Welcome to our home! A view of the front door...
Looking into "The Grotto" onto the outdoor kitchen
Last May, Jennifer and Jason came to Katy to oversee the garden maintenance/overhaul that was long overdue here. I did a pretty decent job of overseeing the building and decoration of this house, planning interior spaces for use and making use of colors and our furniture to create a warm and inviting interior. But I dropped the ball on the exterior totally - due to both lack of time and ignorance. I know now that several things should have been done differently. First of all, I should not have had the pool company be involved with the landscaping at ALL! The pool company promised a landscape plan that their landscaper couldn't provide given the funds he was given by the pool company for this purpose. By then we were too close to closing to do much about it. I should have contacted various local landscaping companies to come and make suggestions based on what our use of the space would be, taking into account what we would be viewing from INSIDE the house and how well it continued style-wise into the outdoor spaces. Then I should have taken several bids from the companies whose ideas we liked and then made a decision.
But I didn't. And have lived to "rue the day". So we were working with a plan that wasn't ideal but one which was already "in" and "paid for". We were forced to work within certain parameters of the current scape and needed knowledgeable help to do that.
Sweet potato vine, roses and ixora, oh my!
That's where Jason comes into the picture. You see, he loves gardening. And he enjoys it. And he knows what he's doing. They all came down on a Tuesday night and for the next 5 days, we sweated, we tore out, we replanted...you name it...and we have a gorgeous garden with growth plans in place. We'd had some trees removed and some new ones installed, three of which are already victims of the Great Hot Texas Summer of 2009, but they have a warranty on them so come fall I'll have them replaced. A flagstone path with ledge stone edges was the biggest project. And it wasn't laying stone and putting down decomposed granite that was the biggest issue - it was getting the established thatch of turf to "budge" to remove it prior to installation that proved to be the real back-breaker! Even the tiller we rented had a hard time gnawing through it. Mike and Jason resorted to using pickaxes to cut through it all. But it turned out beautifully!
Lots of plants were bought at the Brookwood Community. I'd never even heard of this place until my hairdresser, Terri, told me about it. If you're in the west Houston area and have never been, you have to drive out there! We bought things like Butterfly Weed, Knock-out Roses, mosses, sweet potato vine, hibiscus to name but a FEW. I even got a lime tree to put in a container on the patio!
I'd like to add another crape myrtle in the front bed between the front door and the bay window to Mike's study next year as well as adding a play scape in the backyard. But those are projects for another day, another fiscal year. :) For now, I am happy to have a plan, a maintained garden and knowledge of how to do both. And I've also learned that removing a few weeds a day, as they pop up, is infinitely easier to deal with than trying to pull them out after a long while left unattended (not to mention how much BETTER and CLEANER it all looks!).
So thanks to Jason (and Jenny too) - I hope this can be an annual event! I have SUCH plans for NEXT year (run, run...flee while you can!!)