Home garden and decorating magazines—and the fact that I live in a desert—long ago inspired in me a yearning for a fantasy oasis. Oh, nothing excessively artsy-fartsy, but I dreamed of a private, lush garden to relax in. Lots of greenery. Trees to enfold our little house and obscure those surrounding us. Perhaps a little artwork tucked away here and there to liven the view and add a little whimsy…
In the Beginning
When we moved into our new house three years ago, there was grass from the street all the way to the back fence. Luckily, there were three mature trees, too. Well, they were advertised as mature, but they were more like adolescents. Maybe I’m being a snob, but I think a mature tree should actually provide some shade! Where was my fantasy oasis?
Anyway, the trees are in the back yard: one in each corner, and an extra along one side. Accompanying these were two weeping mulberry bushes arranged willy-nilly along the fence. They did not appear to be centered on anything. They weren’t evenly spaced, and it hurt my aesthetic eye. (Yes, more snobbery! I won’t talk about the pile of rocks and busted pond liner they tried to pass off as a water feature. With no water.) On the bright side, we are blessed with a pretty high water table, and the trees and shrubs are really taking off.
As much as I like grass, it was so boring! Especially after coming from a property we’d spent 23 years coaxing into prettiness. And especially with the silly sprinkler issue I talked about before. Our fantasy oasis got an early start when the neighbors on one side installed some playground equipment about three inches from the fence. (Okay, it might have been two feet…) It came with a pair of functioning binoculars that looked right into our bedroom and the family room. I tested when the Darling Toddler was peering at me one day. I waved. She waved back. We dashed to the nursery and bought three of the fastest growing shrubs we could find.
Progress Little by Little
They grew fast! And they looked pretty!
So we added a few more along the back fence between the mulberries with the intention of blocking the back yard neighbor’s windows. We are surrounded by two-story houses, and they all look down into our yard. Ugh. Talk about living in a fishbowl!
And Then THE Inspiration!
I found a picture. The picture. There’s this beautiful patio, a small stretch of grass, and a lovely pergola across from the patio. The whole picture was taken from inside open French doors, mimicking our sliding glass door on a grander scale. “Isn’t this beautiful?” I asked my hubby. He loved it. I said, “Let’s do it.” Much to my shock and delight, he agreed. We couldn’t copy the layout exactly—in fact, it was a little too formal for our tastes. And our yard is a different shape. And… we couldn’t see what lay outside the edges of the picture. Hehehe!
While we waited for the Patio Dudes to come do their job, we tore out sod. We moved a vegetable garden. We took out one of the mulberries. We redid the sprinkler system. We moved a lot of dirt. So much dirt… Nice, heavy, clay stuff. I might have two muscles now instead of just one. We put in another tree, added some more of the awesome fast-growing junipers, planted shrubs and flowers, put in a swing, began work on the pergola.
In the Meantime…
We are still waiting for the Patio Dudes. They’re my son-in-law’s brothers. Does this put us lower down the totem pole than anyone else in the area? Do they not want our money? We may have to find someone else to do the job, but there’s no real rush. The deck still works in spite of being an abode for mice and wasps.
I love, love, love how this is beginning to look. It will take awhile for things to grow and fulfill the “lush” requirement, and there is still more we want to do. There is only so much time and energy in a summer, and we’ve done this ourselves with the exception of tearing out the sod and a little help with the sprinkler system. Now, as the weather is cooling, I can go sit out on the deck and watch what the season is doing to my little fantasy oasis …
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So that’s what I’ve been doing this summer! How about you?