It’s easy to think of gardening strictly in the context of amending the soil, dealing with grass (if there is any) and determining the ‘hardscape’ (stack stone, brick, or even hedges that form distinct spaces for planting) areas.  But there are other options.

Grass, who needs it when you have a setting so beautiful.

One of my dearest friends decided years ago to get rid of her grass.  Lots of eco-friendly gardeners say that grass uses too much water and there are other issues.  Personally I love the coolness of grass and would probably go to the new, synthetic stuff if grass was outlawed in Southern California. My friend’s decision was helped by an addition to the family, a yellow Labrador retriever puppy.  Tilly, the darling puppy, destroyed my friend’s backyard within a few months of his arrival.  Wanting a pretty backyard became a challenge.

Tilly, she looks innocent doesn't she?

So my friend combed magazines and tore out countless pictures of more formal gardens that featured containers filled with beautiful trees, shrubs, ferns and flowers.  Her yard, to this day, is one of the most spectacular gardens I’ve ever seen.  She and her husband had brick runners added to the patio and concrete poured, gravel pathways formed and plenty of space for large concrete planters.

My Friend's Secret Garden

Her garden has evolved over the years and she has added layer upon layer of detail that makes a visitor want to sit on one of the many garden benches and spend time listening to nature’s song.