When the house we are in was first built, I wanted to buy this exact house. We had moved into another house just a couple of years before, however, and there was no way for us to move at that point.

Several years later, when we heard that the owners were thinking of selling (but the house was not on the market yet), we jumped at the chance.

We couldn’t get in to see it until Monday, so over the weekend, we looked up the house on Google Maps, and I drew and designed the garden.

We put in the garden within a year of moving in.

I’ve had ideas over the years for some changes (and have made several), but I’ve also loved what we have had.

The end of this section has fallen several feet (behind the wheelbarrow) and on both sides. This was all flat and even with the bottom of the wall.

However, we’ve had some issues with maintenance over the years, and it’s time to fix those that we haven’t been able to without a major overhaul of the garden. We’ve done a lot of repairs over the years (the valve manifold has cracked and broken in two boxes twice, causing overnight flooding of the garden and the loss of trees even though we found the leak early the next morning each time), the garden has sunk in some places by as much as several feet (despite the man we hired having packed the dirt with water and a backhoe), and sprinklers have broken as the garden has sunk. The horse manure we brought in (sourced by the backhoe driver) also introduced crabgrass into our garden that has become impossible to remove (from now on, I will only use bagged sterile manure, but we need to eradicate this problem). The last few years the cost of repairs has been between $500 and $1000 per year. Changing the garden will help alleviate this expense.

Our backyard before the changes. The backyard (including the patio) is approximately 75 feet by 75 feet.

In discussing the repairs, we decided to make some changes that we have contemplated over the years. These changes will pay for themselves in three to four years in reduced water bills alone and will decrease our maintenance expenses. We are removing three-fourths of the grass, and putting concrete over part of it and drip irrigation in other parts.

We will reduce the number of sprinkler heads to maintain; change the design of the valves in the valve boxes to a way that is much more stable, reducing the chance of breakage; increase our fruit and nut production; increase our vegetable and herb production, and also increase our flower production.

The water bill reduction is more essential than ever for two reasons: one, despite using less water, our bills have been over $100 higher per month this year since June (so rates have drastically increased since last year), and two, our city has received half the amount of normal rainfall this year (only 2 inches–about 5 centimeters–this year).

I will be reducing the amount of lawn I need to mow, but I will be increasing my work; I will have much more to prune several times a year, more plants to fertilize, and more edging work with the grass.

We are keeping the basic parterre shape in the back of the garden. The circle will be enlarged by two feet and the plants in it will be moved to other places in the garden. The sundial will be moved as well.

The grass walkway between the parterres will be reduced from 6 feet 6 inches down to 3 feet wide, which will allow us to widen the beds and increase our growing area. The walkway will be concrete instead of grass.

I have designed several parterre sections of the garden, making each section its own garden room. The main center section will have a concrete walkway.

The only grass areas will be right around the trampoline, the merry-go-round, and the swings.

The main visual point of the garden will still be in the center. I designed a parterre garden that leads from the patio to the back parterre section. The beds will be edged in low boxleaf euyonomus hedges (all the beds will be throughout the garden) like I have in my white garden. The four sections of the parterre will be filled with 8 trees: four almond trees and four peach trees. These will all flower pink in late February.

Below the trees, I am planting white Narcissus Thalia bulbs, which I hope will multiply over the years. Those will bloom in March in our climate. I will be planting Desdemona roses from David Austin between the trees. These should bloom in late April and again in October in our climate; though they are repeat-flowering, our extreme heat here usually stops roses from blooming during the long, hot months of summer. As I write this, it’s mid-October, and it will be 94 degrees here tomorrow. While roses need sun in order to bloom and grow, our sun here is fairly intense and can burn rose bushes in the summer. These trees should still get plenty of sun in our climate despite being planted between semi-dwarf fruit trees.

Between these beds will be two narrow beds, edged in low hedges and filled with Swiss chard. This grows year-round here, so they should be green most of the year (though I will have to pull the plants in April when they bolt, and plant new seeds in their place).

I am adding a second circle to mirror the other circle. My armillary sundial will be moved to here. I plan to grow flowers in this circle, including Narcissus Thalia daffodils. That said, if the economy is super bad in the years to come, I could easily grow vegetables in this spot. I see the circles as a place to change up colors for the year, depending on the plants that I grow there. The back circle will be similar to the front circle, but I will continue to grow Narcissus Geranium daffodils there, which are white with an orange center. I have plenty of flower seeds already that I can plant in these circles.

