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Hey everybody, I thought I would update everyone on our backyard landscaping progress.  I mentioned in a previous post how we were going to add another flower bed along our fence, the last spot we have left behind our pergola.  You might have read about us building our pergola and wondered why we had these tiny short trees behind it.  If you wondered what the heck is that I’m here to clarify.  They are fruit trees.  Unfortunately I can’t find an upclose photo of this.  We originally planted 2 peach trees, 2 pear and 2 apple.  Basically this is the smaller square foot gardening approach to fruit trees.  Honestly, I lack the patience waiting for it and I decided in the long run I’d be happier with decorative landscaping.  However, I think its a fascinating idea and in the future I might consider it again if I had just the right spot.  It’s a great way to save space and have fruit, it’s just not the prettiest, at least at first it’s not very pretty.  A mature mini orchard  probably looks really nice.  I first heard about the small fruit tree method from an article in the Dallas Morning News and quickly bought the book.  If you’re interested in this fruit tree approach you need to read the book Grow a Little Fruit Tree by Ann Ralph.  The book is really interesting and it’s available in paperback or kindle edition.  Ann explains everything you need to know and why smaller, pruned fruit trees produce better fruit and are much easier to maintain.

Just FYI we dug up the trees and gave them to an eager person who hopefully has a lot of fruit in their future!  So, we marked out where we wanted our garden bed to be.  We love curvy lines and in the swell I intended to plant an ornamental tree of some kind and a row of something along the fence.

Brian trimmed the grass down with the weed eater, so it looks brown but its full of grass roots.  Grass roots that do not easily die.  Along our back fence we did the no dig method.  The no dig or lasagna garden method involves layering cardboard, compost, and mulch.  You let it cook a good 3-4 months and you are left with healthy fluffy soil.  We started by weed eating the grass down to the dirt and layered cardboard incredibly thick.  Well, unfortunately 3 months later we had Bermuda grass growing in like crazy.  It’s better for the environment not to disturb the soil, but it didn’t work for us.

So our weekend involved a lot of digging, tilling, raking, and more tilling.  We did this over several days.

Like I said above I envisioned a row of shrubs with something pretty and ornamental in the center.   Something with pretty flowers.   At the last minute I decided to put the ornamental tree in the corner of the yard and the bottle tree in the center.  I’m glad I went with this idea.

A little off topic but we stripped and re-stained our fence.  If you noticed how our fence is kinda all different colors that’s because I went with a custom mixed stain and the people at the paint counter got each can a different color!  It was very frustrating and it really annoys me, but I’m not bothered enough to redo it.  That’s why I just stick with Ready Seal in Pecan and I’ve had no other problems since.

Brian realized what ever we planted along the fence wouldn’t get a lot of water the way our sprinkler system currently was.  So he once again needed to alter our sprinkler system.

I’m incredibly grateful my husband spent long miserably hot summers in high school working for a sprinkler system company.  He’s saved us a lot of money, but at the same time it stresses me out a bit.  Every time he says he’s going to rent the trencher from Home Depot I feel myself breaking out into hives.  I hate having the beautiful grass trenched up.  I don’t know why it stresses me out so bad.  It’s the equivalent of Brian seeing me walk in with multiple shopping bags from Neiman Marcus.  Haha….STRESS.  But I don’t want dead landscaping so I must power through it.

He loves to play with pipes.  They are like tinker toys & legos for grown up boys.

Success!  We have water!  After some sprinkler head adjustments Brian tills in some compost to get the soil nice and ready for planting.  Remember to avoid peat moss, harvesting peat moss is really hard on the environment.

I’m lucky the trenching for the new pipe was hidden in the flower bed, but some pipe adjustments were made in the grass in some other areas of the yard.  Luckily they aren’t that bad.  I think I’m still traumatized from the massive trenching he did last October.  I’ll try to get some counseling.

So your wondering, what did we plant??

It was hard deciding.  For the ornamental tree I considered a dwarf weeping cherry or a saucer magnolia.   My gut told me the saucer magnolia would end up way too large for the space, and all the weeping dwarf cherry trees I saw last month at the nursery had sold.  So I walked around reading tons of labels and tags and ended up with a Chaste Tree or also called a Texas Lilac Tree.  After researching I’m really excited and glad we made this choice.  I also feel by placing it in the corner instead of the center of the new flowerbed it will have more room to grow.

We also planted a small row of dwarf Nandinas in front of the tree which if the tag is correct says they will get about 2 feet tall.  Thats perfect for the space.

For the back shrubs, I almost went with Knockout Roses but I already have them planted along our back fence and thought I should have more variety.  I ended up with Wax Myrtles.  I had heard of Wax Myrtles but still knew very little about them.  After researching them I decided these were perfect.  Not only are these evergreen shrubs extremely fast growing, but they are also drought tolerant once established and bothered very little by pests.

I’m glad we switched the location of the bottle tree over to the center.  Not only do I love looking at my bottle tree but it’s convenient!  We can sit out under the pergola, have some wine, and just plop the bottle up on the tree.  I switch the bottles out often, just for fun or when certain bottles start looking weathered.

You can see our lawn is trying to recover from last years trenching.  It’s been a slow process but I’m happy to say its getting there!

Chaste trees attract bees which I love.  If you have a bee phobia you will not want to plant one.  I personally love our honey bees, they are so sweet and help pollinate our garden.

It’s the wasps that freak me out and the neighbors hear my blood curdling screams when I see one. I’ve been running and screaming from wasps my entire life and one finally stung me a few months ago, so it’s official I’m in the club.  I’m hoping my first sting is also my last.

While we were updating the flowerbed behind the pergola we also planted 4 Indian Hawthorns along our back fence, behind the fire pit.  This is our no dig flower bed, that I’m constantly ripping grass out of.  This was our only no dig bed and so far its needed the most weeding out of any garden bed we’ve had.  I’m so bummed it didn’t work out.

We also planted another Rising Sun Redbud tree.  They are beautiful small trees, with gorgeous spring flowers and vivid lime green and a few apricot colored leaves.  The first one we planted is over by the hot tub and its been a joy.

A fresh layer of mulch was added and now we are good to go!

 

I’m sorry the little fruit trees didn’t work out, but I love this and I’m excited to see it once the shrubs grow more.  We gave the fruit trees to a friend so I’m interested to see how it all works out.

What an improvement!  I’m very happy with it and so grateful Brian was willing to do this over a very hot & humid Memorial Day weekend.

Thanks for reading!  I’m very happy with our landscaping choices (except the no dig garden bed) and so far I recommend them to everyone!  We have just one last tiny project left in our backyard and then we will be all finished.  I can’t believe it!  If you haven’t read about our other backyard projects be sure and read about our pergola, fire pit and covered patio.