So, Capt. Sweetie and I have been noodling about in the garden ever since we bought this house, and frankly, my learning curve has been tremendous. Being me, of course, gardening has first and foremost been about "where can I stick all the pretty flowers I Simply Must Have?"
Capt. Sweetie, being better reared than I, has despaired at my impulsiveness, and has been heard to plaintively cry "But we need to set the bones of the garden first!"
Bones? What bones? Who wants bones in a garden anyway? We want flowers. More specifically, We Want ROSES.
So, we've compromised. A little. We dig out flower beds in some form of logical layout--sort of--and I buy lots and lots of roses and plop them in.
Recently, the garden has suffered from some neglect. We inadvertently introduced a noxious little ground-gobbler that came with the heirloom peonies from Grandma's garden, for example, and the attempt to introduce a small stepping stone path through the lily bed was disastrous. "Oh look!" cried the bunnies in a square mile radius, "They've built us a salad bar!"
The construction of a new garage a couple of seasons ago has created a need for more major construction than either of us have time (Capt. Sweetie) or talent (me) to do. The slope of the lot means that the exit door to the garden from the garage is about 2.5 feet about ground.
We need stairs.
Since we need stairs, we also could really use a path we can shovel in the winter.
Oh, and there are some really ugly railway ties that we wouldn't miss.
And then there's the former blacktop landing pad area. . .and the . . .and. . .
Long story short--we hired us a landscape designer.
Now, we are dangerous clients--because we know too much about some stuff, not enough about other things, are highly opinionated, as well as indecisive and greedy about design. So, we've spent the last XX years trying to design a low cost, low maintenance Japanese meditation garden with Williamsburg garden design in an English cottage garden of French symmetry. With herbs. And roses. And more roses. And a water feature. And a baseball diamond for the kids.
In a 150' x 75' city lot.
Against all odds--she did it! Our designer totally got who we were and what we were trying to do, and she totally did something that we hadn't been able to accomplish on our own! Sure, that's why one hires professionals, but how often do they really come through like that?
So, using traditional materials (brick, blue stone) and a rectilinear design, she designed a stair to our garage, as well as a stair to the former blacktop area, while balancing the offset between the garage and the house steps. She put in a square patio at the base of the house steps, with clever notches at the corner to give it visual interest. She created a (geometrically perfect)circular lawn in the center of the back yard, with classic English garden planting on the edges, backed by evergreens that will screen out the undesirable views of the neighbors' yards. The former blacktop landing pad becomes a meditation garden, and the shady alley along the screened in porch becomes a Japanese style walkway between the front and back.
With a water feature.
It's amazing. It's wonderful. It's worth every penny. The Capt. and I are impressed, the kids like it, and we are all but drooling at the prospect of starting the project.
Sure, it's a little expensive, but I bet we can have a plant sale of all the plants that won't be in the final garden. That should cover it, right?