The clients had a rather large, blank canvas and an unsightly tree stump to work with in their back yard. The empty, narrow beds and dense invasive weeds along the back of their property were the tell-tale signs of a lack of any cohesive plan and long neglect by previous owners.
Working with a limited budget, the clients were ready, willing and able to take on a good portion of the labour themselves to realize the serene back-yard space they had visualized. They had described wanting a calm, restful feel to their garden – a “sanctuary” they could come to at the end of a hectic day to simply unwind.
Poor soil quality, a higher acidic pH value due to surrounding evergreens and partially rotten ties were the main obstacles to overcome.
One of the challenges was to create a garden on a scale more in keeping with the large back yard space; providing multiple areas of interest and height variation to give the clients something more to look at than the plain back fence.
The tree stump was an obvious eyesore. Rather than having the hassle and cost of removing it to contend with, the stump was incorporated into the design; its level surface is now perfect for placing a planter with specimen plant.
It took us six visits to install a raised bed along the entire back fence to give definition and height to an otherwise flat landscape. The beds include shrubs and conifers that will mature to screen the fence.
Low maintenance perennials include hostas and grasses, that will fill in over time and provide visual interest primarily with leaf shape and colour variegation as opposed to flowers. This offers the space for features in the bed to provide a more subtle and soothing palette for the eye to enjoy – perfectly in keeping with the clients vision.
And with the creation of a dry river bed beside it, the tree stump has become interwoven in the new tapestry: