the entrance. Still under construction.
 In the late fall we re-did our courtyard. There were a lot of different surfaces, it was uneven, and the mondo grass was lovely, but oh the weeds were horrific, I couldn't keep up with it. Soon I will post photos of the new surface. We tore out the stamped concrete and put slate down the entire walk to the courtyard opening. The remainder of the patio is now stamped concrete. I moved the fountain over to give more useable space and changed the bed design slightly. Instead of the sprinklers spraying the entire courtyard I had drippers installed to water potted plants outside of the beds, as well as the succulents I keep on the etagere. The photo above was shortly before being finished. Below is during Christmas.
Before and After Courtyard updates! Finished for Christmas!
The Mondo Grass looks so Italian authentic, but the upkeep was horrid and a trip hazard for certain.
The stamped concrete is smooth and low maintenance. The area seems much larger and after moving the fountain over the usable space it perfect. Plus better views of the fountain from the street and inside the house. Triple PLUS!
 The space seems much larger now and is so easy to keep. I moved the mondo grass to line a path in the backyard. Nothing gets thrown away here.
 I lost nearly all my plants in the courtyard gardens during the construction process. So I will be starting again.  The small fireplace was relocated to a seating area in the back off the outdoor kitchen. It gets more use there.

 Another view of the changes that were made.

Last year I bought bright pillows to add a splash of color to the sectional on the back terrace. Soon I will add updated photos to this post so you can see the latest. A garden certainly is not static, ever changing. Nature always has surprises in store for us. :) Hope spring is on her way to you too!

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