The back parterre gardens will change. I’m moving the peach trees that are currently there and will be replacing them with Stella cherries. These are self-fertile semi-dwarf sweet cherries. I grew these before (twice) until both times they were drowned by an overnight leak in the valve box. Now I will have two trees, and they will be in a place where they can grow larger. I plan to net them when the cherries are almost ripe. My experience with them in the past has been that they were very slow growing; I hope that with plenty of fertilizer, worm castings, and manure, that they will grow tall enough to set fruit in the garden within 3-4 years. These trees require 500 chilling hours, which is a mid-chill level, but we should get that many here (it’s the upper end of our chilling hours). These flower white and pink in February.

Below the cherries, in these beds, I will replant my yellow daffodils throughout the beds behind new hedges (rather than in front of the hedges). I’ll continue to grow the Claire Austin and Queen of Sweden roses in the beds with the cherry trees and plant more artichokes and/or poppies. In the summer I will grow zinnias between the trees.

I will add a new self-fertile apple tree (the ones I planted last year burnt in the sun) and replace the mislabeled pistache with the Kerman pistachio that it was supposed to be. I am quite disappointed that this was wrong; I was suspicious of it having been mislabeled, but have confirmed it this year. It should have put forth fruit this year, and it takes 5-7 years to fruit, so this is quite the disappointment.

I’m removing the French Lace roses from the beds, which have been disappointing; even in cool weather, they open in a single day, flat, and white–they’re supposed to be peach, and while the heat causes flowers to be lighter in our climate (for example, red roses bloom pink in early summer and late fall) these have no color, are not pretty in any way, and they burn the second day.

I will move the four Earth Angel roses (currently in the center circle in the back) to the bed near the trampoline, and also two other roses from the back beds. They should get more sun here and be able to grow larger and make more blooms. The wall and the neighbor’s growing palms are shading the garden quite a bit in that section.

In the bed near the swings, I will plant three Scepter D’Isle roses.

The back beds near the back wall will mostly be the same (minus the roses that I am moving and the pear trees that we are removing); I am leaving the Mission Fig, the All in One Almond, the Royal Apricot, and the Katy Apricot trees. I will most likely leave two of the lilac bushes in place, and I will leave the one Claire Austin rose that blooms more yellow than white, as well as the two Graham Thomas (yellow) climbing roses and the two white Claire Austin climbing roses, which are young and still quite small. I will be replacing the two pear trees with Rio Red Grapefruit trees. I have purchased these already; they’re quite tiny, and it will be a few years before they are large enough to fruit, but I look forward to enjoying them when they are large enough! These beds are shaded below from the fruit trees and not much grows here. I am planning to plant some foxglove seeds that I have at the back of these beds in the full shade (no one can reach them, as the bed is 8 feet wide, so this is a safe space to grow them).

In the center, where there is currently a bench, I will move an urn that I have in my white garden (it’s around the corner, so it rarely shows up in photos) onto a plinth and grow flowers in it in front of the climbing roses. I am planning to gow white flowering cabbage and cyclamen in late fall and winter and impatiens or coleus and decorative sweet potato vine in the summer.

Around the trampoline, I will put four tiny beds in the corners where I can plant food. I plan to plant tomatoes here every other year (one in each section) and would like to try growing peanuts below them, with squash or pole beans here every other year. In the cooler months, I will grow spinach and other greens in these beds. My daughter has requested that I grow sunflowers, so I may add a few to two of these beds that face south.

The trampoline is not perfectly centered in this area, but the cost to redig the circle and move the trampoline (which would require some major equipment) is too high, so we will leave it slightly off-center from the new design.

Above that section, I will have two beds with a center circle. This circle will be small (3 feet acrosss–the same size as the one in the front yard). I will plant food in the larger beds. This area will also have tomatoes every other year, changed out to beans on alternate years, with butternut squash between them in summer. Fall, winter, and spring, I will grow lettuce, leeks, green onions, snow peas, and poppies here.

We want to divide this section from the trampoline area with a trellis. I plan to grow star jasmine on it. This will give the effect of a separate room. I love the look of arched hedges; the vine-covered trellis will replicate that look and should grow faster than a hedge.

Near the patio, at the entrance to this section, there will be an arched trellis covered in The Generous Gardener roses.

