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My Backyard Garden #3: Maximizing Space for Flowers, Ducks, and R&R...

A year and a half into our downsizing adventure back to city life, it's been an experiment in maximizing the fraction of a space we have compared to the farm (our city lot is 2% of what we came from, to get some perspective...)! Here's how it looks today...

"Multipurpose" is definitely the name of the game in designing this backyard, including but not limited to:

  • Building a cedar fence using the old chainlink fence frame to both bring natural beauty AND increase privacy & safety.

  • Planting tall flowering shrubs like lilac, red flowering currant, clerodendrum, red twig dogwood and rose of sharon along the fence to bring both color AND ultimately add more privacy at maturity.

  • Filling both levels of the yard with pollinator-friendly flowers, while making sure everything planted would not be nibbled up by curious ducks not used to a much smaller area to roam.

  • Replacing the grass with colorful & diverse plants (including the entire lower tier being drought-tolerant varieties), while also planting for erosion control with Point Reyes California Lilac and Lithodora groundcovers and replacing one of the retaining walls.

  • Adding functionality by installing a wall-mount clothesline, a 250 gallon rainwater collection tank, and a heat pump cover that doubles as a potting bench, while adding pizzazz through color with avocado green on the shed door, tank and bench.

  • Going vertical, installing trellises on the side of the house & shed to grow hops, herbs, and yep - even more flowers.

  • Bringing pretty in by installing a garden-themed rain chain, which also eliminated water pooling from the original downspout that wasn't properly draining away from the house.

  • Filling in weird curvy downhill corner with fast-growing lavender, daisies, clerodendrum, and santolina...while also inadvertently creating a sanctuary for the girls to lay their egg(s) on those unpredictable days they decide to 'sleep in' and lay later in the day.

This week I also upgraded our backyard seating, selling the poorly designed Ikea table & chairs and replacing them with what we *really* wanted in the backyard - recliners. From sipping sangrias and watching the ducks play amongst the flowers, to falling asleep with a book on a late summer afternoon in the shade hearing just the chirping of birds and buzzing of nearby bumblebees.

As a final flashback, this is what it looked like when we moved in 19 months ago as per the old listing photo, then a year ago before we relocated the duck house to the shady area behind the shed, and now. C-c-crazy, eh...!


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