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Topic: Help! Worst backyard ever...need ideas and a plan of attack  (Read 4132 times)
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VaxGirl
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2007 07:35:28 AM »

You may not be allowed to have a full grass lawn in your area due to watering restrictions.   The water district may be able to provide some info on xeriscaping. I have a home in Vegas and they have a demonstration garden where you can go look around.  See if your water company has a website.

Heavy gardening gloves will also help with the sticker bushes.  It may be tough without a car, but some garage sale or thriftstore outdoor furniture will help to make it a little more homey.

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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2007 10:02:31 AM »

You may not be allowed to have a full grass lawn in your area due to watering restrictions.   The water district may be able to provide some info on xeriscaping. I have a home in Vegas and they have a demonstration garden where you can go look around.  See if your water company has a website.

I definitely agree with this!! I get great ideas at the demo gardens here and at the botanical garden in Denver. Also-I am a big believer in making your garden reflect your tastes. I noticed from your blog that you quilt-why not make a quilt to hang outside? Or as a temporary awning for some chairs? And build a little tent for your Blythe to play in outside? My garden is filled with bits and pieces of all my craft stlyes. I don't know if anyone else likes it, but I sure do!! Grin Grin Grin
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bananabanana
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2007 03:07:29 AM »

Hello,
I think you should paint that block wall so it looks more colourful and attractive. Not sure what colour though.
Good luck!
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2007 07:31:09 PM »

I love how much space you have in your backyard!!  (I am an apartment dweller).  Speaking of rooms....it's quite easy to create a little "room" in your backyard...you can build a chuppah-type of room (http://readymademag.com/chuppah/) with fallen birch trees or big bamboo sticks, and then cover the top with outdoor fabric.  Then, you could train fast-growing plants up the columns of the chuppah, and voila!  A beautiful room for you to enjoy the garden. 
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2007 08:09:47 PM »

earthtohearth thanks for that link!

Well the weather is starting to cool off so I will be getting out there to clean things up quite a bit. The area with the orange tree I think will be the easiest place for me to start...it is small...and has a focal point already. H was going to work on it when he came over to paint the house trim he promised to paint. Roll Eyes  He bought some supplies but didn't do anything with it so I plan on getting out there to do it. Roll Eyes

bananabanana yeah that wall needs painted. One was is a tan and others are grey...then there is still that wood fence. Oye!
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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2007 08:19:59 PM »

I agree that you have a large number of options.  I really like the pathway idea.  Do you have dogs that like to dig?  :laugh: that sounds strange, but I ask for my ideas sake.

What I would do to really make a clean slate would be to get a rotatiller and do the back yard.  This is a VERY hard task (I'm a decently built guy and it still takes me about 3-4 hours to do my backyard, similar in size to yours) but you can then have all the weeds broken up and have a very flat yard.  Rake out the weeds and you should be left with just dirt.  You can get a bag of grass (fall mix) and run it over the yard. 

You could buy a water pump and dig out a small lowered area in one of the corners and put a tarp for a small pond.  Put up some of the flat stones around the water and make a small waterfall.  I've seen it done around a tree before as well.  The water runs up and under the stones through a tube and right around the tree then the pond is below it.

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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2007 08:28:50 PM »

Well the pup is only here on the weekends these days but goodness ever knows if he will be here full time in the future. He used to be big on holes but hasn't been digging a whole lot the past couple years.

Any idea how the rototiller would be with there being some rocks? There doesn't seem to be a ton I just have visions of getting wonked in the head with one. I would be a great way though to get it all flattened out and who knows if I rent it maybe I could get H to come over and help with the tilling.

I got new windows installed this week so I am eager to have nice views out of them!

I was thinking too of getting some sheppard's hooks and some hanging plants.
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2007 08:36:25 PM »

Actually, if you have the rototiller set low around rocky areas, it won't jump too much. If you have it set on high speed (what I always seem to do *chuckle*) it will leap up in the air a bit.  The rocks don't really get thrown, just move around.  Just remember to let the tiller move and all you have to do is hold it in a straight line, too many people try to push it. 

