January 20, 2011

2011 Garden Projects - The Back Garden

Inspired by the blog carnival hosted by My Little Garden in Japan and a beautiful, sunny day I began to seriously contemplate gardening projects for 2011.

In no particular order:
Project #1:  Apply tiles to fence posts (and grout them this time!)

You may remember the antique iron gate mounted between two posts behind my red fountain...I've intended to tile these posts for years now.  I'm embarrassed to say that I made these tiles in 2007...in my defense, I did apply them to the posts in 2009, however, I never got around to grouting the tiles in place.   You know how it is...so many projects and so little time!   You can see the results...the tiles have fallen off over time and sit in a pile on the wall next to the fence.   So project #1 is to reapply the tiles and grout them in place.

Project #2:  Trim that crazily growing branch out of the Crape Myrtle tree

Do you see it in the top right corner of the photo?  This tree is probably 20 feet tall and at the very tippy top is this crazy branch that looks like it's broken and falling over.   It may be broken, I can't tell from below.  If it isn't already broken, it will be at some point with the weight of the heavy blooms of summer pulling it down.

Project #3:  Replace this panel of fence with a gate

This piece of fence blocks access to a much needed hose bib and it would be so much more efficient if this were a pass through to the side yard and the front of the house.

With the addition of a gate, hopefully this will no longer be the norm.  This is the main path into the yard from the house and the hose is always in the way.

Project #4:  Replant this poor agapanthus

Surprisingly it still lives!  Last spring I pulled it from a bed where it received too much afternoon sun and tossed it behind the persimmon tree with the full intention of finding it a permanent home...spring turned to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter...and although it seems relatively happy the least I could do is dig it a proper hole and feed it a bit of root stimulator.

Project #5:  Add a crystal to the water spout of the fountain

This fountain is beautifully textured and shaped but the pump tends to go out frequently creating more work than it's worth.  I found a small crystal at the Round Top  antique fair last fall to place in the spout so it will look as if a drop of water is falling from it.  I'd like to then add a few plants for color and texture adding some softness to this corner of the patio.

Project #6:   Add Oklahoma stone to some of the beds

In 2009 Oklahoma stone was added to outline each of the beds throughout the back yard.  I love the texture, color and pattern that they added.  They also created nice little paths to walk along during garden excursions.   I would like to include some short stacks of this stone within the beds to create small raised places where digging is impossible because of dense oak roots and to add visual interest and varied elevations within the beds.

Project #7:  Espy and bring home a couple more bird houses for the trellis

This is a fun project allowing for some creative exploration!

Project #8:  Power wash the limestone walls and patio

This could be considered a not so fun project by some but with power tools and water on a warm, spring day my husband seems to enjoy the job!

Project #9:   Decide what to do about this window

Our garage is detached from the house and this brick wall is a nice accent in the back yard.  It is the backdrop to the Japanese Maple and I really love the texture and color it brings into the garden.

My mind has wandered for years about what to add to the window though...shutters, mosaics, etc.  This fall during my Round Top (you really need to check it out) excursion I found some Chinese bed panels.  They were salvaged from the homes that were removed to make room for the Olympic venues.

There are many things I like about the panels...the Asian influence would complement the many Asian plants in this bed...Japanese Aralia, Japanese Maple and Japanese Yew companionably live here.  The colors are warm and rich and work well with the tones of the brick and the Japanese Maple.  And most importantly, they are unexpected and unique and that really makes me love them.  They are made of wood though and need to be protected.  I'm going to have to invest some time  researching if they can be covered with some kind of marine polyurethane to keep water from penetrating the screens.  Or I could just hang them and take them down in the event of bad weather.  I could, but would I?  I don't know.  What are your thoughts on this one?  I'd love to hear if you've had any experience with a project like this.

There are many more ideas where these came from...that's the charm of a garden...there are always new projects and possibilities.  For now though, I think I better let this list rest...I don't want to overwhelm the handsome help!

What are your projects for the new year?  Head over to My Little Garden in Japan  to see what others are planning for their gardens.


  1. Beautiful post Cat! Great photos. I love your tiles and suffer from the same hose syndrome. I have an agapanthus that has held on for years though I keep promising to repot it. They sure are determined to live. You have so many lovely details throughout your garden. What a handsome helper indeed! I do not mean the turtle!!

  2. I really like the decorative tiles that you made to put along the fence. That is a nice touch. Japanese Maples are just sooooo pretty! I would love to add one...where I don't know.

  3. Good luck with all of your projects! I can't wait to see your garden with my own eyes. I am most curious about the cute little bird houses. I also know someone who likes power tools. Must be in the family ;-)
    Take care, Sandra

  4. Now Cat, this post just fuels my fire with sleepless nights dreaming about the projects I want to do in my yard! Ask my husband. He will confirm this statement. You should see his eyes glaze over when I mention what project ideas I want to work on!!! All he sees is $$$ and 2 months of weekend projects! Haha I really enjoyed your post and your blog. Hope you can recruit your handsome helper!

