April 25, 2004

backyard redone

The backyard is finally all but done, all except for one tiny thing. The pool/deck guys need to install the side door to the propane and propane accessories area (yes, I do watch King of the Hill) on the BBQ they built -- but the grill has been working for a couple of weeks now. The company we hired has done good work, but slowly -- they started somewhere back in February. Apparently they're not used to having to schedule around actuall rainfall, which happened for a week or so early in the game.

A month or so ago we ripped out the scraggly, overgrown hibiscus and never-blooming jasmine between the palm trees along the south wall by the pool wall. This weekend Rudder finished the work he was doing on the electrical and sprinkler system and we put in the new plants. The rest of the yard is at its best too right now, with the sagebrush, oleander, and jacaranda all in bloom. Click below for details and pictures.

Unfortunately I don't have any images from before all the work was done. This was taken a couple of months ago while the pool was draining, before they ripped off the plaster and put in the new Pebbletec (technically, Armorstone), but after they put in the new terra-cotta-colored Armordeck. This is looking east, and you can see one of the hibiscus on the right next to the palm tree -- the other plants to the center and left are oleander and sagebrush, not in bloom at that time -- as well as the new bench in the firepit area, built but not yet stuccoed and painted.

south_wall.jpgOn the right is a similar view with the pool and bench completed and the new plants in. The small ones are Mexican Heather, the larger ones are Heavenly Bamboo, and you can see a Dwarf Pampas Grass off to the left of the furthest palm. The Mexican Heather doesn't get much taller but will fill in as ground cover (we may need to add a few more); the Heavenly Bamboo will grow up to 8' high and 4' wide. It gets white flowers and small red berries and also has foliage that's red in spring and yellow, bronze and red in fall -- without dropping, apparently. It's not a real bamboo; it can be invasive in some areas, but I doubt it is here in this desert. The Dwarf Pampas gets tall feathery flowers in fall. You can also see a little of the sagebrush, now in purple bloom.

looking_east.jpgWe may add some rosemary, which loves this area, to fill in behind the bench, covering exposed dirt without blocking an electrical outlet on the wall and adding a spicy fragrance. We put in some rosemary in front a while back and it's doing very well with no attention and not even a ton of water. Here's a better view of the oleander and sagebrush behind the basketball court, all of which were there when we bought the house. I love the jungly look in that end of the yard.

Here's the view to the west, while they were building the grill, and the same view today:

That's one more Dwarf Pampas to the end of the strip by the new wall. Its feathery blooms may be a small problem so close to the pool, which is one reason we only used the two of them -- we'll probably put more Mexican Heather or rosemary by the end of the new wall near the grill.

You can also see the top of the jacaranda behind the wall -- I love the purple blooms that cover it now, and I also like the feathery leaves the rest of the year. Good thing it's away from the pool, though, because all those flowers drop right off. Except for the jacaranda, and a few scattered trees, that end of the yard was bare when we bought the house, an odd contrast to the jungle on the other end. We put in an orange tree and some oleanders a few years ago. The tree has borne a grand total of one orange -- we think we need to fertilize and prune more -- but the oleanders have grown magnificently. Even the one that was labeled "dwarf" is now about 7' high.

in_bloom_west.jpgThey also drop a lot of flowers, but they're pretty, and far enough from the pool for that not to be a problem. The new wall should help with those. The wall is to hide the pool pump, replacing a shed Rudder always hated, and it does stop short enough to leave us a view of the oleanders from the covered patio. Left is the view of the western end of the yard:

One of these days we'll put in some more fruit trees, and maybe some of those will even give us fruit.

Posted by dichroic at April 25, 2004 04:05 PM

Oooh. I want to come swimming at your house!

Posted by: Mer at April 26, 2004 07:50 AM

lovely - y'all done good

have a wonderful life with all your family and friends who will come see you and swim too.
barbara y

Posted by: barbara y at April 29, 2004 03:32 PM
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