By the merry-go-round, we’ll put in two beds, edged with hedges, where I’ll grow a mandarin tree in each bed. Between the beds will also have a trellis with roses, but it will be a longer trellis that goes to the edge of the grass. I plan to grow poppies in the beds followed by squash. I wil try a couple of tomato plants here as well while the trees are small. I will move two lilac bushes to be at the ends of the bed. They will get enough sun to flower here, but they will also burn in summer, with new leaves coming forth in fall. This is the nature of lilacs in our climate; I am grateful that they will grow and flower here at all.

On either side of the merry-go-round, I will put a bench with two pots. The pots will be filled with boxwood or euyonomus balls.

The merry-go-round that my husband built is in need of repair due to rust damage underneath, so my husband will repair it and it will be moved over by about a foot.

The benches and potted boxwood balls will be repeated under the fig tree and in the back corner. This will provide quiet, shady spaces to enjoy in the garden.

Along the eastern length of the garden, we will be tearing out all of the good soil that we have brought in and amended over the years. We’ll set this aside to reuse. We will be installing a two-foot-wide concrete walkway down the center of the bed. We will dig up the hard, poor, white soil from the other garden beds and put it in the center here to support the walkway. Then we’ll fill in the growing areas on either side with the good soil, along with more manure and soil sulfur.

My husband will build an arbor here. I will grow seedless grapes on top of the arbor; the fruit can hang down in the walkway. Beneath the grapes, in front of the wall, I will grow blackberries and possibly try growing tayberries as well. Blackberries ripen in May here; the grapevines start to leaf out in early April. I should have enough shade in a couple of years to prevent the berries from burning when they are ripe. I have been successful in growing blackberries here on the other side of the house and hope to have great success here.

On the other side of the arbor, near the swings, I will grow snow peas in winter and Armenian cucumbers and red noodle beans in summer. I’m currently designing this arbor/trellis with my husband. The side of the bed near the swings will be edged in a hedge. Behind the hedge I will grow asparagus, basil, and other herbs. Beneath the arbor, on the other side of this trellis, I will grow lettuce, spinach, and green onions.

The raised bed along the patio, north of this area, will be lowered. We have already removed the soil from it and will dig it out lower, and then fill it back in with good soil. I will grow tomatoes alternated with beans or cucumbers in this area.

The raised planter on the west side of the garden will stay mostly the same. I have to decide on a tree to replace the Asian pear we tore out; I am hoping for an Oroblanco grapefruit, but am having trouble sourcing one. This bed has two Meyer lemon trees, a pomegranate tree, and an almond tree already. It also has The Alnwick rose bushes and some young peonies. I will grow Swiss chard, lettuce, and parsley here in the winter, and plant poppies and Bells of Ireland from seed along some of it as well. The front of the bed is lined in Narcissus Geranium daffodils (the parsley is planted above them). In July I have planted zucchini seeds in the beds for a hopeful fall harvest when it should be cool enough to flower; I’m still waiting for something this year from my plants, so we shall see; zucchini continues to be fairly impossible for me to grow as my plants simply don’t produce female flowers.

Along the side of the house, I have a narrow bed alongside a concrete footer from the wall, where I grow Thomspon’s Seedless and Concord grapes at the top (with blackberries underneath). There are nasturtiums that reseed here each year under the vines alongside the patio.

My patio will be essentially the same, but I will grow all pomegranates in my pots now, as they are the one tree that can handle the southern sun and reflected heat and light from the house and the patio without burning to death. I plan to grow nasturtiums under them in winter/spring followed by bougainvillea in summer. The bougainvillea will be a new experiment for me; if it doesn’t make it, I’ll got back to growing basil in these pots as I currently do in the summer.

There are other changes as well; we will move the hose to a new spot and get rid of the two hose bibs that we currently have, move the four lamp posts that we have and run new electrical to them, add two additional lamp posts, and hang three lights in the grape arbor.

Throughout the garden, we will repeat circular shapes not just in the layout on the ground, but with the merry-go-round, trampoline, and the boxwood spheres that I will grow throughout the garden.

It’s a lot of changes and a lot of work (not just now but in maintenance in the future) that will give us more food and more flowers. My major goal in the garden is (and has been) to have something ripe every month. I also want to be able to cut flowers for arrangements without having to cut every single flower in the garden in order to make an arrangement; I want to see flowers in the garden as well as enjoy them on my table.

