Garden Retreat: Fountain of Youth?

Stop Stress: Get a Fountain

So, you have an area on the side of your house that you want to turn into a pretty garden/sitting area, and you’re wondering how to do that. . . .  It’s fenced, has a curving paver path down the middle, and right now just has grass.

It’s a blank slate and you’re wondering what to do with it.

Let’s think of some ideas.

fountainFirst, I’ll say that you have the perfect area to transform into a little retreat area. Not so big that it’s completely overwhelming, and yet big enough that you could really create something spectacular there.

You want to begin with a plan. And the plan should begin with a decision on what structures you want there or focal points. For example, do you want a pergola? Trellises? Hanging baskets on shepherd’s hooks? A sitting area with table and chairs? A fountain?

And then you want to think about the kinds of plants you want in there. Are you a tropical plant person? Do you like the English cottage garden look (kind of wild and free-for-all)? Do you like formal and structured? Italian with those skinny tall evergreens?

I’ll pretend that your side garden is for me, and I’m going to design it how I’d want it.

gardenI would put a sitting area with an umbrella on the west end of the garden. I’d put it there because that end is closest to the front door, which is near the kitchen. So if I wanted to bring drinks or snacks out from the kitchen, it wouldn’t be a long walk to get to the table.

I’d put a simple pergola halfway down the garden, backed up to the side wall of the house. Inside the pergola I would have a fountain.

At the east end of the garden I’d have a bench. Probably set at an angle across the corner. Behind the bench I’d have a shepherd’s hook with two hanging baskets of geraniums or begonias.

I would plant a couple of small trees in the garden. They couldn’t be ones with wide spreading branches. They’d have to have an upright form, more or less.

When it came to the plants, I would do a mix of semi-tropical and zone 9 plants. I would put philodendrons in two corners. I’d put some ginger across the back wall. I’d have several snowbushes as part of the rear tier. I’d put a bunch of Xanadu across the back up against the house, since there would be the most shade there.

Then I’d put some ixora as the second tier. Probably pink and yellow. Not the orange. Some dwarf azaleas. Maybe some boxwood. Not ilex shilling; that’s used so much that it feels boring to me.

The front tier along the path would be low-growing stuff. A bit of liriope. Probably some bromeliads. Maybe dwarf lantana of the color variety that’s my favorite—the combination of yellow and pink and magenta.

At several points in the garden I would have urn-type planters with giant ferns in them.

And for interest, some garden art, like old barrel rings hanging from a hook, or glass globes on metal rods, or stuff like that. Oh, and garden flag hanging somewhere.

I can totally see the finished result. It would be spectacular.