An overgrown and neglected backyard in Austin, Texas took on a new life with some pruning, some sod and the addition of a well-designed play set. Like so many of my projects this one involved more cleaning and restoration than elaborate new design work. Oftentimes just opening up a space by getting in there and doing that pruning that you've been wanting to do for years changes everything and makes it possible to imagine all kinds of new ideas.
The work for this project began in fall and was completed as winter set in and the after pictures reflect that reality as opposed to what things looked like in spring and summer. The front yard, like the backyard had been looked after but was in need of a cleanup and revitalization. Shrubs up close to the house often outlive their original intention and as you can see in the pictures below I took most of them out and replaced them with newer and more interesting trees and plants. A small shubby plant that was trying to be a tree was replaced with a flowering magnolia that will eventually be far more in balance with the multi-storied home and sweeping front yard.
Cleaning and pruning opened up planting areas where I used a combination of ginger, fortnight lilies and broadleafed plants to breathe new life into the existing beds. A winding sidewalk from the street to the front door was grass against concrete and sadly out of scale with the imposing entrace to the home. I added flower beds on either side of the walkway and filled them with shrub roses and dwarf pine. As accents I used short, carved stone pillars into which I placed low-voltage lighting.
My clients had brought a beautiful old carved stone urn with them from the east coast and when I saw it lying on its side in the backyard I decided to see if I could give it a more fitting place in front near the driveway and entrance to the property. I created a circular bed lined with old bricks and placed the urn, which was now a birdbath in the middle of it and surrounded it with daylilies and swordleaf philodendron.