Friday, May 31, 2013

The Patio and Deck Project - Before and After

The patio and deck projects are finally finished! It was a long drawn out project, but what a difference it has made to the garden.  The project started back in January, with a plan that I had designed. We decided to start the project in the late winter before the garden came up.  Starting early, spared the plants from damage and made it easier for the installers to work. Installation companies are eager to find work that time of the year and many offer discounts if you allow them to start early in the season.  We did have a few delays, due to rain and snow. We hired a landscape company to dig out the patio area and install the patio pavers.  The paver installation required the patio area to be hand dug out and we did not want to take on that job. We also hired a company to redo the existing deck.  The deck required some major repair to the main support system. Plantings, fish pond construction, decorating, painting, staining, plant removal and old stepping stone removal were my jobs. Here are some of the before pictures.

Now for the "after" pictures of the project.  I changed the direction of the stairs. Now when you go down the stairs you turn and look out towards the garden rather than the pool. 
The deck material is all low maintenance and will not require painting or staining on the deck floor, steps, risers or sides of the deck. The handrails will need to be stained, but the wood needs to season.  I will stain it this fall.

We added several planting boxes to the patio to soften the look of  the patio pavers. Part of the old deck was turned into an arbor. I planted climbing roses in the planting boxes around two of the arbor post. The roses will grow up and cover the arbor with pink colored reblooming roses.  A ground cover was planted in the planting boxes that will have purple flowers in the spring and stay green in the winter for color.
Under the deck, we added a wood grained aluminum under decking that now gives us a dry place to sit outside on those days that it rains. You can see part of it in the last photo.

Decorating the patio was the part of the project that I had looked forward to seeing complete. It was just great to see a design on paper come to life.

After the installer completed their work, I started on reinstalling landscape.  During the installation, I had removed plants and potted them up or replanted them to new locations till after the installation was complete.  It was not easy locating plants that were dormant and underground in February.  I still have a few things popping up in the wrong area.
One feature that I wanted to add was a fish pond that would allow visitors to get up close to view the fish.  I spent several days digging out the new pond.  I can see the fish from the upper deck, patio and from the patio door inside the house.

We decided to add an area near the pool for sitting around a fire.  The area where the hot tub had been located, became that new location. 

I love the new patio and deck project. It is a great place to sit and enjoy the garden.  The patio and deck area is now planted with containers of tropical plants and it is like a mini vacation to be on the patio.
Would we do it again?  You bet!
Happy Gardening!
The Fairy Garden survived last years drought and it is now up and growing. Check back for my next post on the Fairy Garden!

Friday, May 10, 2013

It's a Sensation of a Lilac

Years ago, I purchased a lilac for my garden. The plant tag showed these beautiful lilac flowers and I couldn't resist it. I took my new shrub home and found what I thought would be the ideal location in the garden and planted my new find.  The years past and not one flower. I studied my gardening books and tried to figure out what was wrong. I decided to dig the plant up and move it to a new location that would give it full sun.  Over the years of waiting, the garden's lighting conditions had changed. The spot that I had planted the lilac was not as sunny as it should have been. 

Changing the location was what was needed.  The following year, I had two flowers and each year since, it had produced more blooms.  This year it is a sensation! Which if I didn't mention is the name of the lilac.  Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation', is a beautiful lilac for the landscape.  It produces fragrant purple flowers that are edged in white that bloom from April to May. It grows in Zones 3-7 and it needs full sun but can take some light shade. It is an easy low maintenance shrub that needs a light pruning after it is done blooming. This lilac prefers to grow in a rich, neutral soil that is well drained. It will grow from 8 to 15 feet in height with a spread between 6 to 12 feet. This year I was thrilled with the amount of flowers my shrub produced. I can't wait to see what happens next year!

The patio and deck projects that I have been writing about are now complete.  I just finished digging and installing my new fish pond. The painting and most of the decorating is now done.  I still need to plant some new shrubs along the fence and dig out the old shrubs.  I will be posting pictures of the completed project in the next couple of weeks. I am giving the garden some time to grow and fill in. The project has taken longer than we expected due to weather, back orders of materials and waiting on contractors to finish, but it looks great and was worth the wait. Check back for the before and after photos in the next couple of weeks.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful spring and that your garden is growing as well as mine this year.

Happy Gardening!


'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood

Years ago, I purchased a very small tree that was only 6 to 8 inches tall. It was a 'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood. It had beau...