Sunday, January 25, 2009

2008 Redesign

In March of 2008 my sister was scheduled for major back surgery. She asked if I could take some time off work to help her through the first two weeks of her recovery once she was out of the hospital. I would take the day shift and her husband would be home with her at night.

Now we both knew I would need a project to work on when she was resting. She was going to be in bed with little movement for those two weeks and would only need me to get her meals, help her with her 10 minute walks. I couldn't just sit around with nothing to do all day. So her back yard redesign was born.

Click on the photos for larger views.

My sister lives right next door to me on the other side of this fence.

Come February I started working on a plan and taking some photos to study. I came up with a design and went over it with her. We put together a budget and I had her pick the hard scape material.

I enlisted the help of my son and his best friend to cut some low hanging branches from a neighboring tree to get some much needed light into the yard.

Here is what I had to work with. The yard is all patio space with small beds around the sides and back.

I wanted to utilize all of her plants and furniture and fill in as need.

From here I will show you the before and after photos from each area of the makeover.
Lets start with the beds in front of the windows. Like my house she has floor to ceiling windows spanning from the kitchen to the living room.

In front of the windows were to very old lemon trees that blocked the view out to the yard. It also made the house very dark. The decision was to remove the trees. I hope it was the right decision!

Turned out it was. Taking out the trees really opened up the space and the view out the yard is great.

Next I wanted to add some raised beds. Just like my yard her soil was hard pack clay. Only the top few inches of soil was any good. So out came the mini boulders and in went the raised beds.

It's starting to take shape but there was something missing. The corner needed some visual interest...

That's better!

Since my sister has a dog I wanted to make sure I planned some space for her. The dog likes to do her business behind the gazebo, so I decided to make a doggy walking path just for her. This would give that area a nice look and easy to keep clean.

From here I moved on to the left side of the yard. This is where the dog house is as well as the potting bench... you call this a potting bench?

I'll have to do something about that....
But first I wanted to clear out the area around the dog house and give her a cool new pad with her own front patio and plants.

Now for the potting bench...
That's more like it.

The gazebo is next... This was the best part of the make over and the most fun.


I love the way the doggy path turned out, and it goes all the way to her house!
OK so that is the end of the make over... but lets review from above

Boy those two weeks went by fast!
Over all a job well done and my sister and her husband love the finished product.

Now I'm sure you're wondering what changes I made to my yard in 2008... well, I will not disappoint..... Here are some before and after photos to enjoy...

March 2008

I'm not liking this at all... time for a change!

There that's so much better

Nov 2008

Our last BBQ for the year in Nov!

I bought this banana in May. It came in a 4 inch pot.
I hope I can keep it alive over the winter.
This area looks really nice and I know I shouldn't make yet another change.

But I really want a vegetable garden....

And since the soil sucks.....

In goes the raised bed

Look what Santa brought me... just in time to start seeds for my vegetable garden :-)

Completed raised bed

Looking good!

We have come to the end of the seven year review of my gardening journey.

All posts after this one will be my adventures in the 2009 Vegetable Garden.
This should be lots of fun!


  1. Wow, Liisa- that was alot of work! It was a major improvement to the area, and you're a very good sister, too! Good job! I can't wait to see your garden this year...


  2. Hi EG,

    Glad you stopped by!
    Yes it was a lot of work but I had so much fun doing it. I love to see how people are going to react when I show them the finished product. When I was working on the gazebo part of the project I closed the drapes so my sister couldn't see it until I was done. We waited until later in the day for her walk so she could come out and enjoy it for a bit. It's been just about a year since her back surgery and she is doing great... you would never know she had any issue.

    I will start posting on the 2009 Vegetable Garden February 1st.


  3. Love your whole blog! Thanks for puttig my "makeover" in it :) It was a lot of fun watching the process! So this year veggies & flowers. I have you on my igoogle page now so I don't miss any updates. Can't wait until all those fresh veggies!!

  4. Hi Sis,

    Thanks, I'm glad you like it. I'm having fun doing it. Lets hope I do well with the veggie garden! I have big plans and even bigger plans for the 2010 Garden.... LOL yes I'm crazy! I'll be posting about it this weekend.