Beautifying Gardenyard

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We’ve reached the point of the year when a person reflects on his/her decisions made within the last 11 months. In spite of all the setbacks, 2013 was a slight improvement from 2012. There are two highlights that made this year worthy of fond memories. One being the creation and gradual emergence of this blog and the other is the process of beautifying my cherished courtyard. Both moments equally share the top billing of 2013 highlights but I will focus my attention on the courtyard beautification for the sake of this post.

Earlier this year I shared garden inspirations for the small yet cozy enclosed space my family and I acquired when we moved in to our current townhouse.  For those of you who need a mental refresher, here are the five ideas highlighted in The Gardenyard Project: use of vertical space, paver stones, containers, furnishings, and plants.

After going through a half dozen weekends spread across a seven-month period, the foundation of my beloved courtyard is laid. For this initial phase of the beautification, I focused more on paver stones, containers, and plants. Here are several photos, starting with some taken before beautification, to assist me in telling the story…

Pre-Beautification

 

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Love at first sight: The moment I first laid eyes on my plot of treasure before moving in.
Weeds in a mudpit: A few weeks after my mother ordered my uncle to “dig a trench and level the ground” to remedy the issue of water running off and accumulating on the porch.

 

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Before I put the reclaimed wine barrel to great use as a garden container, it served a good use for removing soil to prep for paver stones.

 

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The PVC pipe was my uncle’s solution to our water runoff issues. I don’t even know… Whatever.

 

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Let’s keep digging boys and girls!!

 

You know you're living in Florida when it randomly starts to rain and you have to deal with this in result of said rain.

You know you’re living in Florida when you have no other choice but to deal with this after an intense fifteen-minute monsoon.

 

Beautification Begins with Paver Stones

 

Out with the junkie backfill, in with the landscape fabric and a layer of paver base.

Out with the junkie backfill, in with the landscape fabric…

 

... and paver base.

…And paver base.

 

After lots of tamping, in goes a layer of paver sand on top of the base.

After lots of tamping, in goes a layer of paver sand above of the base.

 

Now the real fun begins. Lifting and setting these stones, designed to look like flagstones, was a workout to say the least.

The real work begins. Lifting and setting these stones, designed to look like flagstones, was a workout to say the least.

 

Stone laying was put on hold while the porch received its makeover.

Stone laying was put on hold while the porch received its makeover. Starting with covering the bare concrete with tiles…

 

The porch phase of beautification ended with the area being screened in.

…Then the porch phase of beautification ended with the area being screened in.

 

I didn't have the means to properly cut stones so gravel was placed around the perimeter of Gardenyard.

I didn’t have the means to properly cut stones so gravel was placed around the perimeter of the courtyard.

 

Applying polymeric sand is a dusty mess but someone has to do it.

Applying polymeric sand is a dusty mess but someone has to do it.

 

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You have to make sure the polymeric sand covers every nook and cranny. Think of it as the paver stone equivalent of tile grout.

 

Like so...

Sweep it all around like so…

 

Beautiful! All I need to do is use a garden hose in the shower setting. The wet polymeric sand will cure and bind the stones together.

Beautiful! All I need to do is use a garden hose to slightly shower the stones so the polymeric sand can cure and bind the stones together.

 

Plants and Containers Conclude Initial Phase of Beautification

 

The stones are placed and bound together. Finally the real fun begins with plants!! :)

The stones are placed and bound together. Finally, the real fun begins with plants!!

 

These containers are not all that fancy but it's a start.

These containers are not all that fancy but it’s a start.

 

Our friend, the wine barrel,  is finally put to great use as home to the first plot of plants.

Our friend, the reclaimed wine barrel, is finally put to great use as home for the first plot of plants.

 

Loooking Forward in Making Gardenyard a Significant Place

 

I dragged my feet all year long but it’s such a relief to finally have the first part of beautification over and done with. As you can see from my photos, hardscape elements (paver stones, gravel, and a reclaimed wine barrel) dominated in 2013. And since this beautification is an ongoing project, expect softer elements (edibles, flowers, and foliage), furniture, and use of vertical space to take center stage in 2014.

Before I wrap up this post, however, I want to share a quote by Marilyn Finnemore about the importance of place:

“PLACE: A space that is an integral part and an extension of the natural world around it, yet reveals the individuality of those who reside there and allows people to interact meaningfully to create a deep sense of belonging.”

In addition to the garden work I’ve highlighted in this post and will continue to work on, I have decided on a name for my hortus conclusus to make the place even more significant. The name of the outdoor space is a blend of the words garden and courtyard; and in 2014, Gardenyard will be a beautiful space to be loved by all of her visitors.

What are some things you have done in your garden or other outdoor space to make it a significant place to you?

3 Responses to “Beautifying Gardenyard”

  1. Hortipopia.com | Live green, garden hard. Says:

    […] all the heavy lifting and tamping to get Gardenyard’s ground set into place, I mustered up some more effort and visited my local big box retail garden center to select the […]

  2. Hortipopia.com | Live green, garden hard. Says:

    […] Why was I removing soil? Refer to this post. […]

  3. Sturdy Thirty Says:

    THIS LOOKS AMAZING!

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