Marking Hardscape

Over the weekend I spent a bit of time in the garden, measuring out where I want hardscape to go. I have a few things I want to put in the revised landscape plan and was pondering some options.

First, I want a greenhouse. I have some orchids and would like to be able to get more, but right now the only orchids I can keep are either able to live outside (I have an unreasonable number of cymbidiums which love it outside here as long as you water them), or indoors without special climate control, or are small enough to fit into my terrarium (which is large, but fairly full). So, greenhouse. My initial plan had been a 10x12 foot greenhouse, which is pretty large. Then I was playing with the landscape plans and pondered a larger one. How much larger? Well, that was the question.

Second, I want a koi pond. Since we live in a coastal environment, this is going to require some defenses against our large flocks of herons and egrets, not to mention raccoons. So not for me the lovely shallow naturalistic koi ponds of Japan. I'll need something that is deep with steep sides so predators can't hunt for my fish. The real question was how large a pond can I fit in the garden without overwhelming it. I like koi and ponds but I don't want a garden that is all pond.

Third, I want a patio space between the greenhouse and pond where I can hang out comfortably. This is the controlling factor on the size of things.

Marking paths with Bunny

So we got the can of marking paint and off we went.

Note the dog lying in the shade helping me with this process. Bunny turns out to not only have a bad back, but to be riddled with cancer. We are taking a gentle approach, just pumping her full of painkillers and steroids, and helping her enjoy the time she has left. So while she's not in pain she's also even lazier than she was before. Walk ten feet? That calls for a nap.

Anyway, this is the main path to the back yard, pretty much where it was before. Because of topographical changes in the yard from construction, it's going to have to slope down and then back up. We'll make it work.

New orchard layout

When we were in Japan a couple years ago I fell in love with the way some trees were handled, and I'm refashioning the orchard to look more decorative. Several trees will need to come down, but I think the results will be worth it.

This is the view looking down over the orchard as you enter the back garden. The path will dip down to allow rainwater to drain into a rain basin, as it did before (the contractors very kindly filled in that rain basin for me to make the back yard level, which isn't working), then there will be some steps up to a higher area in between the trees, with the path widening and narrowing around the root balls of the trees. Eventually this path will go to a bridge that will cross the pond.

Greenhouse and pond

This is a little jumbly because the angle was all wrong. But basically, after measuring out a 10x12 greenhouse and the larger options, I realized I didn't want so much of the ground covered up. So original greenhouse size. Then I measured a pond that felt like a good size. I'd like a 6000 gallon pond, which is mostly about the ease of maintaining water chemistry. I can get that with a long narrow pond, which gives the koi room to swim fast, too. And makes building a bridge across it simpler.

While I was marking things out, I was also picking up pieces of trash and throwing them in the wheelbarrow. Contractors are always messy. It's basically not avoidable.

The orchard

This plant is from seeds I picked up on the beach ages ago, and it has spread all over the yard. I love it. The bees love it, too. I cleared out a small clearing to get the feel of how I want the orchard to feel and I feel like it really works. The bees were a little pissed that I took away some of their plants.

In the coming weeks the gardeners are coming back, and we're going to get started on making this thing happen. It's exciting.

posted by ayse on 05/15/19

3 Comments

I cannot wait to see how all of this unfolds… I see your chicken coop is still there — do you have any plans for getting chickens again? And I'm so sorry to hear about Bunny. I totally agree with your approach — kind and gentle and pain-free. One of our two dogs is in the last stage of her life; her seizures, allergies, skin rashes, and small growths are all being maintained while her failing eyesight makes us her seeing-eye humans. We treasure the time we may still have left with her. Give Bunny a gentle hug from us!

raccoons ate all my koi. just sayin, plan ahead.

We also have a lot of herons and egrets, Bette. I am planning for this.

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