As the weather warms up, most of us are spending more time outdoors. One of the things we loved about our house when we moved in a year ago was its large lot -- .60 acre. If there'd been much landscaping before, most of it had been removed before we bought the house. We were glad about that, because the only thing worse than putting in new landscaping is having to rip out the old stuff.
In our former home, we felt pretty confident about what plants would work well in that climate, and which ones absolutely would not thrive. Once we got to the Hill Country, we were excited to have more options. What we didn't realize was that the soil varies in different parts of the Hill Country. You can see gorgeous crape myrtles and other flowering plants and bushes in the cities of San Antonio and Austin. But once you get in the more rural areas, the landscape, though pretty, is a bit "scrubbier." Combine the scrub of our area with the extreme drought over the last year, and only those native plants and grasses are surviving right now.
We attempted to plant a few evergreens as foundation plantings last year, but once the drought hit, and water usage was restricted, most of those bushes didn't make it. We are realizing that xeriscaping is the way to go. Xeriscaping is landscaping with plants and grasses that do not require supplemental irrigation. Unfortunately, even xeriscaping requires a bit of water to get the tender vegetation going, and we're not allowed to do any outdoor watering with anything resembling a hose or faucet.
Until the water restrictions are lifted a bit, we're looking at putting in a bit of hardscaping. Hardscaping is masonry work, woodwork and other nonplant elements in a landscape.
You've seen photos of our media room, which started as an attached garage. When that garage was converted to a room, the previous owners built a detached garage with a limestone facade to match the house. The structure is about 10-15 feet from the side/back of the house. Possibly at that same time as well, the former patio was converted into a sun porch.
Now, we use the sun porch, but there are times when we'd like to hang out outside. What we'd like to do is create a walkway and stone patio, taking advantage of the back wall of the garage.
(Pics were taken before we moved in).
We'd like to create a separate patio space with a flagstone floor. Eventually, we'll build a pergola structure to cover the patio, but there's no rush to do that. You see the tree and its limestone planter. The tree will stay, and we're thinking it may have been planted in the planter as opposed to the planter being built around the tree, so while the planter will go, we may have to keep a smaller planter.
The stone floor will go from each corner of the garage and extend to the tree. You can't tell from the pics, but there's a slope between the house and the garage, so we'll create stone steps and a walkway for a seamless transition.
Eventually, we'd like to build an outdoor fireplace, but if we get impatient, we'll go with a stone firepit.
How are you spending your time outdoors this year?