When I haven’t been working on my book this past spring and summer, I’ve been working with my landscaper friend Tim Francis (http://www.nettle.co/) to transform our yard into a wonderful play space for children and a beautiful and relaxing place for adults. He did all of the earth-moving and construction, and I did the planting and accessorizing. It has been a labor of love and boy, am I in love! I know that not everyone can move dirt around like we did, but I wanted to share the results for inspiration. I can’t wait till next year when our bulbs and perennials bloom! Our property is just shy of an acre, so we have lots of room to work with.
We had to start by addressing the massive drainage issues in the yard, using an excavator to dig a ditch which we turned into a dry creek. Because the creek cuts the yard in two, we made three ways across: stepping stones, a log bridge, and a flagstone bridge (that I can drive the mower over). Here are some pix:
We used the dirt from that excavation to make a Play Hill, which has a tunnel running through it and two slides that are put directly into the hill.
We also made an enormous sand pit lined with stumps that is half sand, half pea gravel, with a sweet bridge between the two. We added with a fire pit in the center for the grown-ups, and some grown-up furniture nearby so we can sit and enjoy while the children play.
I got an old play house for free off of Craig’s List which I’m still in the process of fixing up. I put mulch around it and made a “home” play space at the base of it with a table, chairs, and thrift store metal goblets and kitchen gadgets.
Finally, we made a bunch of raised beds from pallet collars that we got from a recycling place, and used hog panels and the metal tubes you use with chain link fences to make arches between them. They were finished too late in the season to grow vines over them, but next year they will be covered with beans, cucumbers, climbing squash, and morning glories!
Ongoing projects involve planting hundreds of flowers (many of the perennials won’t bloom till next year) and putting in little magical touches here and there.