Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Creating a Garden Patio

Hi, all!

  I got my bee picture that I've been working on done, but I haven't taken a picture of it yet.  I will make time for it tomorrow.

  Meanwhile, I worked on creating a patio area off of our porch for those picnicking days of summer to come.

  We have a picnic table that we only seem to use twice a year:
during our annual plant sale where the "cash registering" gets done,
and when the kids suddenly get the urge to have a picnic supper (and I happen to be willing to haul it all out to the middle of the yard).

  I decided the table might be used more if it was closer to the kitchen.

  When I thought on where the best place for that to be was, I turned to this place.

  Location is key when choosing where to have a patio.  I noticed that my kids and I all seem to try to lay claim to the seat toward the end of this porch each morning because the early morning sun comes up on this side and it's warmth is so sweet in the morning.  By afternoon, this space has a gentle shade and by evening, the shade is complete.

  The porch is also right off the kitchen, so hauling foods and utensils wouldn't be too hard to do from this distance.

  So it seemed that this place was the best place for a picnic patio...
which meant removing all the plants that seemed to grow exceptionally well here.

The first thing I felt I needed to do was extend this garden.

  The ground is so good here, so little rock and just thick, brown dirt.  It was very easy to dig and flip off the sod, so I chose to go that route.

  (For many of my other gardens where the ground has been too hard to dig and work with, I just laid a thick layer of newspaper (probably 4-5 pages thick) right on the ground and then shoveled good dirt I have from our rotted manure dirt pile right onto the newspaper.  Once completely covered, I would then top it off with mulch and hose it all down good.  In a few weeks, I found I could plant into it  Of course, I didn't always want to wait that long, so sometimes I made holes in the newspaper where I wanted the plants and planted them right away, but then I had to battle weeds that also poked through around those areas.)

  I used my hose to create a rough line of where I wanted the edge of the garden extension to be.

  (The hens like to keep me company while I dig and overturn the grass and then shake out the sod before removing it because there were plenty of earth worms and grubs to scurry after.)

   The digging of the extension took about 2 days of work, in between dealing with the kids and other normal interruptions.

  I began removing the plants that were in this place, digging each variety up and separating each plant into many plants, potting them up so that I can replant smaller version in new spaces and sell the rest next spring.  They will have time to grow and fill in the pots til then.

  We had a number of old terracotta drain pipes up in one of the cow fields where an old corn bin had been.  It seemed a shame for them to sit out there not being used, so I hauled as many as weren't broken down to the area.

At first, I thought I might use them for edging...

but did not like the way they looked and worried one of us would twist our ankles on them.

I next tried them as a type of dividing wall coming down the garden.

I dug a trench and partly buried them to make them secure.

There were extra, so I moved them the other side of the garden to create a small wall there as well.

The plants all removed and the walls up, I then called in some help to prepare for the table.
(It is always nice to have a helping hand willing to give of his busy day with a happy smile and song on his lips...

okay, I may be stretching it a little,
but his help really was appreciated).

We leveled the ground somewhat, removing dirt to be used elsewhere.

I had two old rugs in the shed that I had saved for a project like this.  They had been used in rooms where the dogs often laid on them (before the dogs were restricted to just the basement den).  They had just gotten to the point of no return.

We laid these out as a type of weed barrier.

The table was moved in, and immediately, I could see that it will have much more use in this space.

With the few extra drain pipe pieces, legs were made for this "bench."

(There is a granite counter top business in town that lets us take some of their broken pieces).

I still need to finish planting everything where I want it, and my daughter wants a little part of this garden for herself.

I can see evidence of her play here.

For now, I hope it will turn out to be worth all the effort.

Here is the before picture:

And here it is at the moment:

I will be by again soon with painting techniques;...
just need to make sure all the dirt is off these hands.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. This was the perfect spot, Tonya! Enjoy the new dining area...you designed it well!

    1. Thanks, Silverfeather. :) We have used it quite a bit already. :)

  2. what a wonderful new spot! and great idea with the rugs. we just did a little brick patio for under our table and chairs, and this weekend we ate out there without feeling too buggy, like when you are sitting on the grass. enjoy your space!

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy your space, too. Yes, bugs can make it miserable. I've been fighting the mosquitos that bombard the area at night, but at least it is pretty nice during the day. I think I need to fill the gardens with toads now. :)

  3. It's beautiful - I love what you did with the drain pipes.


Thanks for your thoughts! If you have a question, I'll try to answer it.