It will be at least three years before we start to see fruit from our new trees, new grapevines, and new asparagus plants. The berries will take a couple of years to begin fruiting. In the meantime, we’ll have all the fruit we had before (lemons, peaches, apricots, pomegranates, almonds, plus blackberries and a few grapes), more Swiss chard, more green onions, more parsley, tomatoes, more butternut squash, more cucumbers, chives, snow peas, beans, lettuce, and spinach, along with anything else I manage to grow, while at the same time, our water bill will decrease.

I will need 1244 hedge plants to edge all the beds. I’ve started 492 cuttings so far from the boxleaf euyonomus in my white garden, and I hope to be able to produce all of the plants that I need within a year from cuttings. They will be tiny to start.

It will look rather sparse at first as everything grows in, but I can picture it already, lush and in flower!

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  1. This is amazing, Brandy! What an amazing vision to have not only in your mind but on paper and to have the skills to make it happen! Will you and your husband do the cement work yourself? We met with a landscaper a couple weeks ago to get his opinion about our property. It has a very large slope and is all gravel (with weeds growing through it) with a spot that use to be grass right around the deck. Once we get these student loans out of the way, we’ll start saving up to fix up the backyard! It’ll be fun to spend the next few years researching, dreaming, and envisioning what we want!

    1. We have someone we have hired before who we will have do it. However, my husband will be mixing cement for several parts that are not the main concrete areas, such as under the lampposts and the merry-go-round.

  2. Wow-I am tired just reading about your plans!! You have an amazing vision and I am sure that it will be a lovely garden over time. DH and I just got back from groceries-PM’d Walmart to buy a 6 pack of avocadoes for 1.99, 8 lbs of imperfect gala apples for 5.99, toothbrushes and paste for .88 each. Spent $20 in pts to reduce my grocery bill. I am making cream of veggie soup for lunch and DH and I will split a small BBQ steak for dinner. Looking forward to a nice week of milder weather here in Calgary-the first snow has melted with the chinook wind warming us up.

  3. This looks fabulous — lots of hard work but beautiful and very worthwhile in the end.

    I’m not sure whether the cyclamen are planted in a sunny or partly shaded area.
    I was one of the first people here (to my knowledge) who grew cyclamen. Mine bloomed
    in late summer. They are now reproducing and spreading (but not in a bad way). Mine are in a partly-shaded area.
    In Italy, they grow in the mountains (hillsides) in open woods or at the edge of a chestnut forest. I’m not sure how well they tolerate heat or intense light but you’ve probably taken that into account.

    Thanks for sharing the plan. We will watch the journey and results with interest.

    P.S. I planted my peonies (now a jungle) because deer don’t like peonies — well, they were all pruned by a deer the other day. Fortunately, it’s the end of the season so they needed pruning anyway.

    1. They will be growing in shade on the north side of the wall. They are a winter flower here. I grow them in shade on the north side of my house in the white garden, so I know they’ll do okay in the shade here in winter. In summer they die back and I’ll be looking for impatiens if I can find them for that spot.

      1. My favorite impatiens are double blooms — they look like little roses. It made a shady flower bed I had at a house I rented look very luxurious.

        1. I have not seen the doubles but I am sure they are beautiful. The nursery here only carries a few for a short period of time. It will be my first time growing them. I read there was a disease wiping most of them out for the last 10+ years and that they are only now making a comeback since 2017.

          1. If you haven’t discovered Floret Flower farms yet, please search and read her page. She is a flower farmer in Washington state. She sells amazing open pollinated flower seeds in unique varieties, including cutting varieties of pansies and hundreds of others.

            1. I’ve been reading her site for years, actually! This year she is one of the featured writers for the year in Victoria magazine. I ordered seeds from her last year.

      2. Ah, I knew you would have accounted for their need of shade. They only go dormant in the summer so I’m assuming you won’t actually replace them?

        1. Sometimes mine make it through summer and sometimes they do not. I have several in pots in my white garden and none of them, sadly, appear to be coming back. I think the summer plants need a lot of water here and it rots the bulbs, so I treat them as annuals and hope they come back, but I don’t count on it.

      3. A few comments. A) you should consider putting the word out for clippings of your hedges. Think of how many cuttings from people pruning. We also see people posting mature bushes with a you dig it’s yours free postings.

