Thursday, January 8, 2015

Taming a wild, overgrown garden - work in the back yard begins...

Work in the back yard has started! and it's early, early days so what you see now is not what the end result will be. I haven't fully resolved the design and as I said as it is a rental I don't want to rush in and spend a bucket load of money... slowly, slowly, smartly, smartly... Any planting will be tube stock or cuttings or anything else free and any soils and mulches will be bought in bulk to save money... but I'll also keep my eye out for freebies.

But before any of that there is much work that can be done for free, like clearing all the weeds and moving things about... so it will be a while before any real transformation commences.

I've drawn this very rudimentary plan of the site (which amazingly is just shy of 727m2... the size of my beautiful garden up the coast that started this blog). As the photos make it hard to gain an overall idea of the layout, the plan helps see what is where. It's not to scale or overly accurate, for example where I have shown the path along the back of the house is actually a stone-edged garden bed.

As you can see in the 2nd last image I have been unearthing stone edging all around the site in both the front and back gardens. Someone, at one stage went to alot of trouble with this garden and I am so happy to be exposing these again. Whilst perhaps not the way I would go about it if I were designing from scratch it is definitely something I will have to work with as they are really set in place and I love natural stone so will make sure they are highlighted as a feature... but the garden beds will not be the only areas of planting. As I did in my place up the coast, I would eventually like to see all the lawn gone as I hate mowing and the lawn here has been let go to the point of no return, it is just weed and has no redeeming features.

As much as I would like to move the clothesline I have decided against it and will try to mask it as much as possible. I will, however, want to move that unsightly shed along the back fence-line! I had one moved before in my North Balgowlah garden and so I know it is possible... I just have to find a source of cheap or free labour to do this. I want to place it behind the larger shed / carport and make that area a bit of a service area, hidden from view... which will also mean getting rid of that weird metal structure that is currently sitting there taking up valuable real estate.

The pavers to the clothesline will come up and become a path from the driveway to the bbq area... and the pavers on either side of the circular feature that lead to the chook coop will also come up as that whole area will eventually be fenced off to create a chook run.

The two lovely raised vegie garden beds are a handmade gift from a friend (sadly the weeds had started growing in them as I was too busy to get out here and garden till now)... I have since weeded that area but have not caught up with photos yet. That is one of the first jobs, to fill the beds with a good vegie soil and get planting!

All along the perimeter I will plant a hedge / privacy screen, mostly to hide the mish-mash of fencing. I have been researching suitable plants and especially as here in Canberra some properties (or maybe many) have power lines running through the back yard I will have to ensure they are only fence height or just above and I want that anyway as the sun rises from that direction and in winter it is delicious getting that sun through the kitchen window, so I wouldn't want anything too tall.

All that is just the beginning... the rest of the design hasn't been finalised in my head and will no doubt evolve as I work out there and get a better feel for what I want... but essentially it will be a little haven for all creatures great and small. I already have a couple of regular Magpies which I love, a little peewee... delightful little wrens of some sort... visiting cockatoos and galahs, as well as one of my favourites - the wattle birds! (though they do seem absent at present so will have to pay more attention). I have only ever seen one lizard in the yard so I want to encourage them and butterflies.

I'll be back to share the front garden soon and then more updates on the back as I have to take more photos since weeding a lot more of the back yard... around the chicken coop and vegie beds.