A no-fuss, downsized backyard that also brings pleasure

Might 14, 2024

I adored Colleen Jamison’s former backyard, with its inviting patios, winding paths, charming decor, and customized gates and arbors constructed by her husband, Bruce. I blogged about that backyard 11 years in the past, in addition to the median of her avenue that Colleen reworked right into a group park. You may view her backyard on Central Texas Gardener too.

Colleen and Bruce are renovating their new outdated house

A couple of years in the past, Colleen and Bruce offered their house and backyard and acquired a Thirties bungalow with a yard rental unit within the Brentwood neighborhood. Colleen mourned her outdated backyard for some time. Then she realized that she didn’t thoughts having a smaller yard. It was, actually, precisely what she wished.

Colleen set about making a brand new, no-fuss backyard with robust, low-maintenance vegetation. This time round, her objective is a backyard she will stroll away from every time she and Bruce journey, with out worrying whether or not it’ll be OK with out her. She’s resisting the temptation to backyard up each inch, the way in which she did at her outdated place. She’s saved some garden in back and front, and he or she’s specializing in including splashes of perennial shade, like black-eyed Susans, and planting timber to display screen a busy avenue alongside their nook lot.

To cover the road, Colleen carved out a deep nook mattress within the entrance yard. Timber fill the again layer nearest the road. Warmth-tolerant flowering vegetation like sunflower, lantana, bulbine, and coneflower step down towards the garden. An arched arbor set throughout the timber gives entry from the sidewalk.

A potted palm makes a textural accent.

Sunflowers present golden shade and feed birds.

A flower plate, elevated on a stand, makes a picture-like focus beside the spherical pads of a prickly pear.

A aspect path results in a small patio tucked between the primary home and the rental unit. Colleen turned this lifeless zone right into a tiny courtyard with chairs, iron decor, and a Monterrey oak, which she plans to prune as much as shade the house. Inland sea oats, a shade-tolerant native grass, fills the foreground.

The dangling oats transfer within the breeze and catch the sunshine. They’re fairly in a vase too.

Within the rental unit’s small yard, Colleen opted for a no-lawn patio backyard with timber across the perimeter for a inexperienced backdrop. A gravel path arcs round a central mini-meadow. Early spring wildflowers have been not too long ago changed by summer season flowers, simply getting began…

…like sandpaper verbena.

Underneath the timber, a disappearing fountain gently burbles, attractive birds to come back drink.

Colleen has planted round 40 timber on her small lot, she informed me, specializing in making a inexperienced display screen across the perimeter. Mexican buckeye is one in every of these, with its dangling, lime-green seedpods.

Considered one of Colleen’s favourite timber is arroyo sweetwood (Myrospernum sousanum), an underutilized and swish tree with aromatic white flowers and pea-like seedpods.

It was virtually achieved flowering after I visited final week, however just a few blossoms have been hanging on.

The dangling seedpods appear like the heads of geese to me. Do you see it?

A blue-painted star mirror is dressed up with a tendril of berrying vine.

Bruce designed and constructed the gate that leads into his and Colleen’s yard.

Their home overlooks a small garden edged by a dense border of native timber, together with Lacey oak, Monterrey oak, arroyo sweetwood, and anacua.

Native anacua (Ehretia anacua) leaves really feel tough and gritty, therefore its widespread title, sandpaper tree.

Colleen is coaching star jasmine up 4 trellises hooked up to the ADU. An extended bench in entrance gives a spot to absorb the vine’s candy perfume. The fence is Bruce’s design. He louvered horizontal boards to confess mild and breezes.

In a single nook stands a good-looking and shaggy beaked yucca.

In the midst of the border, a turquoise fountain makes a ribbed focus.

Straightforward to take care of, the backyard gives inexperienced texture and screening, seasonal flowers for shade and perfume, and bird-attracting water options. Better of all, says Colleen, she will get pleasure from it with out being a slave to it.

Colleen Jamison

In any case, the lifetime of a gardener has seasons too. For years you could be all-in in your backyard, planting it up, creatively sculpting an general imaginative and prescient in your house, and having fun with the immersive expertise because it comes collectively. Finally, nevertheless, there could come a time once you need or have to reduce. Maybe in retirement you wish to journey or pursue different passions, or your physique isn’t as much as the bodily work of intensive gardening anymore.

And that’s positive! It by no means needs to be all or nothing. I’m grateful to Colleen and different gardeners for displaying downsize gracefully, with out sacrificing their gardening pleasure.

Thanks for sharing your new backyard with me, Colleen!

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Digging Deeper

Might 18: On Austin House’s Nice Outdoor Tour, held 5/18 from 10 am to three pm, discover “Pinterest-worthy swimming pools and out of doors kitchens to considerate plantings and trendy city density options.” Tickets are $30.

Might 18: Pop as much as Dallas for the 2024 DCMGA Backyard Tour on 5/18 from 10 am to five pm. Tickets are $18 if bought on-line prior to six pm on 5/17, or $22 after 6 pm on 5/17 or on the occasion. For a sneak peek, click on right here.

June 1-2: Take a self-guided, 2-day tour of ponds and gardens in and round Austin on the annual Austin Pond and Backyard Tour, held 6/1 and 6/2, 9 am to five pm. Tickets are $20 to $25.

Come find out about gardening and design at Backyard Spark! I arrange in-person talks by inspiring designers, panorama architects, authors, and gardeners just a few instances a yr in Austin. These are limited-attendance occasions that promote out rapidly, so be a part of the Backyard Spark e mail record to be notified upfront; merely click on this hyperlink and ask to be added. Season 8 kicks off in fall 2024. Keep tuned for more information!

All materials © 2024 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized replica prohibited.

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