And the good news is….

Download PDF

…my son is getting married. He and his fiancee would like to have a simple backyard wedding… in our backyard. And the deck that I have mentioned in previous posts has not improved over time. Now when I walk out on it I wonder which plank will be the next one to go. If the wedding is held in our backyard – and that still hasn’t been determined – then the backyard relandscape will be on a fast track.

So what needs to happen, if the yard is to be usable for a gathering of about a 100 +/-?

  1. Deck removed and surface under avocado made walkable.
  2. East Garden paths completed.
  3. All compost and green waste either mulched and used, or disposed of.
  4. Surface under oak tree made walkable.
  5. Screen west side of backyard.
  6. Flowers, flowers, flowers and more flowers (native wildflowers preferred).

So this weekend I was looking through my favorite landscape design book, “The Art of the Japanese Garden,” by Tatsuo Ishimoto, published in 1958 by Crown Publishers. What I like about the gardens in this book is that there are no lawns, they are small, private residential gardens, they attempt to bring nature into the garden, their use of stones, boulders, and natural-looking bamboo fencing, Japanese landscape design has been used with Craftsman architecture.

So with a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal and a beautiful day I sat in the woodland garden dreaming of my backyard make-over. Here are some more pictures of the backyard woodland garden.

Path into woodland garden. Containers with herbs are kept on the back porch in easy reach of the kitchen.


I planted some vegetables in the East Garden. The plants in six-packs miraculously survived a week of nearly 100 degree weather. They were root bound and starved for sun since I kept them in the shade on the back porch hoping they would make it through the heat wave. The garden is bounded by rocks and large containers to keep them out of Milo’s reach (and he does so like to water the garden!).

Upon entering the yard from the side gate, one sees the small vegetable garden. My husband installed a small trellis on the south side of the dilapidated deck. I planted some edible and ornamental peas. Now that the deck is in question, this may change.

Lettuce, Swiss chard, celery and a couple of pots of herbs will provide dinner salads for the next few months.


Suggestions? And yes, we are on a budget.

17 thoughts on “And the good news is….

  1. Nice! Greetings from Brunei Darussalam

  2. i'm thinking……… tub!

  3. Well, that sounds like fun! <br /><br />We have a place here that sells recycled building materials. The always have used lumber, and cheap.<br /><br />As for the flowers, May would be a good choice ;-&gt;<br /><br />Another thought: How about some professional advice? I know several designers that consult on an hourly basis. I usually ask my designer for a second opinion once I&#39;ve made a

  4. Congratulations to your son!<br />What fun for you! <br />Lots of bowls of cereal and cups of coffee in order, to fully contemplate the sensory experience! Keeping it simple, mystery can be achieved using screen to side yard — overlapping panels — one set back to create an illusion. Love the idea of breaking traditional aesthetic boundaries, blending a bit of wild California with controlled

  5. Barbara, congratulations! I would escape somewhere, scared by the scale and importanse of this project! But I have a feeling that you are a brave woman! Good luck to you!


    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Grace Peterson

    Hi Barbara~~ From your photos it looks like your gardens have good bones. I don&#39;t have any suggestions but I hope you&#39;ll keep us posted on your progress.

  8. Mary Delle

    Congratulations on your son&#39;s marriage. I look forward to seeing what you do with your yard. I know it will be in character with your ideas, which I like. Keep us posted.

  9. Barbara,<br />Congrats on your son&#39;s marriage! <br />That old deck might not be that bad. My Ex&#39;s deck 15 years ago looked terribly unsafe, she still has parties on it. Got a big deck to replace in a month or so, myself.

  10. susie

    Congrats on your son&#39;s marriage! We had the most fun when our son got married….wishing you the same. I agree with Randy, you may be surprised with the deck. Our&#39;s was a wreck, it was sinking, literally &amp; the top boards were shot. I thought it was really a danger. When we tore it all apart, the structure was fine except for a couple posts, we replaced those, added a few extra

  11. Thanks all for your good wishes and good ideas. I am definitely thinking of calling in some professional help – in fact, I have had one consult already, though this was before we knew about the wedding. I don&#39;t think we really want to keep the deck even if it was fixable. Will give it more thought though. <br /><br />For the surface under the trees, I&#39;d love flagstones if they weren&#39;

  12. Great news! Congratulations on your son&#39;s engagement.<br /><br />Japanese gardens work well with many building styles–Richard Neutra used them around some of his modernist structures. I&#39;d love to see a Japanese-style garden made with Cal natives. It&#39;d show people how versatile many of the plants are.<br /><br />Maybe you could gently suggest to your son that he plan on an early

  13. Congratulations on your son&#39;s upcoming wedding! Fast track, indeed for your garden plans!! Great reason to get everything done fast.

  14. Thanks James and Linda. Although Japanese gardens can be very structured, their connection to nature is undeniable. I think I like this tension between nature&#39;s chaos and human-inflicted order. <br /><br />We have a lot more discussing to do regarding the-big-day. I am beginning to understand how stressful this can be. Must keep a good sense of humor!

  15. Your lettuce and herbs are lovely! I have a similar arrangement; just a small garden for winter, because I don&#39;t really love getting out there to water all the time when it&#39;s chilly and dark before/after work! <br /><br />For the wedding, first of all congratulations! For the major yard work, I swear by angies list for contracting. It&#39;s cheap and good for my area. If you don&#39;t

  16. Thanks for the suggestions Rebecca.I&#39;ll check out both Angie&#39;s List and the santa monica thing. I am thinking decomposed granite but that will have to wait until we see what is under the deck. We will probably remove it next week.

  17. Love the photo of the coffee and book… one of the great pleasures of a garden! also like the wildflower seed idea.

Comments are closed.