We have large dogs that dig up the backyard every winter.   Every spring I redo it. 
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femmeraven
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2007 09:45:47 AM »

Those thorny bush tree things are Tumbleweeds.  I live in West Texas and we have them everywhere. 

The only way to get rid of them is to pull them out root and all.  If the roots live, the tumbleweeds will only grow bigger and stronger each year.  I kid you not, we have some around here that are over 5' tall with stems thicker than small trees.   

The easiest way to get rid of them is to either wait until after a good rain, or soak the ground around them for a good 1/2 hour or so (the bigger they are the longer you should soak to reach all the way down to the bottom of the roots).  Once the ground is super soaked, put something like an old sheet or big old towel over the tumbleweed (this will protect you somewhat from the pokey parts) grab the base and pull.  You may want to try and losen the mud around the base of the weed with a pitchfork  or hoe or something, but don't damage the base or when you pull it will break. You want to try and get the roots of the plant when you pull so if it resists soak it some more and try to losen the soil more. 

If you can get them all out with the roots intact, you may only have a few small ones pop up next year and those will be much easier to get out.  But keep at it, if you can keep them from seeding in your yard, it will only take a couple of growing seasons to have them pretty much gone.

About the rototiller suggestion, it is a good idea if you want to get grass growing, but be prepared for a lot of weeds to grow once you've tilled it.  See, when you till you bring to the surface seeds of previous weeds that have been buried too far down to get the sun and water that they needed to grow.  That's the bad side, the good side is that they will be easy to pull if you pull them as soon as you see them.  Another bonus, the tilled soil will be loose and full of oxygen allowing grass roots to grow deep and strong. 

A good flowering plant that works in dry areas is Lantana, it comes in several colors and is really low maintenance, you could also get some flowering cacti, there are some real pretty varieties available. 

To add some interest without plants, you could craft some metal sculptures (copper is awesome and is beautiful as it ages) and put them in your yard.  You could make a copper trellis with just small length of pipe and elbow joints, or if you like something more abstract just free style a design.  If I had that much free space in front of my fence, I'd make a few sculputures and put them in front of my fence, just to break it up visually. 

If you are a good painter you could make a mural on your fence as a background and put a little seating area in front of it. 

The gravel (I would suggest using pea gravel as the stones are smaller and easier to walk on once their down) is a great idea to make a wandering walkway through the yard.  YOu could make several seating areas.  If there is room, put a bench swing near the orange tree, then make a wandering path that leads to a table with a couple of chairs in another nook that may have a home made gazing ball or a water feature as it's focal point, then you could extend your path to another part of the yard that maybe has another type of seating area, maybe lounge chairs next to a chiminea where you can sit back and relax. 

Something you may want to consider is making your yard not only attractive for the day time but the night as well.  If you could add solar lights at different points of interest in the yard, and it will save money over electrical lights and be easier to put in.  Maybe add outdoor Christmas lights (in white) under the roof of your patio.  It will add a soft glow of light that is quite nice in the evenings. 

One other thing I thought of is to get misters for your patio.  In desert areas, misters make a huge difference in the temperature, which make being outdoors so much more enjoyable.  They are super easy to install and pretty inexpensive the last time I looked. They offer a constant superfine mist when they are on that lowers the temperature, not a lot, but up to about 15 degrees.  And the difference between 110 degrees and 95 in the shade may not seem like much, but it really is. 

Oh, and if you have room you could add an outdoor ceiling fan in your patio, just the circulation of the air combined with the misters, will make an AZ day out side feel quite pleasant.
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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2007 10:21:51 AM »

I wonder if anyone has ever tried to work with a tumbleweed plant.  I ask because my mom does this with wild rose bushes...by the time she is done with them they look like they belong in a formal french garden (think marie antoinette) and it occurs to me that if they get good thick trunks and grow up to 5 feet tall and can be pruned into shape they could actually be a good thing?  yes , no ?
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