New Landscaping: Dog-friendly Oasis in the City

Every once in awhile someone hires Gardenerd to landscape their property, not to install a vegetable garden. This particular client already had a thriving vegetable garden, but wanted new landscaping to create an oasis in the city. Here were her issues:

Her front yard consisted of lawn and a hodge podge of treasured plants discovered over the years. Many of the plants required more sun than was available, so they stretched out toward the light, making them leggy and sprawling. She wanted to put things in their proper place and switch to drought tolerant and native plants.

Unwanted lawn and overgrown plants invited a change.

Unwanted lawn and overgrown plants invited a change.

The backyard was trying to have grass, but shade from overgrown fruit trees and a couple of very active dogs made it impossible. The homeowners entertained guests often and wanted both an inviting space to mingle and a spot to relax under a tree. As with the front yard, there were a menagerie of plants that needed direction.

Passionfruit and citrus trees needed taming, and extra furniture needed a home.

Passion fruit vines and citrus trees needed taming, and extra furniture needed a home.

We removed all the turf and pruned the overgrowth of bamboo and citrus trees (shown dangling down into head space – upper right corner). The client choose warm-toned flagstone as a durable surface that will hold up to dog traffic. We also defined the space for seating areas.

Flagstone and gravel can't be trampled by dogs.

Flagstone and gravel can’t be trampled by dogs.

In the front yard, the homeowners wanted to enclose the space with a fence to keep the dogs in check, and they needed a place for their hammock. What better place than under an existing palm tree?

Stones found on the property were used to create a platform for the hammock.

Stones found on the property were used to create a platform for the hammock.

We created another flat area (below left) for a small table and chairs so the homeowners can enjoy lunches out front. Plants were heavily pruned or moved to a sunnier spot, and shade-loving natives or drought-tolerant plants were put in their place.

A new fence, dymondia  between flagstone, relocated plants and mulch all bring this garden together.

A new fence, dymondia between flagstone, relocated plants and mulch all bring this garden together.

The end result? A new cozy space with plenty of seating for guests, private spaces for relaxing and order amongst the chaos.

Roses were moved from all over the yard to one place for visual interest.

Roses were moved from all over the yard to one place for visual interest.

We used leftover flagstone to build a dry-stack planter for her roses, and added succulents to fill in the surrounding space. This spring, the roses will offer showy color to the neighborhood.

Adirondack chairs needed a home. Now they sit under two citrus trees in their own space. Perfect for reading on a summer day.

In the back yard, Adirondack chairs needed a home. Now they sit under two citrus trees in their own space. Perfect for reading on a summer day.

The fence around the backyard needed to be shored up to keep the dogs from barking at passers-by in the alley behind. We added slats of wood to eliminate the visual temptation. We also planted dodonaea and kangaroo paw to match the color of some existing fountain grass. We potted up the homeowners orchids in cheery containers (already on site) to break up the existing planter box.

New plantings tie in existing color.

New plantings tie in existing color. Over time, this will fill in to block the back fence even more.

A mosaic-tiled table replaced the over-sized iron table, making it easier to navigate the back yard.

The oasis is complete.

The oasis is complete.

The clients are happy with the result and we suspect the dogs are as well.

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