  5. Cat, All the projects sound needed, and I almost (but not quite) want to make a list for myself. This year one of my customers recommended a hose rewinder. I don't really water my gardens, but I have to water the nursery plants, and I don't have the option of leaving the hose on the ground. Bringing in the 125' hose at the end of the day is exhausting so I thought why not. I love it. It uses the water in the hose to power the rewinding. And that water comes out a small tube as it rewinds, and I collect the water in a large watering can. So I actually conserve the water in the hose that used to just run out on the ground. If you want the name, message me on Blotanical (I am too tired to run up to the carriage house right now to check).

  6. I love the frog pot foot and those tiles you made are gorgeous! New gate will give you a whole new perspective to the garden on the other side = more vistas to create!

    I am so ready to work in the garden but between the wet, sticky muck around the building and these cold days... I need to make a list just like yours.

  7. Those tiles are beautiful! And I love the bird houses on the trellis and the red fountain. Well, really, I love all of it!

  8. That's quite a list Cat (and it's WAY past New Years, but perhaps not for the garden). Nicely illustrated list too - and I can empathize with the hose problem !

  9. I like that you have photo documentation of the state of things "before", and when you get all your projects done you will see what you have accomplished. I love those Chinese bed panels for the window... I enjoyed reading the design thought process. They would not survive a northern winter up here, so I can't say what your best options are for keeping them protected, but I love the idea!

  10. You made those tiles? They are beautiful! Although you are showing photos of areas you want to work on, they do look terrific as they are now...well, except for the hose. Handsome helper and tortoise! Oh yes, those Chinese Panels are great. I would have displayed them in my porch.

  11. You made those tiles?! They're beautiful! You have a lot of good ideas for your yard. I hope you're able to carve out time to enjoy each project.

  12. You made those tiles?! They're beautiful! You have a lot of good ideas for your yard. I hope you're able to carve out time to enjoy each project.

  13. That's an exciting list of projects to continue putting your unique stamp on your lovely garden. The bed panels are fabulous. I think I would put the marine varnish on all sides to protect them, and not hang them in direct sunlight. They will yellow a bit with the varnish though. Will that be OK? If not, an interior use might be your best bet.

    I have a lengthy list of garden to-do projects also, and not enough time to get half of them done.

  14. You got so many projects coming up this year, just like me revamping the garden and making new raised beds. I loved your water sprout, hope to see it with new plants and colour around it making a nice water feature. I prefer moss and all to your limestone patio walls, more natural and rustic looking.Good luck in your projects!

  15. Those are some great projects for the year! I am sure you will get them all.
    Those tiles look great and so does the fountain. Best luck for your projects in the starting year!

  16. What beautiful photos - you really have the eye. Great post!

  17. What a beautiful garden full of wonderful textures and materials as well as plants! Just love it. I think you will get all your projects done. Love your tiles! I'm not sure about the panels - very striking - but I know I would not take them up and down with the weather over time, especially with so many other garden projects. You could possibly use marine spar varnish but would that diminish the value of the panels? They certainly do add a big wow.

  18. What a wonderful list of things to do! I absolutely love the idea of tiling fence posts -- never seen that before. Now I want to do it to my graying deck.

  19. Those are some wonderful projects. Just think how it will feel when you complete them!

    Like you, however, I have had projects that took a few years to finish, but I did finally finish them. (Stripping and painting an antique gate. Converting a birdbath base into a sundial base.)

    I can't wait to see you grout your posts and hang that crystal.

    I have similar projects:

    Inagtall the plumbing for my outdoor shower and then find an appropriate shower curtain.

    Decorate the top of the shower structure with something...Not sure what yet.

    Finish the touch-up paint job on my potting shed.

    Dig up a rosebush and replace it with a sweet almond...and then there's the ton of pruning that needs to be done and a ton of compost to spread. Laura Munoz

  20. You tiles are really pretty and your shutters a great find. You have quite a few projects ahead and good luck with the. It is nice you have handsome help. I do not have much help on the home front, so I really envy those that do.

  21. I love the way you finished this post! How very nice your help-even holding a big ole-tortoise or turtle? I have no idea. Love that red fountain!!!! Now stick with these projects and one by one they'll get done. You can do it!

  22. Whimsy girl what can I say about all of these amazing projects you have rolling around in your head and so beautifully illustrated by your photographs .. I am totally green with envy (yes even in winter I can turn green rather than just boring blue?LOL)
    Your first picture with the "pot-toe"? I absolutely love .. all of your pictures are gorgeous but that one .. simple earthy .. it is perfect !
    YES .. I would coat what ever would be the best option on the panels .. you are so lucky to have found them and they are truly unique, so rather than putting them up and taking them down (which could damage them too) coat them and leave them up .. it will be an amazing part of your garden with those plants !
    I love your garden and all of those projects !
    Joy of the GWN ... Brrrrrr !! ;-)

  23. Your projects all sound exciting to me. Your tiles are gorgeous! and I love the Chinese panels as well. The trellis as home to birdhouses is a great idea, one I hope to recreate. I look forward to hearing how it all goes this summer.

  24. Oh my gosh i am already tired

  25. I don't know how you make all your "before" photos looks so beautiful. Those tiles are really pretty. Looks like you've got enough to keep you busy this summer!

  26. I love the color and texture of the Japanese Maple as well...it looks great where you have it against the house! There's a lot of good pictures on here!


Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

Thanks for taking the time to visit!