Garden Design

Katy’s New Side Yard Garden

My name is Katy, and I garden in Zone 7B, in Tsawwassen British Columbia, Canada, just south of Vancouver. We have a modified Mediterranean climate with heavy winter rainfall and hot, dry summers—this year, complete with a heat dome. I have gardened on this suburban plot for 20 years. Our soil is sandy and free-draining, and it eats up all the amendments I can add to it.

The garden photos I am sending you are from my side yard. We have about 12 feet between our house and our neighbor’s garden wall. Previously, this area consisted of dead-ish grass, weeds, a few shrubs, and a small tree that I planted to screen the garden wall from the bedroom windows. Earlier this spring, we had some construction work done in the backyard, and the grass in this area was completely ruined. For any red-blooded gardener, this presented a challenge to be overcome! Undaunted by the muddy wreckage, I asked our landscaper to clean out all the old grass and add a winding path of bluestone pavers. I am enchanted with the result, which adds character and mystery to an area that was previously a utilitarian walk-through—like, when do I get to the real garden? Now, it is one of my favorite places to pause, sit with a cup of tea, and smell the flowers.

Although it’s only in its first summer, this garden already looks full and established, mainly because the woody structure was already in place. With a small garden, it is hard to keep a succession of flowers going, but I think I have managed to cover most seasons with snowdrops, trollius, and an early-flowering yellow daylily to cover off spring; the roses, lilies, and honeysuckle for high summer; and the helianthus, dahlia, and ginger for late summer. The Heptacodium’s elegant shape provides structure during the bare winter months.

stone path down side yardLonicera japonica ‘Halliana’ (Zones 4–9) grows on a trellis fence panel, with Hydrangea quercifolia (Zones 5–9), Calycanthus chinensis (Zones 6–8), Heptacodium miconoides (Zones 5–9), and David Austin’s Rosa ‘Desdemona’ (Zones 5–9) providing the woody structure and a basic color scheme of white and yellow flowers, with hints of pink coming from the honeysuckle. Once the path went in, I added perennials for a long season of bloom, fragrance, and some leaf interest.

light orange rosesRosa ‘Honey Dijon’

yelllow and white liliesYellow Oriental lilies (Lilium hybrid, Zones 5–8)

gargoyle statue next to yellow plant in a containerA gargoyle keeps watch next to the bright yellow flowers of dusty miller (Senecio cineraria, Zones 7–10 or as an annual).

plant with yellow flowers in a containerYellow Hedychium (Zones 8–10) in a pot stands in front of Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ (Zones 3–8).

light yellow and pink dahliaDahlia ‘Yellow Star’ (Zones 8–10 or as a tender bulb)

light yellow and pink daylilyHemerocallis ‘Prague Spring’ (Zones 5–9)

Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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