Tag Archives: stone path

Landscaping for a Cool Climate Greenhouse

It has been nearly a year since the 30-year-0ld greenhouse was relocated to its current, sunnier location, and it has taken me that long to get even halfway finished with the landscaping. Last year, employment took time away from my favorite hobby, but this year the limiting factor is my back, which is beginning to resent the grind of casting 42 sq ft of concrete path. I work about two squares at a time, working to wrap the walkway around the far side of the greenhouse past the oil tank.

The April 2014 photos show the addition of a sand/gravel path with water-worn bluestone. At .47 a lb and about 40 lbs each, the cost adds up fast, but it adds so much to the look. The clusters of rock on either side hold soil for the thyme and other creeping perennials that I’ve planted there. My goal is to have it look something like this:


KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

My intent is to create a hardscape around the greenhouse that will absorb heat and reflect light. I purchased several large basalt rocks with unique shapes to stand at the end by the driveway; these have provided nice sitting places for the cats.

I’ve softened the look with a spreading privet honeysuckle that is durable and easy to grow, and marked the path entrance with a mugo pine. DSC_0450

A bell on a post will mark the other side.  On the barn end, a small green lawn will separate the concrete patio from the gate, which fits into a trellis structure I’ll show later when it looks more presentable. A fence will connect the trellis with the deck and inhibit deer movement.

 

The deck will snuggle up against a huge Douglas fir to provide a shady place to sit and overlook the adjacent field.

DSC_0426The ugly oil tank is here to stay, but I’ve left a gravel pad for easy access and removal should that ever come to pass. I hope to get my Virginia creeper to hang from a wire trellis over the thing to hide at least some of the color. Otherwise, I may try to paint it.

 

 

 

A gate will lead down through our new terrace garden, still in the planning stages but soon to be built if the RAIN EVER STOPS.

My goal is to complete both the greenhouse landscape and terracing by August if not sooner.

The guiding plan for the greenhouse portion:

Greenhouse plan, now about 75% complete

Landscaping in a Northwest Winter

This winter has been an exceptional one for much of the country, with sub-zero temperatures and heavy snows. Here in the PNW, however, we have had a rather typical winter of rain and wind with occasional dips into the 20′s. Now, as February creeps slowly by, the rain has increased and the ground has become so saturated that stepping off of the beaten path results in sinking up to the ankles in mud. Up until January, I have been diligently toiling at my greenhouse landscaping project, but now the weather has driven me indoors to ponder my landscape design business restart. The next major element – paving stones – must wait for higher temperatures and less rain, hopefully in March.

Before and after shots from September and December are encouraging:

  September -  bare ground with weeds    January – stone path completed with some plantings

I am waiting until March, when I anticipate the chance of a deep freeze to be much less, to put out the ground covers and grasses that will border the path. Selections include red thyme, woolly thyme, winter savory, and California fuschia (Zauschneria california). The piece of square metal visible just past the Mugo pine will hold one of several cordylines that will add a directional emphasis to the scene.  In the background is my revised deer fence, intended for beauty as much as functionality.

Below the greenhouse, the plan is for a terrace garden that will put to use a barren hillslope where my horses once roamed:

Using the rototiller, I’ll break about eight five-foot wide terraces into the slope, and line each with a 12″ wall of stone laid over landscape fabric so I can avoid the weedy disaster that plagued my earlier work.  Another stone wall will line either side to create a contained area for growing flowers, strawberries, and tomatoes, leaving a path to the side for access between greenhouse and garden.

The idea is consistent with my desire to apply permaculture principles to my landscaping by putting most of the open areas into production. The area between the barn and garden, though shady in the mornings, may provide enough light for some shrubs and dwarf fruit trees. The garden will produce most of our vegetables.  I’ve also added cherry and plum trees to the existing orchard and hope to add a few medlars as well. The key to success, and to some extent the bulk of the entire effort, will be keeping the deer away with hundreds of feet of fencing.