“Make the front garden pretty, clean, easy to maintain, and minimal because we only use the back garden. Put the money in the back gardens. ” Realistically, a landscape budget is divided 35% in the front and 65% in the back. Many times clients want only 10% in the front.
I cringe when I hear this because the landscape should be looked at holistically and in a way to enhance the architecture and living space. Often, it can be 15% of the cost of the home, so that adds up to quite a bit of design. But the return on a good landscape design is almost 30%.
What About Long Ago?
Originally, the backyard was a place of work – a place of practicality. Those in rural areas used their backyards to support living, lest we forget the outhouse and root cellar.
The consumer culture of the fifties and sixties prioritized the backyard for relaxation and leisure instead of what had once been a place to grow food and support the household.
Jump decades ahead, and we now have outdoor rooms where we make the link between inside and outside, having the connection between private and semi-public space begin to blur. Outdoor kitchens are an example. Gardens with open outdoor showers are examples of privacy blurred too.
Coming full circle, people began using their back garden space for growing fresh vegetables and herbs once again, even raising chickens and bees. Gardeners started to think more sustainably by purchasing directly from local farms or growing their own, rather than getting food that was trucked to supermarkets from distant places.
Vegetables became trendy and started popping up between the perennials. I did that for a few years and neighbors never noticed the tomatoes and peppers in the front garden or the lettuce edging. Being in the business, I am usually ahead of trends.
Experimenting with plants and plant design has always been one of my interests. Weeding and maintaining, not so much.
Always being busy in my job, I never had time to enjoy my gardens. I always say that will change, but it never does. Too many other interests consume my free time. But… I do love to see the garden doing well and wildlife partaking in all that is offered.
The pale violet iris in the center bed is almost done, but a flurry of Asiatic Lilies follow right behind. More iris on the way too. Depending on the year, the iris or Allium can bloom with the lilies. Behind lilies, gladioli are forming. What is nice about this bed besides it always has a new display on deck, the iris and glad leaves support the lilies. The boxwood keeps the roots shaded, moist and the tightly growing blooms contained. All the plants in this 7a micro-climate bed return and multiply each year too.
Take the tour through the galleries, clicking to see my back gardens. The cottage plants are on the west and near the house is the old-fashioned cut flower bed filled with self sowing biennials and annuals. There are a few spaces I forgot to photograph like my fern shade garden by the fountain with mini and mouse-ear hosta.
Look at yesterday’s post on the front garden and see if you think the landscape is set up in a typical budget for the front and the back. The backyard is a summer staging ground for the life it entertains.
A post is coming up on my containers that were started in April using perennials and bulbs mixed with annuals. You can see them in this image above and a few are at the front entry. When they mature and tower, they will be quite beautiful I hope. All are great for pollinators too.