Monday, May 11, 2009

Future home of the Shade Shack

After being asked to count the number of stock tanks in the danger garden (yikes!…nine!) I realized that my camera has always avoided the area south of the patio, the future home of the shade shack, where the two round tanks are.

The Gunnera, which has suffered through two summers in a too-small container, now finally has room to grow crazy in the smaller tank. My hope is that if I can keep the soil sufficiently moist in the tank he’ll think he’s pond side somewhere. The larger tank has a couple of Tetrapanax papyrifer, a Datura, and 2 different varieties of Echium and lambs ear as a textural ground cover. The glossy green leaves hanging over the fence are Laurel.

Below is the reason why I avoided this area. You know how when you have a big project going there is that one area that is just ignored? Where all the trash and ‘extra stuff’ goes? Well that is what this area was for us during the patio project. We had to excavate about 7” of earth for the patio and it all ended up here. It’s the big pile on the left. The pile on the right was left over from our front yard project the year before. We’ve moved a lot of soil around on our little lot!

After much labor (and beer) the pile was moved from the back to the front to fill this 10 yd drop box (plus a couple of truck loads) and be hauled away (about this same time last year...judging by the Euphorbia). Yea! No more big eye-sore in the back yard!

We originally planned to just put gravel down in this area but had a few slabs left over from the patio and path so we decided to use them. I love the random checker board look we ended up with! Ignore the two ugly fences, I try to. They are the neighbors. As a friend pointed out, at least they are plain. They could have lattice or something hideous on them. I HATE lattice.

You can see the bolts in the cement footings where the shade shack will be going up. We’ve got the wood all cut, drilled, a coat of primer on and have even done a “mock build” at the Schoolhouse Electric factory that Andrew runs (our out-of-the-weather place to work on it during the winter months).

The shade shack project has gone on hold while Andrew finishes his artwork for the June show but after that, we’re back on it, I can’t wait! And guess what…it’s going to be orange! With a corrugated metal roof, fun!


  1. I'm so thrilled that your shade shack will be's the best color! Can't wait to see it someday soon!

  2. If your existing garden hardscape designs are any indication, this will be another terrific addition. Looking forward to seeing it!

    By any chance is your tetrapanax 'steroidal giant'? That's one amazing plant!

  3. Ìs it euphorbia on the picture #5? Gorgeous!

  4. will, I promise!

    Jane, thank you for the vote of confidence! I'm going to have to check the tag on the Tetrapanax...I don't think it is. But (hopefully) I could be wrong.

    Tatyana, it is Euphorbia, they are so amazing right now with their big happy green heads. Do you have any?

  5. Oh, I am so jealous of people with building-inclined families! And also of people with vision to spare, like you. I love those round stock tanks, so so awesome! If they work for gunnera, I want to know about it for sure!!!

  6. I like that lime green Euphorbia too.

    I really admire your enthusiasm in upkeeping your garden. Those slabs and stones look neat with the galvanised planters. You have good taste too!

  7. Karen, do we really qualify as building inclined when it's taken us sooooo long to get this far? I think we ordered the lumber for the shade shack last August. I think most folks would have had it up last fall. Still, I appreciate the comment. We will eventually get it done.

    I'll definitely keep you updated on the gunnera. He looks pretty happy so far. The stock tanks come with plugs. I've taken all the others out. His is staying in! enthusiasm certainly lags at time. But really it is my favorite thing to do. Thanks for the compliment!

  8. You do qualify as building inclined. Most people (well, me) talk about building something for years but never do it. My father in law is going to show me how he builds all these decks and sheds and stuff in his yard, so I might pick up some construction skills of my own.
    My neighbors wanted to split the cost of a fence between our properties to replace the chain link. I was all for replacing the chain link, but I had to put my foot down at the diagonal LATTICE fence top. I would die. Thank god they agreed to a plain design. I still think the fence is ugly, but I can live with it if I can grow vines to cover it, but they don't like that.

  9. Denise SchreiberMay 12, 2009

    I spy a green Crate & Barrel pot!

  10. Megan I felt for you when I read on your blog about your neighbors objecting to the vine. Don't they know how beautiful it could be!? I want to get my passion flower vine growing on the fence behind where the shade shack will be...but I don't think it will be particularly welcome on the other side. Silly neighbors!

  11. You are correct DS...and I've got another just waiting for the right plant to make it happy!

  12. I told Megan that there is an akebia about to make a break for our side of the fence. I'm okay with it as long as it doesn't take over my universe too much. They already send a lot of weed seeds our way (they whack instead of pull, so everything just floats on over), so I'm a little nervous. Ivy comes in on the other side, but I try to keep on top of it. You could say I'm vine-challenged, I guess! Passionflowers are amazing but so incredibly vigorous... maybe you could offer to trim it back when it gets too scary?

  13. Karen wouldn't it be great if we got to pick our neighbors based on gardening styles? I am constantly criticizing my neighbors choices. Which amuses my husband to no end.

  14. Loree I can't WAIT to see the Shade Shack!

    I love the foundation! You have such a fantastic eye and design sense - I am sooo in love with your garden!

    As for our neighbors/gardening styles. Sigh. When my neighbor planted a white birch 2 ft away from my garden, I cried. When I see it rising above my Beschornias, agaves, and my silver banksia, I still cry!

  15. That is a HUGE compliment coming from such an accomplished and fabulous garden designer as you Germi! Thank you!

    Does the birch shade your garden? Ouch!


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