Garden Bed Beside Garage

Backyard Garden: Take II

By Erin Huffstetler | 04/23/2019 | 9 Comments

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We landscaped our backyard eight years ago, and there are some things we didn’t get right the first time.

Overgrown Apricot Trees

Like these “dwarf” apricot trees that were supposed to top out at eight feet …

Height of Apricot Trees

but grew to be 30 feet tall (and counting), while never producing a single apricot.

Garden Before Apricot Trees Were Cut Down

I’m not sure if the nursery miss-tagged some trees, or if we made the rookie mistake of planting the graft line below the soil, thereby causing the trees to revert back to standard-size stock. That part is a mystery. But one thing I do know: these overgrown apricots were a gardening fail.

In addition to being ugly; their limbs kept growing in front of the garage door and getting onto the garage roof. And in recent years, they had completely changed the lighting in our garden and kitchen.

Limbs From Apricot Tree

So, last week we cut them down.

Garden After Cutting Down Apricot Trees

We still need to remove the trunks, but I already think that part of the yard looks loads better. And I’m eager to try again. This time I want to plant a tall secret garden-style hedge to block the view of our neighbor’s house, and I want to fill that bed with lots of color.

I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to any of you, that I’m determined to do all of this for as little as possible. I’ll probably have to spring for the hedge plantings, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to get everything else for free.

Since I plan to update you on my progress over time, let me show you where the rest of the backyard stands today.

Garden Bed Beside Garage

This bed beside the garage is currently the most attractive part of the backyard. It contains two white tree hydrangeas, irises, peonies, and daisies (since it’s early spring, nothing is blooming yet).

We added the doors on the side of the garage several years ago, and found a set of concrete steps, that were the perfect height, in a curb pile.

The circular art hanging on the side of the garage came from a yard sale. A man made it to hang in his house, but his girlfriend didn’t like it; so he sold it to us. That double shepherd’s hook in the foreground, usually hold two of my solar globes, but I recently gave them away. I need to make two more to hang there.

Herringbone Brick Sidewalk With Moss Growing on It

My favorite thing about this spot is the herringbone brick walkway that I laid. All that moss makes it look like it’s been there forever.

Garden Path Under Grape Arbor

I also really like this path that runs under our grape arbor, turned garden tunnel.

Strawberry Begonias and Mondo Grass

It’s planted with strawberry begonias and mondo grass. The strawberry begonias came from that master gardener who gave us a bunch of plants back in 2014. I transplanted the mondo grass from a small clump that was in the yard when we bought the house.

I’ll be sure to share pictures of our garden tunnel, as soon as the grapes leaf out for the season.

Blue Woman Statue

Our backyard also has a nice assortment of statues and yard art that we’ve rescued from curb piles over the years. This blue lady is one example. She’s actually a fountain.

Ugly Condenser Unit

Unfortunately, our backyard is also home to two air conditioner condenser units. I want to build some sort of surround to hide them (that’s raspberries planted around it, if you’re wondering).

Aerial View of Backyard

And here’s an aerial view of our backyard to help you put things into perspective. That’s our coop on the left, and those are cherry bushes in the foreground. I plan to “fence in” both sides of our yard with a privacy hedge. The left side is already planted, but we still need to tackle the right side.

If you want to get more of a feel for our backyard, and what’s planted where, you can check out our landscape design here. It was created before we purchased the little cottage behind our house (that’s the white house at the top of the photo), so our yard is actually longer than the drawing shows. I’ll update the design once we’re further along in tackling that part of our yard, but in the meantime, it’s still a good way to explore our yard. Be sure to take a tour of our tree house. It’s the best part.

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  1. Love love love it! Can’t wait to see updated photos once things are in bloom! (And still looking forward to a cottage interior video! ha ha)

    • Funny you should mention that … I’ve been busy cleaning and organizing the office the past couple days, and plan to do an interior tour next week. We’re down to five days of school, so I decided to kick off the summer with a more functional workspace 🙂

      • Aaaah! I can’t wait! I’ll be watching for it! You have no idea the inspiration you feed into others! (including myself!) Well, then again, maybe you do already know just how inspiring you are! 🙂

  2. About your stumps, you may want to keep them. Put a heavy layer of some type of laquer on the tops so they no longer grow. You can put a lot of different decor there. One thing that I saw a couple summers ago was a watering can hung slightly tilted to make it look like water is flowing out and used tear drop shaped crystals hung from fishing line on the end to give the effect of water really pouring out. It was beautiful. I’m sure they probably drilled a hole in the bottom of the watering can to leave out any rain water the would happen to get in. Also, you may want to use one of the branches to put up a bird bath. You have tons of possibility there; you might want to reconsider. If it doesn’t work out you can always remove the stumps anyway. Have fun with it. I love your ideas.

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