        B) You should look for a drone photographer to barter with. Some before, during and after aerial shots would be amazing!!!

        1. Hi Celina,

          Most people here have rocks for a garden, and this bush is rarely planted; the nursery isn’t even carrying them anymore!

          Drone shots would be so cool! We’ve already started the work so before shots from above would not be possible.

    2. Never assume something doesn’t like or isn’t supposed to eat something. I was told that my pond fish, which were eating all the underwater aerating plants, would not eat Hornwort because it’s a bit rough. Well, I suppose that information wasn’t passed down generations of fish as they were eating it as fast as I could put it in there. At now $3.75 a small bunch, and it takes at least 30 bunches to even give an impression of it in the pond, I’ve had to stop buying it. They were literally eating me out of house and home.

  4. Hi Brandy,
    What a detailed plan you have there. I admire our pluck on taking on such a large project.
    What size Oroblanco grapefruit are you looking for?

    1. I’m looking for a 5-gallon pot, which should be about $30 to $35. I actually found one (just one!) yesterday, but the tree had no header and just one very crooked branch and trunk, so I didn’t get it. I found some larger ones, but they were $400! So I’m still looking.

  5. What a lovely post to read while cooking a hot breakfast on a Saturday morning. I had no idea the yard was so big. I love that you continue to balance between flowers and edible plants — food for the heart as well as food for body. I look forward to following along as your plans come to life.

  6. Heave ho! Sounds glorious and inspired! I’ve determined that anyone who has ever visited Europe can never escape the beauty they’ve seen, myself included. I love the old world feel of gardens, self-sufficiency and hard work. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love great big projects like this. It’s a plan for the future and feels like something exciting to get up for each day.

    I have my little retirement flower garden which I plan out each year. However, MUCH of my planning does not pan out. I guess it is the nature of gardening. It inspires me that you have some of the same problems. Even after years in the same house you still have failures, so why should I expect all to go as planned?

    I try to keep repeating my garden mantra, which is “THIS YEAR I learned (fill in the blank) and won’t do that again.”

  8. Thank you for sharing the new design and specifics! Wow, you will have great arm strength when this is done ;). I can imagine how this design will look a year from now, once the dust had settled.

  9. Do you have a YouTube channel? If not, I really wish you would consider filming all that you do. We can learn a lot from you. 🙂

    1. I don’t! No time to edit YouTube videos on top of everything, and I don’t know how I would ever keep the children quiet while I film!

  10. Hi Brandy
    So not just an ace photographer but a talented garden designer too! I love that you are not just increasing fruit and veg but flowers too. You are demonstrating the late great Beth Chatto’s advice ‘Right plant, right place’. Better to grow pomegranates that do well rather than struggle on with pears. Thank you for sharing details with us, I am looking forward to following progress and will be cheering you on.

  11. Brandy,
    I have always loved the pictures of your garden. Your plans sound wonderful! I imagine, if you needed another job, you could make garden plans for other people or decorate for other people, doing interior design. You are very good at both. You have the pictures to prove it! Have fun with your garden! We are hoping to get a greenhouse built as soon as we can. It will be very small, but I am excited about it!

    1. My last semester of college I realized I could have majored in landscape design, but I was too close to graduation! I would have loved it! I considered it as a graduate degree but decided that a photography business would work better with my family life.

      I started college with interior design as my major.

  12. I do not garden although my husband has a modest veg garden each year. However I was inspired by your massive garden project to get off my duff today to clean our drawers & a closet. My car in now full with donations. A big box of books & magazines for the local hospital and clothes, shoes for my church’s clothes closet are ready to go. I am looking forward to unloading all the items & decluttering the car! I still work full-time so it is a temptation to put off chores on the weekend. Feels good to get the stuff out the door & to a place where people need it.

  13. Brandy your plans look amazing. Your attention to detail and forethought is very evident. It will be fun to see how things change over the next several months. October has not gone to plan for me. I had two different ER runs with different children, one being acute appendicitis and a needed hospital transfer for pediatric surgery. As a result, I was gone for 4 days and my pears are a bit over ripe. I am now making pear sauce. It is a lot of work but will be well worth the effort once I am finished. I cooked a turkey from the freezer and as a family we have decided to buy hams or chicken on sale in lieu of turkey. We just don’t care for the taste of cooked turkey after it has been refridgerated. It is vital to store what you eat. Every family is unique and we need to tailor our pantries accordingly. We had to replace our front door and an entry door to our garage. The new front door is much more energy efficient. My husband was dismayed at the spike in lumber prices as we continue to work on the chicken coop. We spent double on the framing, but have almost all of the remaining elements to finish it up. It is larger than I had first planned with half being used to store our bikes and lawn equipment. This will free up vital real estate in the garage this winter. On the good days I am hanging out laundry and clearing out the garden. On the rainy days I am working to finish up my fall canning. I love hearing from everyone each week. I look forward to celebrating your efforts and learning new ways to be frugal.

