Tag Archives | paths

Pathways In My Backyard

Thanks to Nan’s November Design Workshop on pathways, I am compelled to get this final post up before the end of November. Earlier in the month, I did a post on my front garden pathway: this one will focus on a significant walkway that was created in the backyard of my garden, which literally transformed the way that I was able to garden.

Upon moving into my new home, I realized that my backyard consisted of a very steep hill with about 8 feet between the back door and where the hill sat. The only good news about the property was that a mature maple tree was perched on the hill with another one situated on the rear right side edge of the lot (where the land was flat). Mind you, we paid a premium of a few thousand dollars to even get a property that had some trees on it (can you believe it?). It quickly became apparent that retaining walls were desperately needed: otherwise our house would be hit with a mud slide if there was torrential rainstorm. Continue Reading →

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On the Right Path(s) – Part 2

Front garden middle path Sept 9 07In Part 1 of this post, I talked about some of the paths in my old garden. It’s been seven years since I left there, and six years since I started gardening here, and during those years, I’ve put a good bit of thought and work into the paths through this space. I’ve already written about the genesis of the timber-and-gravel path here, so I won’t bore you with that again, except to explain that it’s the main route from the front of the house to the back. As I thought about the space between that path and the outlying post-and-rail fence, it seemed natural to divide the center into a four-square pattern (or in this case, two squares and two sort-of-rectangles), with straight borders along the fencing. Continue Reading →

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My Pathways

In response to Nan’s Design Workshop for November, I decided to share the story of my garden pathways.

I have been gardening on a sharply steeping, aberrant piece of land, about one half acre, for the past twenty-six years (Yikes, that’s a long time!). The picture below is how the front of my home was landscaped when I first moved in as a 28 year old woman with a newborn and toddler, having only done some weekend gardening chores in homes where I had lived before.

For the first ten years, I spent a lot of time learning about gardening, experimenting with a variety of plants and being frustrated. Even though I learned a great deal about perennials and how to use them effectively in the garden, I became acutely aware of how disjointed the entire garden was.

Initially, I was overwhelmed when I began to make changes but then decided I could deal with the garden if I broke it up into projects to be done over a protracted period of time. I began with the front yard, where I had made some changes but was still working with a cookie cutter straight, concrete walkway from the driveway to the front door. I decided that I wanted to create a perennial garden, and with the help of a great gardener, Chris Woods (Ex-Director of Chanticleer and newly appointed director of Montecito Coastal Gardens), I dismantled the entire front yard and turned it into an area for perennials dotted with some deciduous shrubs. The straight stucco walkway was turned into a winding stone walkway. I had a vision of creating a rambling environment so I used no concrete in between the stones in order to let plants self seed.

Continue Reading →

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Walk This Way

 Front garden main path mid-Oct 06

When I started my current garden from scratch six years ago, I was determined to create the layout the “right” way. I’m pretty good at dealing with details but not great at seeing the big picture, so I decided to enlist the help of a local landscape designer. We had several discussions about how I wanted to use the space and what I wished to have (gently curving paths being high on the list), and he created a master plan that perfectly reflected what I’d asked for, and even exceeded what I’d hoped for.

Then, I managed to muck it all up. I wanted to enclose part of the space with a fence, and instead of going with the planned curving outline, I reverted to my usual straight-lines-and-right-angles approach with a post-and-rail fence. That one decision then created a strongly geometric enclosure, which ended up completely changing the way the space on both sides of the fence has developed. While I do sometimes regret not trying harder to follow the original plan, I can’t say I’m unhappy with how things look now. In fact, one of my favorite parts of my garden is the strongly geometric walkway I ended up with along the front and east side of the house. Continue Reading →

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Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Paths and Walkways

Front garden middle borders mid-July 05

It’s finally November, and time for the “official” start of the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop. The theme for this month is paths and walkways in the garden. Do you have a path in your garden that you’re particularly pleased with? Let us know how you created it, and why you like it. Are you having trouble deciding where to put a new path or figuring out how you’re going to install it? Describe your quandary, and maybe you can get some helpful suggestions. Or, just show us some of your favorite garden paths or plants-and-walkways combinations, in your own yard or elsewhere. Still not sure what you want to write about? Here are some ideas to get you started: Continue Reading →

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