|The area immediately after the lawn was removed|
The grass was gone but the area was in no condition to be planted. It was filled with grass roots, sod netting, and lots and lots of rock. My husband and I began digging to clear the soil of debris and prepare it for amendments. It was hard-packed in many areas and the effort took much, much longer than either of us had anticipated. Complicating matters, the Magnolia tree's surface roots extended throughout a large area so we had to work carefully to avoid causing any serious damage to the tree.
|Some sections of the hard-packed soil had to be deep-soaked before we could even get a shovel into them|
|A sample of the rocks retrieved from a single shovelful of the native soil|
We marked off a large area under the Magnolia's drip line, which I weeded of grass roots as delicately as I could (considering that the sod netting wraps around many of these roots). We plan to cover the area with wood mulch as nothing much can compete with the tree's roots.
|Benderboard was used to separate the area to be covered in wood mulch from the new pathways and garden beds|
We brought in a total of 6 cubic yards of new topsoil, requiring 2 dump-truck deliveries.
|The first topsoil delivery, ready to be moved from the driveway into the front garden area|
My husband borrowed a neighbor's rototiller to mix the new soil with the native soil (while I was off touring Santa Barbara County with a friend). Then came the stone for the pathways. We have to make a third trip to the stone yard to get the remaining flagstone we need for the area to the left of the front door but the pathways on the right side have been laid, thanks to my husband's diligence.
|Mid-way through the process of laying the new pathways|
As you may have noticed, I started planting even before the flagstones were set. I'd already accumulated plants on my trips to San Diego and Santa Barbara Counties, as well as on visits to local garden centers. Planting the area alongside the front door walkway was easy as that soil was well-worked. However, after trying out the Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' I'd purchased in Calabasas in a spot previously intended for a shallow-rooted groundcover, I ended up spending additional hours digging up yet another portion of the former lawn area to receive it.
|The Grevillea was meant for this space (even if that wasn't my original plan)|
|Area after installation of the first few plants|
Although I've now planted more than 70 shrubs, perennials and groundcovers, the area is still fairly bare.
|View from the path to the from door facing south|
|Closer look at the bed adjacent to the front door path|
|View from the side garden looking north|
|Closer look at the back half of the new space, still thinly planted|
|View of the completed flagstone pathway, which has a "Y" shape|
Yes, the plants need time and room to mature but I also need a lot more plants. Here's what I've installed thus far:
- 2 Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'
- 8 Arctotis 'Pink Sugar'
- 3 Argyranthemum frutescens 'Butterfly'
- 1 Coprosma 'Fire Burst'
- 1 Corokia x virgata 'Sunsplash'
- 5 Cyclamen (no ID)
- 3 Erigeron karvinskianus (aka Santa Barbata daisy)
- 3 Euphorbia characias 'Black Pearl'
- 5 Festuca idahoensis 'Siskiyou Blue'
- 7 Festuca rubra 'Patrick's Point'
- 7 Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'
- 1 Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream'
- 5 Heuchera sanguinea
- 3 Lavandula stoechas 'Silver Anouk'
- 1 Leptospermum 'Copper Glow'
- 1 Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder'
- 1 6-pack of Leucanthemum paludosum
- 5 Lomandra longifolia 'Breeze'
- 3 Phormium 'Maori Queen'
- 1 Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata' (aka mint bush)
- 2 Rumohra adiantiformis (aka leatherleaf or iron fern)
- 1 Salvia lanceolata (aka Rocky Mountain sage)
- 3 flats of Thymus serpyllum (creeping thyme)
This week's rain helped settle everything into place. It's too wet still to do any more digging or planting right now but the break gives me an opportunity to shop for more plants. After all, the other side of the front pathway hasn't been touched yet.
|Work is pending!|
All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party