Sunday, March 21, 2010

Garden Inspiration

Well I guess first picture is really more patio inspiration, but there are greener ones below. I want the garden to have the feel that it's always been there. There can be some modern items in it to make it a little more interesting, but the "bones" should feel as old as the house (about 95 years old). I guess that's my feeling on decor too. I usually want all the fixed items (bathroom fixtures, tile, built in cabinetry, etc.) to look original to the house, but the furniture and other decorative stuff to be more modern.
I want a patio that feels kind of "old world" like the scene in Chocolat where they have the birthday party in Armande's backyard. Simple, natural materials. More stone, brick and wrought iron than modern pavers or wood deck. Doesn't need to have the wisteria like the photo above- I don't need the house being torn down by a plant- but a pergola overhead would be nice.

I'm not actually looking for two gate houses, but I love formal gardens. I think the style I'm looking for is a formal, cottage garden which sounds like an oxymoron. Formal gardens always feel more old fashioned to me, but since our house is just a little bungalow, I don't want the garden to outdress the house, so a little cottage informality around the edges should help soften and tone it down a bit. I'm thinking some geometry, axes and formality nearest the house and have it breakdown and become more natural as you get further away.

I love gateways. Maybe not as formal as this, but I'd like the feel that you are entering different rooms in different parts of the yard. The problem is, I don't know how much dividing up the yard will make it seem bigger (can't see it all at once, keep discovering new spaces) before it seems smaller (too many chopped up spaces). hmmm

And finally, here's my ultimate veggie garden. I'll never have one even close to this size (unless I find myself in a financial situation that allows me to quit my job and play in the dirt all day) but I love the fence, the gravel paths between raised beds and the chairs for sitting down and just smelling the tomatoes. yum!

sorry I don't have credits for the photos, it seems I picked some of the only photos I don't know where I found, oops.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Fever

Since the weather has been so nice for the past few days (I'm choosing not to think about the possibility of it getting cold again in the next few days) I've been thinking a lot about planting a veggie garden. Last year we had a small veggie garden in a strange circular planting bed left over from the previous owners. It was okay, we did get a bunch of bush beans and some snap peas, but growing things in a circle is a little difficult. You can't plant in rows, really and the circles diameter was such that you couldn't reach the middle without stepping into the garden itself and potentially on something you are trying to grow. Last years was really just a temporary solution until we could figure out where the "real" garden was going to go. Unfortunately, our yard doesn't get tons of sun, so our options are limited.Above is a picture of our yard taken last August at around noon, when there are the least shadows covering the yard. By one o'clock, that shadow to the right is covering half the lawn between the driveway and the flower bed on the left. Right now I think we've narrowed it down to two options, either in the yard halfway between the circle bed and the picnic table, or in the back of the yard, behind the large evergreen (see the sunny patch back there?) They both seem to get a similar amount of sun, which should be enough for me to grow leafy greens, peas, beans, beets and broccoli, but no tomatoes, eggplant, or squash. The question is which is more practical. Planting in the back makes sense because it's not in the way and it leaves more room near the house for entertaining, however, I'm sorry to admit that I am definitely an "out of sight, out of mind" sort of person. I'm afraid if I don't walk right past it everyday, I'm going to wind up neglecting it. Plus the idea of eating right next to where the food is growing sort of appeals to me.

It would be easier to decide if I had a strong idea of how I want the rest of the yard to be and I could see what will work best with that. I've been playing around with a layout in Cad (yeah, pretty dorky, but I'm an architect and that's how I'm used to working) but I'm not sure that it's the plan I want to go with.
Here's the plan as it currently stands. It's a quick and dirty rendering so I apologize for not having colored every part (please ignore the space behind the garage, that's what I do). The dotted lines are the boundries of the existing planting beds that will be relocated and the edge of the driveway that goes right up to the back of the house. I'd like to build a patio a little bit further out from the house so that there can be some planting between it and the house. I want it to feel like you are in the garden rather than right up against the side of the house or up against the driveway. The brown and green rectangles are the possible veggie garden locations. I have them shown as "starter gardens" that can be expanded if and when I feel that I can handle more responsibility.
So what do you think? Grow the food close to where it will be eaten, or further out of the way so that there's more room for entertaining near the house and patio?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Thank you to Victoria over at sfgirlbybay for featuring me in her friends & neighbors and welcome to anyone visiting me for the first time! If anyone is wondering, I haven't had a chance to do anything with this chair other than clean it. Someday I will repair or replace the hinge at the base and reupholster the vinyl. I love the color, but it has a lot of tears in it. Anyone know a way to glue or otherwise repair vinyl? For now it lives with a throw draped over it to hide the holes (which you can see in my messy office here).
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