Landscape Designer

The front of our house looks like this and basically has since we moved in. IMG_2019

The only major thing that we have done is removed the pine tree to the left of the house. Now, I can fake being a "designer" (whatever that means) inside the house. I basically know what I like and what will work in a space and what will be a hot mess. I can pick out paint colors that coordinate and can buy furniture/redo it with the best of them. But outside I am like this:


In order to stop the endless feeling of being helpless in this arena, I found Ainslie. Cue the angels. Ainslie is a landscape architect with Ivy Street Design in Denver. She is amazing. Such a sweetheart and totally and completely smarter than I will ever be. At our initial meeting, I told her that I have a black thumb... not even in the green family. I kept saying things like PLANTS FOR DUMMIES PLEASE! I am sure she thought I was joking/exaggerating, but I was not. She scoured this here blog, my pinterest, and my brain and came back with a plan for the front yard that nailed it and took all of the wheel spinning/question asking/what could we possibly do to this space out of my head and onto the page. I will mess up explaining this all to you. It's a fact. But I wanted you to know that there is AFFORDABLE help out there for you and your yard headaches.

Let me help orient you. This picture is the vantage point of yourself in a helicopter/navigating a drone over my backyard looking towards the front yard. Please get your drone out of here, thanks. The two dots with circles are the trees in the front yard and their shade patterns. SHADE PATTERNS PEOPLE. The gray concrete slab is where the current front porch is and the sidewalk is where the sidewalk is (it is widened considerably) and the flower bed to the right is where the red bricks are currently.


My most favorite thing about this design is the walkway. It adds that modern touch we like and fits with the house. I also love the plants that are up by the curb/entrance to the house. Since we "done with snow" I can finally see my front yard again and it makes me wanna do things (not plant, cause we have established I cannot do that).


In case you were wondering, she also writes RIGHT ON THE PLANS/blueprints, what plants those circles represent. If I weren't a total gardening moron, I would probably try to tackle this myself. But I'd end up wasting money and my back. #realtalkIMG_5657

And for the truly visual, this what the drawing of the front entrance could look like. I mean, how much more inviting is that?!?IMG_5661

You'll notice on the porch that the horizontal beams are removed (we are going to do that) and a metal decorative element is added along the top (we are not going to do that). I like the idea of just leaving it open and allowing the space to meld into the plants that someone else is going to plant. The only other change to this drawing that we would make is that the shutters and gutters are getting painted black this spring/summer. It is happening. I have the paint.

Oh, and the other thing? She flipping gives you a lookbook with pictures. REAL PICTURES of all of the plants/materials she proposes.

bennett lookbook_Page_1


What I do know about these plants because Ainslie told me so, is that they are great for planting idiots, shade mostly, and Colorado.

The kicker about this whole plan... we have no idea when, if ever, we are going to do this. It all really depends on if we decide to sell our house next year after we update the bathroom and get granite in the kitchen. That whole ongoing discussion is the subject of another post and involves a hard look at the Denver real estate market, which, in a word, is NUTS.

So what changes would you make? What do you love?


My Garden is a Failure

Alas. I failed. I warned all of you that I was no green thumb. That gardening is something I have never done before and that I was just sort of winging it. Back in April, I got these tomato plants from Whole Foods... IMG_0337

And they did well in my window! Growing and looking mighty fine. And then I planted them in a spot in my garden I had never been through a summer with previously. I had no idea how much the trees and shrubs in my backyard would shade these bad boys.

My backyard garden spot started out like this and I was oh, so optimistic. LOOK at all the sunshine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



AND LOOK. Back in June... a PEPPER! (Yeah, yeah, it got eaten by a bird before I could get it, but food! In my garden. Said bird jerk is also the reason for the black netting that got put over everything.)


The tomato plants GOT HUGE (height wise) but here we are... September and not a SINGLE SOLITARY tomato has ripened enough to eat. Not one. See those little bastards in there? All green and plump. And yeah... this picture is dark... because that is how the rest of this summer has been: dark, stormy, CRAPPY.


Everything just got WAY overgrown. The tomato plants totally took over and even further shaded everything around/next to/behind them. You can also see in the picture below that the strawberries have failed as well. Yes, there is red ... but the berries are the size of my pinky nail. No joke.


You see, everyone tried to tell me that because this was the wettest and coolest Colorado summer, my garden never had a fighting chance. AND YET, at work, a gal canned something like 309485094 jars of tomatoes from her Denver garden.  Maybe not that many, BUT COME ON.

And don't even get me started on the peppers... well they are still hanging around, but are also just WAY too small to do anything with.


So, this is now the "plan." I am taking everything OUT of this back garden spot. Next spring, I will plant everything up front, next to the house and use some sort of raised bed action.


I am actually thinking of getting rid of the red brick up front and doing raised cedar beds "along" the house. Or, once we take out the pine tree along the left side of the house, do raised beds along there. I also am thinking of hiring a landscape architect to tell me what to do and then doing it myself. I am also thinking that I never want to garden again and will just go broke buying food at the farmer's markets.  Any thoughts on what to do bloggy buddy gardeners?