    1. We live in Oregon. We had so many fires this past summer. I’ve heard that lumber prices will be going up around here, and maybe elsewhere, as sawmills burned, too, in at least 2 places I know of, and maybe more. Plus, of course, all the forest that burned. It’s sad, but thank goodness trees grow, just slowly, and the forest will recover.

  14. Brandy your beautiful drawings and descriptions brought back memories of my mother planning out her flower beds, they were quite detailed like yours though not quite as extensive. Her love was roses and she had many different kinds. After her death, once my family listed my parents home, the only exclusions in the listing were many of the rose bushes. I only took one (alas I do not know its name), and it has continued to do very well at a ripe age of 25! I am curious about the cement paths, are pea gravel paths not an option or not preferred? With the style of your garden, they seem to “fit” more than cement.

    1. We’ve discussed it and considered it a lot, actually. Rocks are very common here (literally everyone has a rock yard), but the weeds grow in them horribly and they have to be replaced periodically as they just seem to disappear into the ground with constant walking on them. Plus, small children will throw them throughout the garden. The concrete will be easier for them to ride their tricycles and scooters around the garden. I’m still waiting for the concrete quote, so worst case I will do gravel, but I really don’t want to. I have concrete in the front in the white garden, and I absolutely love it. It makes nice edgings for the beds as well and it will be easy to wheel the trash cans through the garden as I prune the hedges 5 times a year. It will match up to the patio, so it will feel like an extension of the patio. Like the concrete in the white garden (and our patio) this will be stamped and cut on the diagonal to look like slate instead of concrete.

      I like that it’s less of a slipping possibility, too, not just for the children, but for my husband and I as we get older.

  15. Your plans are so wonderful! I love garden plans! I’m hoping to design our back garden over the winter months for spring planting (we recently moved into our home), but it won’t be nearly as ambitious as your plans! So love coming here for inspiration!
    BTW, I included a link to your blog in my weekly newsletter for CaretoKeep.com subscribers this week! (It was a roundup of favorite blogs and Instagram accounts.) I enjoy visiting and thought my readers might, too! Thanks for all your beautiful work!

  16. Wow, Brandy! I had no idea your yard was so big! I mean, you talked about it but my brain always saw it as much smaller. I think i would be so intimidated by the size. I guess it’s like eating that elephant, one bite at a time! You are going to be one busy lady, that is for sure! It’s all going to be spectacular, no doubt! You always do such an amazing job with everything you try! It will be fun to watch as you bring it all to life.

    1. Our lot is a .24 acre lot, so it’s big for here, but not that big at the same time. These little areas are going to be tiny little rooms.

  17. Those plans are beautiful in themselves, and I love all of the detail that you shared. Thank you.

    We spent the day blowing insulation into the attic, my husband did the attic end and I was outside the front door ‘feeding’ the insulation into the machine that blows it through the tube and up into the attic. It was hard work and it took 40 bales of insulation (our house is only 1100 square feet). There was no insulation there at all! Just one more way our fixer upper is better now. I hope that it helps keep the house warmer in winter and cooler in summer. We rented the machine and it took 3 trips to get that much insulation, since we just have cars, no truck or van. But we did it!

    1. That should make a great difference! My husband wants to know if you live in a mild climate if your house had no insulation at all.

      1. We live in California, a bit over an hour north of San Francisco. It gets up to 100 in the summer about 10-15 days per summer. Lots of days in the 90’s. Most summer days we get some cooling breeze from the coast (45 minutes west of us) in the evening. We have mild winters, lows in 40’s and sometimes 30’s. We both grew up in England, so the cold doesn’t bother us at all. The heat makes me feel ill. And we have no A/C. We haven’t turned the heat on yet this fall, most mornings it’s about 62 inside the house. So the insulation will help it be a bit warmer now, and hopefully cooler in the summer.
        We bought this house one year ago this month. It had been a rental for many years and was in bad condition. So little by little we have been fixing it up. This time last year we were basically camping and dealing with huge renovations. The insulation didn’t get to the top of the to-do list until now.

