Another garden makeover

I love gardens and this is an example of a garden gone terribly wrong. Not liking failures one bit and I certainly don’t like to advertise them but sometimes you just have to admit defeat, learn and move on. We replanted this little back yard two years ago with the help of a professional landscaper, won’t mention his name but will tell you about the new landscaper shortly. Several Camellia Sasanqua plants lining the fence died very quickly even with our loving care. We were quick to replace them with more mature and expensive camellias and still the next lot died.  Now we have found a better landscaper and he has given us good advice re soil preparation and garden aftercare. We now know that the main reason the plants did not prosper was largely due to the Cypress mulch the first landscaper used; it prevented the water from seeping through to the plants so now we using 1 inch Hoop Bark mulch. This fairly coarse mulch breaks down quickly, will keep the weeds down, help retain moisture in the soil, provide temperature insulation and increase microbial activity in the soil.

The green shrubs with purple flowers close to the pool’s motor house are weeds.  Just behind the back fence you can see two of the palms that regularly drop seeds and flowers over the fence, it is the area where the camellias passed away.

We saved the Stripey White Liriope plants around the pool and paving edge and transplanted them in the front garden. We also transplanted any Gardenia Florida plants that were still in good health.

The severely pruned shrub next to the fence is a Crepe Myrtle that looks pretty in summer but we prune back hard in winter. I cannot identify the plant that grows out of its base, I think it is in the Bromeliad family and I am guessing they are Guzmania Bromeliads.

But for the conversion out back we found Tom Brooks of 5 Elements to undertake the refurbishment. Firstly my John removed all the brick paving by hand and occasionally I helped by scraping the soil from the bricks and stacking them under the house.  The circular brick paving was created before our time and we have foolishly spent 17 years keeping it free of weeds or if we have not done so ourselves, we paid others to keep them at bay.

A ‘land art’ installation by Andy Goldsworthy.  No, its the new soil base and new borders created for the Murraya Paniculata hedging.

It took three long days of hard work to complete the job. When you see Backyard Blitz on TV it makes a mockery of the time scale of landscaping projects.

View from the house deck. The practical solution in the back garden was to grass the main area. This gives us a nice green look and some room to entertain or in the future event a family come along and buy our house it is an ideal set up for swing sets and trampolines.

The lawn looks so healthy as we have had lots of rain since it was laid.

If you look in the shadow of the house under the window, the gardenias survived so we kept those in place.

In the spirit of Jamie Oliver who advocates learning something and passing it on I hope there is some useful advice in this post.

The Sir Walter grass came with a certificate but we don’t plan to resell the lawn so not sure if a provenance is required.


  1. #1 by Debra Kolkka on July 2, 2012 - 9:19 am

    Love the grass!!

  2. #2 by Francie Pitts on July 2, 2012 - 8:41 pm

    Thanks Debra, low maintenance we hope but plain in comparison with earlier versions, so your comment is most welcome.

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