I may not be installing giant lakes, building fake temples, or displacing villages full of peasants, but I have been improvin’ my landscape lately, indeed I have.
First, an update on the play structure thingee I started building in February. To refresh your memory, here is what it looked like several weeks ago:
And here it is today. Ta-da!
The bottom deck is 6×6, and the top deck is 6×7.5 — cantilivered out, to provide a little more room upstairs. The ladder and railing turned out a little…well, crooked, but thanks to encouragement from my fellow blogger and garden philosopher Calvin Caley, I have learned to embrace the imperfections in my handy work and simply call it wabi-sabi rather than stress about it. Calvin shared with me his outlook on outdoor building: “after all, you’re not building a grand piano.” Thank you, Calvin.
I still want to paint it or stain it (you can see where I tested a color), and maybe add some fun little touches like a pulley or something. So far Charlie’s favorite thing to do is go up onto the second level (the Ledo deck) and fling his shoes off of it.
Next, I painted the little portion of fence and the gate leading to my backyard. Here is before:
Not bad. The metal sun and moon I attached to the gate was a purchase from a vendor at this year’s Philly Flower show. It was created from an old oil drum by Haitian craftsmen with a hammer and nail. Pretty cool!
I want to paint some words on my gate, too, around the sun. I think I want to name my garden…something French. At first I was worried that would be too pretentious, especially since I don’t know a word of French and have never been to France.
But then I remembered, this is my garden, I can do what I want! Hurrah!
Third, I built this little trellis in a part of the yard where my annoying neighbor has a clear view of us. He stands on his porch and often calls over with some unwelcome question or comment, so I figure if I can get a vine to completely cover this, it will reduce our neighbor’s comments by up to 80%. (Seriously, I’m not being an ass here, he is genuinely irritating and weirdly intrusive.)
I made it completely out of stuff I found in my shed (I’m so sustainable!) except for the paint. I’m proud of my bold color choice, but I have to say that the metal fencing between the posts is not too attractive, is it? I am hoping an aggressive clematis will cover it up in one or two seasons, otherwise I will have to think of something else.
Last, I have a new retaining wall! Early readers of my blog may remember the post where I dreamed of a stone retaining wall to replace the rotting timbers that are there currently. Well, finally Mary collected enough pennies to make it happen. So no, this was not a DIY project…
My old, terrible wall:
And the new!
This wall is cinderblock, with stone facing. I also looked into brick and those decorative concrete blocks by Techobloc and Belgard, but the wall I wound up with cost less than half of the estimates I got for using those materials. Anyway, I am pleased with the color of the stone they used, because the rusty color matches the natural stones I find in my yard. I wish a nice thick capstone had been in my budget, but c’est la vie. (Oh look, I do know French!)
And while I love my new wall, I am very demoralized when I look at how decimated the little garden behind it was left. Where there were once cushions of Carex pensylvanica there is now packed red clay and gravel.
I guess a Landscape Improver’s work is never done.