  18. Have you checked with Moon Valley Nursery? They show they have them but they wouldn’t give me sizes or prices in a chat. They have three nurseries in Las Vegas.

    1. Yes. They are $400. They are small. I went there already. Neat place, but most trees there are $4000 each. I’m not exaggerating. I was shocked.

      1. What a shame. I hoped they would have something that would suit. I know trees are expensive, which is why I bought mine on clearance, but $400 for a small one is ridiculous.

  19. A very ambitious plan–but practical as it can be, too. My planning was always fairly haphazard, but you don’t know until you plant, how things will grow where you see them. I love the way you get so much food from the garden without sacrificing making things beautiful as well.

  20. Oh my goodness! I’m exhausted just reading about all the work involved. It’s very impressive, the way you are able to plan and design for maximum benefit in the long term. I can’t wait to see more pictures as time goes on.

  21. Oh Brandy, I sat down exhausted to rest a few minutes and you have inspired me so much. I love your dreams! They are big and will take a lot of work but you will create the garden your heart desires. It will be a showplace and you will get to enjoy it every day. It will be worth the effort.

    This year I have not worked in my flowerbed much at all, with being locked down and no one visiting, all of my time has been spent in the vegetable garden growing as much food as possible. The freezer is full, all my canning jars are full, it is time to do something else. I have stopped dreaming. Today we had company drop by and it felt so good to have someone visit again. I looked anew at my flowerbed and realized the neglect. It is time for me to sit in the front yard and daydream. Thank you for sharing.


  22. Now this is a work of art! Thank you so much for sharing…and I like the idea of rooms & the arbor with grapes. I am excited to see the transformation taking place. Again thanks for sharing-drawing inspiration in how I am slowly turning the yard into a producing flower, vegetable-fruit garden.

  23. Wow, these are amazing plans. I was curious about why you weren’t doing gravel pathways, but you answered that above. Do you order your David Austin roses directly from them, or are you able to get them locally?

    1. I order from them. They have a U.S. website (as well as the U.K., France, and other countries). I have been hoping that we get a 15% off coupon in the catalog like my readers in the U.K. received this year.

  24. I am so excited to see this! The drawings are beautiful, and so are the ideas. I love the idea of the repeated round shapes, and the garden rooms. I know it’s going to be a long process, but I can just picture how much satisfaction you’ll have as each bit comes together.

    I haven’t changed the shape of our garden much since we got here 7 years ago, but I do keep making the flower beds longer and ripping up more sod. My husband also added posts and wires along two fences so we could cordon fruit trees on one and support tall raspberries on the other. It adds a nice height to the garden. I’m going to ask for another set of posts and wires to lift up one straggling but rather tasty green table grape. I’ve got spots by our front door I’ve got my eye on to tear out, but they’re under windows that need an awful lot of work. We don’t know yet exactly how we’re going to alter them (do we add a floor, do we move, do we keep the porch), so I’ll be delaying planting trees and bushes until we get that figured out. However, this gives me inspiration to take the many extra plants that I do have and do something good in the meantime. I do have a packet of rhubarb seeds, and I aim to give away the hostas and plant rhubarb in their place as an edible, large-leaved ornamental. Big dreams include a border of evergreen lingonberries, more blueberries, a nanking cherry, apricots, and some climbing roses.

    I admire the way you dream big, even in this crazy year, and also actually…get started! Thank you for the beauty and the inspiration – and those fun garden drawings!!

  25. Your yard and layout is stunning! I wondered if you knew any sources where I could learn to do a garden layout on paper like that? (Low cost or free would be ideal in my current financial situation.) our city is giving a 3k rebate to tear out the lawn, but I’d need to design the space since, like you, I want to go for more beauty and food than the average yard. Any sources you might be able to share I’d be ever thankful for.


    1. Maria,

      I measured my garden and drew it out by hand in pencil on graph paper. I have an edible landscaping board on Pinterest that has a ton of ideas for formal edible gardens!


      I recommend making your own board and pinning your favorites. Once you see a pattern emerge (i.e. you keep pinning the same shape/details) then you’ll know what direction to take in your garden.

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