Garden Design Update: The Patio Before

The landscapers like to call it "hardscape", all those walls, patios, paths and other features that help to define the places in between the gardens and give us places to rest and walk.

In my new garden design, I will spend a good chunk of my budget on hardscape in the form of a new patio.  (I know, some people are going to be shocked that I have a budget for my garden design. Actually I have a total amount in mind not to exceed. Is that a budget?)

The current patio is a mess, and not just because I let it go this spring, so to speak.

It is flawed.

Let me point out how flawed it is.

- It is too small. There is barely room for a table and chairs and a few containers.

- Weeds have come up through the brick pavers almost since it was first installed 13 years ago. Normally, I fight these weeds and try to keep them from taking over. This spring, knowing the patio is being replaced, I let it go.  (By the way, all that greenery in the bottom of the picture is not weeds in the patio, but the remnants of a flower bed that has been overtaken by sedum.)

- The foundation isn't solid and some of the bricks are shifting. There are places where the patio dips down.

- The landscaper who originally installed the patio said the only steps into the house that he could do were wood box steps. I fought with him over that, but after awhile, I gave up. With those box steps, when you come out to the patio from the house, you immediately have to step down.  (I did not call this landscaper back to re-do the patio, for obvious reasons.)

It is just a flawed patio.

Since the patio is too small, the garden designer came up with a plan for a bigger patio. That means this stand of ferns with some lily of the valley mixed in had to be moved or the patio guy would dig it all under.

I dug out all those ferns this evening, loaded them up into the truck and took them to my sister's. garrden.  No, I am not aware of any garden fairies hitching a ride over there in those ferns, but one never knows. It is possible. Bless those garden fairies especially Tangle Rainbowfly, wherever he is. They have dogs and kids over there, but lots of shade, so the ferns should be happy. 

I need to do a little bit more digging up of plants in that area, including digging up a large established Helleborus, before I'm ready for the patio guy to show up and start work.

You can also see the stack of pavers in the picture above.  The patio guy has designed the patio so that we can reuse all those pavers.  Good idea!  And it will save me money, money which I can spend on plants. I have a nephew and a nephew-in-law helping out with mulching, weeding, etc. this summer, so they are going to tear out the old patio, brick by brick, clean off each brick and stack it all neatly nearby. They'll be starting that project early next week. Fun times!

After digging up the ferns I saw all this good dirt.

I paid good money to have that top soil brought in so my nephews are also going to dig most of that up and toss it a few feet over to where there will be some foundation plantings. One might argue that the value of the dirt is less than what I will pay my nephews to dig it up, but it is good dirt, so let's not quibble about that.

Also still on the patio are some large containers that contain mostly the miniature hostas that were part of my miniature garden.
The miniature garden was planted up by the house in a planting area that was part of the original patio design. I'll move these out into the garden  under the shade of a tree, along with some other plants in that picture, to ride out the summer until I can plant them someplace else.

Once the new patio has been installed, I'll also replace the table and chairs with something a bit nicer. By then,maybe I can find a good deal at an "end of the season" clearance sale.

And there you go,  the "before" view of the patio, the major hardscape change of my new garden design.  Deconstruction starts next week and then the patio guy should start on the new patio "mid to late June". I'll post updates as they build the new patio, and show the many features being incorporated into it.

Now. I leave you with an image that isn't of a flawed patio, an image to cleanse your eyes.

This clematis is blooming near the patio but should be safe enough during all the constructions, so I don't plan to move it.

Stay tuned for the next garden design update featuring the newly mulched planting beds in the back  yard.  They are big...


  1. Carol, I'm so tickled for you about all the happy changes coming about in your garden! I will bring a bottle of champagne to christen that patio when I visit Indianapolis in 2011! Yes, I know it will be a year old by then. No harm in letting the baby mature a bit!

  2. I was exhausted just reading that post. Let's get it done and start partying!!

  3. Good for you, Carol! Sure it will be a mess and you'll need to be on alert while the work is done, but when it's done you'll have a larger, more useful and more gracious patio...maybe you'll even stop working and sit down at the future table once in awhile ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  4. The whole project is so exciting. Can't wait to see the new patio.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. The patio reno sounds very promising - I'm sure you'll be pleased with the outcome. If you remember to take photos from a fixed location, you can eventually make a slideshow of the project progress, which is fun to watch.

  7. I don't think I ever knew you had all that brick...I love it! I can't wait until the big patio sounds wonderful.

  8. Looks like a wonderful project you have going!

  9. "mid to late June" Is to vague for me. I worry for you...

  10. I am so excited for you~Once the mess is over you'll have a delightful patio to view your newly designed garden!gail

  11. patio has most of the same flaws as yours, except my weeds grow bigger. When I bought the house I didn't even know there was a patio! I've been fighting with it ever since. Maybe your project pics will be the kick in the pants I need to get my own redone. Keep 'em coming!

  12. This sounds great! Maybe next year you can have the family Easter gathering out on the patio!

  13. What a splendid patio it will be, Carol. Kudos for having it done right, saving the pavers, plants and excellent soil. May the fairies enjoy their new digs. :-)

  14. You go girl! I'm so happy about your new garden and patio, and it makes me glad when you give us a peak into the process.~~Dee

  15. Looks like a lot of great changes are coming! That must be Sedum acre. What kind of patio are you installing? Or do we have to wait and see? ;)

  16. I can't wait to see what you do with that patio. I bet it will be so relaxing and beautiful.

  17. My eyes are so at ease with a look of that last photo. Your patio redesign will be so good no doubt. When you have your family over for the big egg hunt everyone can sit on the patio and watch the action. Can't wait to see the flower beds.

  18. One must never underestimate the value of good dirt. I'd move that precious stuff too. Sign of a true gardener, I'd say.

  19. Just found your blog and I'm enjoying every moment here!! I love your "Night Blooming Cereus" I had a chance for one and turned it down, hindsight!
    And your patio project is also a big winner. Alot of work-ugh but final results are always worth it!! And I love your mini. hostas I only have 2 and baby them so nothing happens to them. They are hardly little things. I like how you put them all together. Again, great blog.


Post a Comment

Comments are to a blog what flowers are to a garden. Sow your thoughts here and may all your comments multiply as blooms in your garden.

Though there is never enough time to respond to each comment individually these days, please know that I do read and love each one and will try to reciprocate on your blog.

By the way, if you are leaving a comment just so you can include a link to your business site, the garden fairies will find it and compost it!