Saturday, February 9, 2019

Cleaning Up the Back Garden

One of the projects that i completed in 2018 that seems like a small change, but is paying huge dividends this spring, was the change to the path at the bottom of the hill. Here is the before:

Hillside with path
This hill used to go straight up from that retaining wall, with no clear way to get anywhere. A few years ago, i had access paths installed using railroad ties, with a path on the top and bottom. The top path (which runs along the block wall fence) was just dirt, and the bottom was compacted decomposed granite (DG). The top path got replaced with a gravel path to help with weed suppression and better access.

The bottom path with DG worked for a while,but over time, lots of weeds would grow in it. Also, as the plants on the hillside grew, they grew over the path. That was great, but then they started growing through the DG. So finally, last summer, the landscapers came in and dug out the DG, and replaced it with gravel, matching what is on the top path:
it's about 3 inches thick.
It worked great! And right now, weeding the gravel is much easier than the DG path ever was. The plants are already growing over the path again, without growing into the gravel.

On a side note, i can still never get over how full the hillside is now versus just a few years ago. Here is the view from the other side:
looking south
While the landscapers did that, i also had them clean up and put a new top coat on the main DG in the back garden. While i don't have them do this every year, it makes it look so good...
clean DG - no weeds and no annoying gopher holes!
They also trimmed up the Palo Verde, so it resembles more of a tree, and less of a blob:
the agave ovatifolia can breathe!
One of the biggest adds was the new stock pond, which i'll share lots more about later!
stock pond added
Of course, looking at these pictures now makes me want to call them back for a spring refresh of the DG! But if i did that now, i wouldn't have poppies later this spring, so back to hand weeding it is!


  1. You've declared it Spring?! It's beginning to feel more and more like we're shifting into that season here too. The rain has given us a major boost. Your garden is looking pristine and, as I've once again begun chopping away (literally) at the mess of dead ivy and honeysuckle growing on the upper section of my back slope, I've been considering the feasibility of adding some kind of pathway into that area. I'm very envious of yours!

    1. maybe it's wishful thinking? I keep having to remind myself the desert can get frost until March (which seems so far away!) but i just really want to be out in the garden! Best of luck with your hillside... mine is totally trail and error, so I'll be looking for good ideas!

  2. It feels great to get hardscaping projects done.You path turned out great !

    1. Thank you! i really like the way it looks, especially now that some of the plants are growing over it again...

  3. The timing of certain tasks, like weeding or putting in more aggregate, really is nuanced with other events. Poppies are worth waiting for, to do further work While I won't predict it's spring in either of our ends of the high desert yet, I do believe this will be an epic poppy season on my mountain edges..

    1. Ok fine, it's not Spring yet... but i'm already looking forward to it! I'm thinking we might have a great poppy season too. And i noticed the Joshua trees are starting to bloom! I'm looking for optimistic spring signs everywhere!

  4. I love this look. This is what gardens should be like in the desert. The negative space really sets off the plantings.


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