Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Backyard Project: Garden Rooms

Gravel Bed Garden Room
This garden room came about because of the site conditions. Grass would not grow in this area of the back lawn. We found the reason why after the thin layer of topsoil was scraped away before the studio construction began. Bedrock was exposed. Thin soil exposed to 12 hours of sunshine and reflected heat from the house suited a hot dry garden bed.
Tom dug down around the bedrock to make a sunken 'U' shaped garden room. The 2 entrances to this room are accessed by flat rock steps.  
It has rock walls and grey/white washed gravel flooring. I laid out a length of yellow yarn to mark the path through the room.
I have started planting. I have gone around to other beds to find plants that would be happier in a place with full sun and free draining to dry soils - rosemary, thyme, sage, lavender.

Marking out the beginnings of another garden room.

The walls will be a hedge of pineapple guava (feijoa), fig trees and Callistemon (bottlebrush).

Another room is called Walter's Gorge. It is now bisected by the deer fence but still reads as a room because of the plantings - Japanese water irises, horsetail and a number of different ferns, as a start. The blackberry we cleared from this area a couple of years ago still tries to inhabit the gorge but doesn't take long to cut back now.

I am starting to develop the garden room next to the studio porch. The pink tulips, hyacinths, and alliums will be transferred to the Water Drop bed once they finish blooming and die back. To the left will be a hydrangea hedge. Cuttings have been planted and the whole bed mulched with straw. 
The floor of this room will be a meadow of native ground covers that can be walked on but doesn't need mowing. The soil is being built up before their planting.
Valerie Easton's book 'A Pattern Garden The Essential Elements of Garden Making' has been most helpful while designing these garden rooms. Her design philosophy is based on the Japanese concept wabi-sabi and the Pattern Language work of Christopher Alexander. She designs garden rooms using 14 of Christopher Alexander's patterns.

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