June 16, 2011
Patio before

Patio after
Photos by Jessica Walliser

We’re excited by the completion of our new backyard and patio. Check out the before and after shots.

The landscaper is done with our backyard! The skid steer sitting in the yard was the last remnant, and now it’s gone, too. All that’s left is a beautiful retaining wall, gorgeous cut-stone steps, a new swing set, a weed-free patio, a covered fire pit, and lots and lots of space to grow lots and lots of plants. How exciting when a big project nears completion!

I’ve begun to lay the stepping stone path to the steps and will soon do the same to the vegetable garden. We have to sow a ton of grass seed, too. I plan to head to the farm-supply store tomorrow to purchase the straw to keep it in place. That’s always a sweaty job, to say the least.

On Saturday, though, we had a grand time driving a golf cart up and down the aisles of a local nursery, choosing some new plants for the gardens we plan to build around the patio and above and below the retaining wall.

I’m used to shopping for plants by myself as my husband usually isn’t interested in taking part. This time, though, the whole family came. My son loved riding in the golf cart, and I think John enjoyed driving it through all the puddles—not exactly “off-roading” but fun nevertheless.

I thought it was clever for the nursery to enable you to comfortably shop for plants without having to lug them around or push a heavy cart. This particular nursery, Lake Forrest in Zelienople, Pa., has mainly trees, shrubs and ornamental grasses, with some perennials, as well. Because all of those plants are heavy, I don’t know how we would have done it without the cart. Of course, we filled the cart and our car as much as we could, leaving with a gold thread cypress, several grasses, a mountain fire Pieris, a dwarf Hinoki cypress (one of my favorite evergreens), a black dragon Cryptomeria, some boxwood, and a perennial or two. 

At some point, I’d like to get a low-weeping hemlock, as well as some flowering shrubs, but that will come when time and budget allows. In the meantime, I’m off to plant and place the rest of those stepping stones; wish me luck!

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