“The Normandy Phase”

by ESP on June 20, 2014

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Here is a front garden in South Austin I spent a few days beating into shape and these are the visuals I generated to communicate the design to the client.

The first one incorporates pavers for a more formal look:

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This one introduced flagstone for a preferred meandering, organic look.

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Both designs called for the existing linear sidewalk to be removed.

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And removed it was, expanding exponentially with every tooth rattling blow from the 18lb sledge hammers.

This concrete expansion phenomenon is explained in detail in…

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The concrete expanded so rapidly it had filled a dumpster up in the time it took to say “why did my design have to call for the removal of the sidewalk?”

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Saving Ryan

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I refer to this part of the installation process as the ‘Normandy’ phase and it can be a little unnerving for the home owner should they come home in the middle of it.

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Next came turf removal, grade reduction, flattening and sprinkler capping.

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Here is the area almost prepped.

The hedge in front of the porch was removed to open up the view from the front porch. Removal of the sidewalk made the space feel much larger.

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Final Implementation:

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Grey Tejas black aggregate, Mexican beach pebbles and Silvermist flagstone blend up to the grey lower story of the house.

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No more sprinklers or lawn cutting required here.

A solar powered art installation by Melissa Borrell

http://www.melissaborrell.com/

called Glowave is designated for the rectangular area to the left of the front porch.

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The existing spineless prickly pear cactus and agave were pruned up and a couple of large limestone boulders were brought in to pull down the white of the house.

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Three sculptural whales tongue agave are given plenty of space to spread their spiny wings.

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And spread they will.

The rest of the plantings combine rosemary, basket grass, compact sage, gopher plant and a few muhly grasses that will fill in and soften the scene over time.

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It is very rewarding to see a space transform like this one. The final result is almost enough to mentally fade away the ‘storming of the sidewalk’ and the battered nerves of the Normandy phase…

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…almost.

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Back in the Patch:

Talking of transformations,

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it seems like only yesterday that he was a small man trapped in a box,

and she was only a few feet shorter than the first cypresses that I planted in the Patch.

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Nothing gives you a better appreciation of the passage of time than children and Arizona ‘blue ice’ cypress trees.

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Plants and trees have matured over the years, the neighboring house has now receded behind a tall wall of foliage yet

battles rage on and on in the Patch…

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…like the stand of Bermuda grass that insists on growing in the safe haven around the base of my barrel cacti

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urgh,

and this huge vitex that constantly strains and leans to scrape the roof of my front porch.

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The dollop of silver in the middle is ‘Silver King’ artemisia,

Artemisia ludoviciana

 

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a rapid spreader.

I keep mine in check by surrounding it with five rosemary bouncers.

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It pairs well with Gregg’s mist flower.

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Finally:

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The cone flowers have apparently liked the deep soakings we have received this spring.

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Stay Tuned For:

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“A Change of Scenery

 

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