Our front yard makeover: Post mortem

Now that the hardscape portion of our Grand Simplification is complete, let’s step back and evaluate. And, to celebrate the first day of school, I’ve even given grades, using my very arbitrary rubric which is no rubric at all. You judge whether we’re being too easy – or too hard – on ourselves. Circulation: B+ […]

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Our front yard makeover, Part 4

We sympathized with the builders of the pyramids after Beaver Valley Stone delivered our 4,180 lbs (1,896 kg) of weathered limestone. Not only did we ask ourselves how we’d ever move these big hunks of rock into position; we asked how the heck we’d ever get them off the skid – without breaking any backs, […]

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Our front yard makeover, Part 3

This is where I talk about concrete. We were utter novices when we launched into building our set of 7-foot-wide concrete steps. And when I say “we” here, know that it was the unstoppable Mr. TG doing all the literal and figurative heavy lifting. One of the reasons we went with concrete is that it’s easier […]

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Our front yard makeover, Part 2

Creating a site plan is one of the first steps in the process The first stage in planning our makeover was knowing what we wanted. Our wish list was small: We wanted to stop water, soil, mulch and, especially, people from sliding down the steep slope along the driveway. We needed to get people or groceries […]

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Our front yard makeover, Part 1

Just the planting yet to come in the finished project, from above. Sorry, I’ve been AWOL. One thing that waylaid me has been a major phase of our front yard transformation I’ve called our Grand Simplification. Rather than building to a climax in the retelling, I prefer to start at the end, showing you the […]

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On my way from before to after

Grand simplification in progress, May 2012 A couple of years ago, I embarked on a garden project I called my Grand Simplification. My goal was to make my gardening life less complicated by rethinking the space. Simple is hard, as any designer will tell you. While the process is nowhere near finished, this is my […]

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Grand Simplification: Know thyself

Gardeners spend hours pouring over seed and nursery catalogues, looking at books, thinking about colours, bloom times, soil conditions. They might even consider plant succession through the seasons, foliage shapes and textures, winter interest. One thing they often don’t consider: the gardener. When I first stuck my spade into the soil in this garden, I […]

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Grand Simplification: Taking stock of the mess

The unvarnished truth: My front garden, complete with hose and bald patches, doing its best to pose for its “before” picture at right. That headline almost said “Taking stock of the carnage.” After summer’s heat and drought, my garden – especially the front garden – usually does look like a battlefield by September. (To my […]

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