Have you ever wished for a small garden structure that does double-duty as a grill porch, reading nook, and edible container area? Do you need a place that’s easily accessible, but out of the main traffic? Or, do you have an unattractive catch-all space you’d like to spruce up? If so, this may be the DIY project for you.
We’re transforming the unused space behind our garage into a fun little space-saving patio surrounded by a fragrant herb garden. It’s out of the wind and makes a perfect place for grilling. It’s large enough for a reading bench, and sunny enough for a pollinator-friendly, fragrant herb garden as well as a few of my not-so-pretty-edible-containers. We’re not finished yet, but I wanted to get your dream wheels spinning for next year’s growing season. This isn’t a step-by-step tutorial. It’s more like an idea generator… A little something to spark your own creativity. (Who knows, instead of buying a second blender while holiday shopping, you may find a great deal on something you could use for your own garden structure.) Below you’ll find a photo journal that shows our progress along with a few helpful tips.
Create A Space-Saving Patio & Fragrant Garden
A bit about the project:
- Creating borders – I’ve always loved the lived-in garden look so I hand draw my garden bed lines and curves. I think it gives the gardens a softer, more approachable look. If you prefer a more clean-edged, evenly balanced curve, there are edge-marking/guide products you can purchase at your local hardware and garden supply stores.
- Sod removal – We rented a sod-cutter for this portion of the project. Truthfully, they’re beast of machines and this is our least favorite part of garden projects. It’s hard work and takes time, but for some crazy reason it’s still our method of choice. I think we just like to get this part done and out of the way. Once removed, we neatly roll up the used sod and place “Free Sod” ads on websites like Craig’s List. Within a few hours of placing the ad, we’ve always had grateful DIY’ers stop by and take the sod. I should warn you, People get very excited about free sod! 🙂 But if that method isn’t appealing, you can also place black plastic or cardboard on the grass. It will die back over the winter and will be easier to remove this coming spring.
- Patio materials – Locating the materials is always a fun part of DIY projects. There’s something magical about scouting sources looking for that perfect something that suits your fancy. We discovered the walkway and patio stones at a local landscape supplier. They’re a glorious barn-wall stone that were too dark for their original purpose, but perfect for ours! We scavenged them at a significant discount, too, making the find even more fun! Really, what DIYer doesn’t enjoy poking around supplier leftovers and getting a deal? It’s in our DNA, right?
- The Pergola – I knew I wanted a structure over the patio, but I honestly thought the whole project was going to washout at this stage. It took us months to decide what type of structure we could create that would fit our budget, skills, and needs. We finally decided on a traditional-style, cedar pergola. I’m beyond happy with the results and think my husband did an awesome job! It provides shade from the late afternoon sun and is sturdy enough to support climbing vines. I haven’t decided what to grow….. possibly ornamental hops, wisteria if I’m daring (I’m not), or maybe some wild grapes? If I strategically hammer a few small nails up each pole, I could grow cardinal climber or several different clematis…. Who knows? It’ll be a fun winter project to think about. I’m also planning what will grow in my upside-down pots that I’ll hang from two of the corners. Maybe some fern lavender or mini-bells? On the more functional side, we did add a cost-effective string of lights and made our little space usable 24/7.
- The Gardens – Fragrant herbs are a natural fit to my lived-in garden style. I love them and so do the bees and butterflies. By placing a shallow dish on a pedestal, I created a simple pollinator watering station that was very popular this summer. The lavender, roses, anise hyssop, and Stachy’s I planted were bee magnets, too. Next year I’ll add ornamental oregano, sage, and hummingbird-loving heuchera to fill in the large spaces in the front of the border. The bushes along the side are cotoneasters. They’re okay, but I may replace them with the blueberries that are now in containers. It seems like a better fit to me. I’m enjoying how this garden, but there’s still lots of dreaming left do…
It’s exciting to watch this project come together. Next year I’ll add some different edible containers and patio furniture. What are you dreaming about for next season? We’ll be sharing more garden dreaming ideas in a our monthly newsletter. Now’s a great time to sign-up because I’m creating some special holiday goodies for all our subscribers.
Sending heartfelt gratitude your way now and always,
More Than Oregano
Living Big Garden Dreams In Small Garden Spaces
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