Friday, March 20, 2009

Everybody loves a before and after story, right? Our Backyard Patio Project.

That's a little teaser "after" photo on the left, other photos are at the end of the post, in chronological order. We bought our house in June of 2005; the back of the property was enclosed by a lush green wall of laurel. The dead grass, dandelions and roses had to go, but we loved the wall of green and it figured large in our future plans.

Unfortunately that first fall our neighbor cut down a great deal of the laurel and built a rather uninspired fence. We thought the laurel was on our side of the property line, but we were wrong. Lesson 1: never assume that a chicken-wire fence marks your property line. Come spring, to block the new view, we purchased three large “architectural planters” and filled them with bamboo. Ok - some of you know these as stock tanks, some city folk refer to them as “architectural planters”, that way they can charge twice as much for them. We bought ours at the Burns Feed Store, (nice people and if you are there at the right time of year you can see baby bunnies, pigs or chicks). Thank goodness the bamboo grew fast, hid the fence and the neighbor.

We had to make-do with this bamboo screen for the summer of ‘06 while we concentrated on the front yard (yep – that’s another post). Late summer ‘07 we returned to project mode in the backyard: we tore up the grass and dandelions ourselves, hired someone to replace the crumbling concrete wall, and extended it to an “L” shape to enclose a “sunken” patio. The patio is made up of 24” sq slabs which we installed ourselves over several weekends. Thanks to my husband Andrew’s ingenuity, hard work and strong back it looks every bit like a professional job. We finished on Thanksgiving weekend, the same time the rains returned to Portland and we retreated inside to hibernate for the winter.

After several plant shopping and planting adventures the spring of ‘08 the patio project was finally complete. And just in time as that summer we logged a record number of visitors and Chez Bohl was booked every weekend from the end of June though mid-August. We were able to spend the summer relaxing with family and friends and enjoying our new patio.

Next project, started the fall of ’08 and still in progress, our “shade shack” (thanks Dad for the catchy name) to the south of the patio. More on that in future posts!


  1. WOW what awesome photos! I've seen the "afters" before, but have even more awe for them having now seen the "befores"!

  2. Congrats on your blog!!! Love it. Can't wait to see the after, after shots when the shade shack goes in!

  3. You use stock tanks too! I love your garden already. Great patio design, especially with that wall and the sunken garden thing going.

  4. Thanks design kamper - I didn't realize you hadn't seen the "befores"

    Michelle - thanks for the kind words, I hope to see your "new" garden this summer

    Pam - I thought the same thing the first time I saw your stock tanks, and I love your photography! thanks for adding me to your "other gardens" list


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