The New Garden - November 2016
I had a native oak; let's build something resembling the native California oak woodland plant community around it. And closer to the house, let's transition back to a small area of something like the older garden. I worked design myself at first. I think I did reasonably well on plant selection. I know and love these plants in the wilds. But I had soft spots on many of the technical issues: a layout that flowed well and accounted for grades, drainage, and irrigation. I cast about for professional landscapers who could work with natives and ended up with Four Dimensions Landscape. I really liked what the designer, Kirsten Leitner, came back with, both in working the layout/technical issues and in plant selection. She produced the new and creative AND incorporated some of my ideas.
Design took a few months; installation two months more. But at the beginning of the rainy season -- just the time to start a new native plant garden -- I had a new back yard. These pictures, from the first week in November, right at completion, offer a tour.
So what do I think? I'm pretty happy with the results. Fine layout and plant selection to be explored below. A fountain that evokes the sense of a natural spring. A stellar rock wall: the plans were a little inconsistent here but the construction team produced the best (and most expensive) possible interpretation. Well-placed large rocks that help define paths and provide punctuation in beds. A passive drainage and water infiltration system that addresses some long-standing problems. A nicely textured, somewhat more formal, stone patio to balance all the naturalistic elements elsewhere. I'm cooler on the "urbanite" walk. The plan called for saving pieces of the 90+ year old concrete driveway from where the fountain went in and using them for a new walkway around it. Four Dimensions misjudged in design so a fair amount of newly-poured concrete was needed. It's a bit of a patchwork. I hope the new blocks will age in. Next gallery.
Lots and Lots of Birds on the New Fountain
On Sunday, November 6, our new garden got a test of a different sort. The local cedar waxwings and finches gave our new fountain a serious check-out. The video was taken from inside the house through glass -- hence the sometimes iffy quality -- with the audio recorded outside later.