Home Tour: My Backyard Garden

Welcome to my backyard garden.  I am excited to share the journey of building this backyard garden.  It is definitely still a work in progress.  But isn’t that the definition of a garden?

I adore mature landscaping.  With that in mind, my goal in the first year was to get the “infrastructure plants” in, so the garden could begin maturing.

August is near the end of our dry season in the west.  When the rain starts, so does the growing season, and I didn’t want to miss a day of that!

With that goal in mind, let’s have a look around, shall we?

Until last year when the home was built, this land was a cow pasture and literally millions of years of weeds grass.

And on this day 1-year ago, The Hubs and I got the keys to our new home.

SEVEN MONTHS of decisions, planning, waiting, watching…

and waiting…

and waiting…


The day we took possession of the home, I had a crew breaking ground on the backyard.

Half of the backyard is a slope spanning a 30 foot run to 15 foot rise.  Also known as 1 in 3.

In other words.  Steep.

I made the most of the slope by building two terrace patios with two flights of stairs, and a waterfall in between.

I also made the most of my budget by designing retaining walls using pressure treated wood kick boards.  The same material used at the bottom of wood fences.

This wood is intended to be in constant contact with dirt and water, and way easier on the budget than the concrete retaining walls my contractor wanted to build.

Genius, I say!

The contractor was scratching his head on my idea, but since that time, they’ve built my design on every project with a slope. 😉

The retaining walls are only ~2.5 feet tall, but per city code, the posts had to be buried 5.5 feet in the ground!

The crew had to dig about 30 holes 5.5 feet deep for the terrace retaining walls, and the retaining wall at the bottom of the slope.

By hand.

With a shovel.

In some cases they used a jack hammer shovel.

Did I mention hardpan?

After about 4 feet deep, the guys had to lay on the ground to reach further.

After tons of holes were dug for wall posts, we got tons of poop.

Gross to humans, but delicious to plants.  And flies.

Them young’uns and I held up progress while we had a brief burial ceremony for my Little Young’un’s placenta.

The Hubs loves to tell people how many years we had a placenta stored in our freezer.  For the record, it was only TWO years!

I was waiting for the right opportunity to bury it, and the big Maple tree seemed perfect.

Plus it’s better to wait about 18 months if it will be buried under a plant.

The workers got a kick out of the whole thing.  Then they maneuvered the 18-foot tall October Glory (Maple) on top of it.

Without stepping on the placenta, of course.

A few hours later, the crew was done for the day, and the young’uns and I enjoyed a few minutes from all the noise and dirt.

The project wrapped up about 6 weeks after the estimated time, but almost exactly on time according to my own estimates.

Life went on.

The garden flourised.

October was glorious, just as the tree’s name promises.

The Almond tree put on quite a show.

The weeds plants I didn’t want to grow, grew, and grew, and grew.

Pulling weeds is a full-time winter job in the west.

Unless you drop a bomb of plant weed killer.  Which I choose not to do.

Then the roses started blooming.

And put on a show for the entire spring (AND summer)!

The Azaleas…

the Jasmine…

and the Penstemon joined the blooming party.

Then I started to notice a problem.

At first, it was only a few rocks that appeared to be cracked.

Then, as the winter dragged on, more rocks began to crack and crumble.

By spring, the entire waterfall, four pillasters, and the rock retaining wall near the terrace were all crumbling into millions of pieces.

I picked up a random rock, held it about 6 inches from the dirt ground and dropped it.  It broke in half, exposing a fossilized sea shell.

Took a closer look, and noticed a lot of the rocks had impressions of sea shells.

I got the landscapers back out.  They weren’t very responsive at first, but after a few conversations, I helped them realize it was only in their best interest to make this right.  And they finally did.

Which meant another round of backyard construction.

Every. Single. Rock. And boulder. had to be replaced.


The whole kit and caboodle.

Which no doubt made me a little cranky.

Then finally, it was over.

We shook hands, and we still speak when they’re in the neighborhood.

As for the garden.

The roses are starting to look a little tired.  They’ve been busy all summer long and are ready for a rest.

October promises to be glorious.

The Almond tree is bursting with Almonds.

Not a single plant has perished, which I think is quite remarkable!

The waterfall is running in tip-top shape.

And I am looking forward to the Fall and Winter season.

When I will work and the garden will rest.

Thank you for visiting my garden!

If you can’t find me, I’m probably IN THE GARDEN!


  1. Wow…your backyard is beautiful! I love how you terraced it off and made it usuable! You obviously have a green thumb. Our hot Georgia heat, and no rain in sight, has really taken a toll on things this summer. I’ll be replacing some shrubs come October!

  2. Sarah says:

    its beautiful! Lucky girl! FYI I got the pink respirators at ace hardware!

  3. Amy Renea says:

    That is absolutely UNREAL – what an amazing transformation!! Impressive and stunning!

Speak Your Mind