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Green Box no. 10: Garden Gables

Green Box no. 10 (nicknamed Garden Gables because of the gorgeous brick wall that surrounds the back yard), was a unique opportunity to mix different elements together to create a unified whole. When we were called in to transform the backyard, there were plenty of issues to address, namely:

  1. The steeply sloped backyard was creating an erosion and flooding issue near the house.

  2. Where greenery was growing it was mostly the highly invasive japanese stiltgrass.

  3. There was nowhere for the owner's young child to play.

The design for Green Box no. 10 was focused on defining the play area by creating a continuous bed in a semi-circle in front of the brick wall, with a mixture of fruit trees, productive herbs and shrubs, and wildflowers for pollinators. We also needed to address the flooding issue with a bioswale at the bottom of the hill, light grading at the top, a wooden retaining wall at the bottom of the hill, and a small stacked stone retaining wall lining the edge of the bed to keep water in the beds.

We used a wide variety of plants to achieve the owner's goals: Blueberry, Rosemary, Phlox, Coneflower, Arbor Vitae (for screening an ugle shed in the neighbors yard), Mexican Petunia, Autumn Fern, Plum, Fig, Persimmon, and Coreopsis, among many others. All told, we planted over 35 species of native or edible plants and 3 fruit trees, meaning Garden Gables is going to be lush with fruit and herbs within the next few years. Since fragrant roses are the owner's favorite plant, we also found a couple of uniquely colored and scented roses to add to the mix.

The coolest feature was a small pond we installed into the back of a pine tree stump, utilizing large stones that we found throughout the yard. Once the Water Lilies, native water plants, and small fountain pump are installed in the spring, this pond will make a tremendous habitat for lizards, salamanders, frogs, and beneficial insects.


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