Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ground Force

Ground Force was a fabulously fun British TV series in which a crew of landscapers would magically transform some lucky person's bit of weedy patch of dirt into a beautiful garden in two days.  I was reminded of it this past weekend, except that I had only one day to transform my back yard, thanks to being out and about all day Saturday.

Some of you might remember that I had an area with a lot of mature shrubs which Did Not Please Me.  It looked like this:

I wanted an open space with an arbor for climbing roses, a path, some perennials, and a garden bench there instead.  First, of course, I had to remove the shrubs, which did not happen in a day -- I've been hacking away at them over several months. The boxwood was easy but the ceanothus on the right was about 10 by 10 feet and had some rather thick limbs.  I hacked it down to the trunk but did not remove the trunk/root ball -- too hard!  Luckily it won't show in the final plan.

The arbor I ordered online (carefully selected based on "ease of assembly" reviews) arrived in time for Sunday assembly:

Truman was not  helpful in this task, which did turn out to be super simple.

I tentatively set out some pavers that will lead to the bench (which I haven't found yet and am still contemplating, due to the large number of reviews on garden benches that say things like "it was impossible to put together without redrilling holes" or "it fell apart after six months").  Part of the box the arbor came in was put down in front as a weed block and covered with mulch, and I also planted several ferns and hostas.

I need to clean up the area by the tool shed on the back left behind and around the tree.  So this was a bit of work, though it was only the start of my Ground Force Sunday.  For I had another project -- to create a beach!

There is a small patch of ground where nothing grows well that I thought might make an interesting decorative spot.  It looked like this:

That pile of stuff on the lower left is a bunch of decorative pebbles (I pretty much cleaned out the Dollar Tree's supply).  First, I used the rest of the cardboard box the arbor came in as more weed block (the one thing that will grow there, of course) and then started in on the pebbles.  And I moved the retaining wall blocks over to the righthand side, and did plant a few ornamental grasses on the theory that grass will grow anywhere, based on my experience of all the places I don't want it to grow.

Next I added some bark mulch.

I moved the pelican and gull statues into the scene.

Truman gave it a thorough going-over to ensure proper quality control.

He seemed to like it, although of course he wanted to dig there.

After some weeding, pruning, planting of annuals, and a little lounging, my work was done.  Here is a wider view of the back yard:

Sadly, the faux woodland stream I installed last year is hidden behind the flowering currant on the left.  It is developing nicely and now looks like this:

Monday I was a little sore.  I was just going to relax in the evening after work and watch the ball game (Hurrah Mariners!!).  Except that a large package had arrived with my five roses inside...arggghhh.  Luckily, I had already determined where they were going and had prepared the ground so getting them planted last night was not too difficult.  The two shade-tolerant climbing roses went in on either side of the arbor.  Good timing!


  1. Good grief. I wish I had even 1/4 of your energy. It's looking terrific and I can tell that Truman loves it. What a great ball game! Hope they can keep it up for 161 more LOL.

    1. I am definitely a little sore after that effort. And there sure is a whole lot more work to do on the garden overall. I think the "beach" scene needs a lighthouse and maybe some fishing net.

      The Opening Game was great!!! Fabulous fun all round. Go Mariners!!!

  2. *Very* impressive. I'm trying to think what I've accomplished in the yard lately and I'm coming up pretty blank. My peas (planted about six weeks late) are starting to come up though. Also, the West Seattle Taxi has just started its weekend service!

  3. I'd love to come to West Seattle via water taxi...on a sunny weekend day. At the moment, the forecast for this coming weekend is rainy.Do let's keep each other posted on weekend plans and the weather -- at some point, things may come together properly for a fabulous outing!