Structure 1: Porch

Structure is almost the most important thing in making a garden look good, and it’s where I fall short.  Alas, the salary from my day job does not afford me fripperies such as brick or stone walls or paths, terracing, professionally-built arbors or patios.

So I’m on my own, and while my scale is limited, the process may be more fun that way.  I can fake a few things, I have women friends who do not fear power tools, and I keep a crowbar and heavy gloves in the trunk of my car in case I’ve got to scavenge some rocks from a building site.

“Who, me?  I just wanted a few rocks for my flowerbed.. . . ”

How much rock do you think an out-of-shape, middle-aged woman can “borrow” from a construction site?

I’ll show you later in this series.

Vertical structure:

The biggest bang for the buck comes from anything vertical: arches, trellises, pergolas, columns.   Vertical elements allow you to create private space as well as to grow climbing roses and clematis.

Our 1905 house is actually the biggest structure in the garden, and that’s probably why I bought it: to garden around.  Bob thinks we bought it to store books and guitars.  The cats believe it is to give them a safe and comfortable place to sleep between meals.

Thinking of ur back porch as a garden structure, I can see that it creates the best place in the house and yard, a private garden room/home office/place to have coffee  in the morning:

Looking through the kitchen door at the back porch.

I live here summer mornings. It’s a great place to read, write, and drink coffee.  The acoustics are not too bad for guitar playing when the neighbors’ A/C is not on.  More often, I see some weed that needs killin’, and I’m shot out of a cannon into the yard for several hours.

From the backyard, it looks like this [Yeah, I don’t bother to style my photos — here it is, crap stacked against the wall and everything]:

The view of the rose arch itself from the back porch when the sun is rising over the houses across the street is sometimes amazing.   Awesome backlighting!

As far as the view from the porch, the neighbors’ rental property next door is maybe fifteen feet from the porch, but you can’t see it very well in this photo.  Good!

We did some things to “interrupt the view” — a very apt term — from one of their windows that looks over the fence right at where I like to put my breakfast table.

I wanted to interrupt the view rather than create an unfriendly-feeling fence that walled the neighbors out and walled us in.  Much better.

  1. Bob had the idea of moving the existing privacy fence, which precluded access to the backyard, and extending it with a trellis and then the picket fence you can almost see in the picture above.
  2. He made a trellis to my picky specifications.
  3. I planted the redbud tree.  This tree does its job very well.  Redbuds grow like weeds here, and I’m always so happy to see them bloom early in the spring after a colorless winter.   It makes a great microclimate to grow ferns and hostas underneath.   Here you can see only its trunk and a leaf in right foreground.  This tree also shades the porch in the summer.
  4. We added the arch and then of course I had to plant a rose on it.  Plus a couple clematis.

The photo below shows part of the relocated fence, the trellis, the redbud’s trunk, and the shade garden it makes possible, with hostas and ferns.

Note the rocks lining the flowerbed.

To come: More Structure: Front porch columns; Rocks [patio, front walk, flowerbeds, etc.]; Arches; The Hambrick Avenue Home for Decrepit Chairs; Pergolas and Girl Power Tools;  Jacques Majorelle, Etc.

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