Friday, April 10, 2009

Long term planning for a "Paradise corner"

I started daydreaming a couple of weeks ago about some things we could do to further spruce up our backyard and make it more inviting.  As it is, my wife spends almost every lunch break lounging on our hammock in the backyard, enjoying the breeze, the sun, the birds, the squirrels and the plant life.

You can see pictures of our corner garden on this post.

I came up with some ambitious plans for the future of our backyard.  There are several improvements we are planning on making in the short term (over the next 5 years), but this vision for our backyard is more along the 10 year time frame.  It might happen sooner, but it will most likely be a slow progression.
A sketch of my plans for a "paradise corner"
My sketch is a simplistic view of what I want the corner to look like.  The elements in the sketch would provide a nice place to sit and relax, but the elements that are missing from the sketch are those that will truly make it a paradise.  There will be lots of plant life surrounding all of these features.

To see what the corner garden looks like now, with the new fence erected, check out the fourth picture in this post.

The Pond

I have the sketch labeled "small pond," but that's not very descriptive.  I think it will be about 8-10 feet in length and about 4 feet in width at the narrowest and about 6 feet at the wider bulge.  I will probably create the usual shelf so that the center of the pond is about 2-3 feet deep, while the outer ring is only about 1-1.5 feet deep.  There will probably be some aquatic plants, including: Cannas, black-stemmed Alocasia, Lotus (water lilies) and grasses.  I'm not sure yet whether we will have any fish, but I imagine we probably will.

In the middle of the pond will be a small fountain to keep the water circulating (cutting down on mosquitos) and to generate some nice splashing water sounds.

After I told my wife about my plan, she had something to add to my vision.  She suggested that we have a small bridge that steps over the pond, linking the gazebo to the corner garden.  We'll have to keep our eyes peeled for a small, sloped bridge (without railings).  I think it would look a little silly with railings, due to the scale of the pond.

The Half-Gazebo

I don't think I have ever seen a half-gazebo before, so I'm not sure where I got the idea.  I was just thinking how neat it would be to have a small gazebo in that part of our yard with our hammock inside of it.  Since the gazebo will be against the fence, it makes sense for it to be cut in half.  Also, we won't want it to cut very far into the yard.

The gazebo will be a wonderful place for us to sit and relax, looking at the flowers in our corner garden, listening to the gurgling water of our pond fountain and watching the birds and squirrels.  We will probably want to run electricity to the gazebo and put in an outlet so that we can plug in radios, or other things like that.  Also, we will need electricity for the pond fountain.

I would like to plant around the gazebo so that the structure blends into the environment.  I plan on planting a Passion Flower along the front side that will climb up the railings and posts of the gazebo.

The Corner Garden

I wrote a post earlier this week about expanding our "corner garden" along the right side.  This will help our paradise corner from being too heavy along the left fence line.

Bird's eye view of the planned "paradise corner"
Rock Walk

The ground area joining the corner garden to the pond to the gazebo will be covered in flat stones.  Since the area is narrow, well-shaded and will probably be perpetually moist, it will be easier to maintain and more ascetically pleasing if this area is rock, rather than grass.  I will try to get some moss growing between and on top of the stones.  Hopefully we can find some rock locally that matches the rock used in the pond.

The Flowering Fence Line

Currently there are small flowering bushes planted all along the fence line where I am planning to build the half-gazebo.  In the first sketch in this post, I condensed the width of fence line that lies between the corner garden and the large quince bush.  There are about 5 or 6 small quince bushes along this fence that are offsets from the large quince.  Also there is an almond bush and a spirea.  If we decide to build the gazebo flush with the fence, we will relocate the flowering bushes to wrap around the gazebo.  Otherwise, we can build the gazebo about 4 feet into our yard and leave the bushes in place.  It all depends on how much yard we are willing to sacrifice.


  1. Looks good to me, should be really lovely.

  2. I like how you incorporate the patio and pond together. It will make maintenance so much easier. That half gazebo will be fun too.

  3. I'm so exctied about this! I feel like we should start working on it tomorrow! It's already a nice corner- I can't wait until it's a PARADISE corner! Thanks for making so many wonderful plans to make our garden and living areas as visually pleasing and comfortable as possible! You're awesome!

  4. It sounds and looks like it will be great. Having a pond is so much fun, you will love having one. Ours is very low maintenence, although it's due for a cleaning this spring. There are lots of great places on the internet to get good advice. Garden web forums have water garden forums and lots of great information is there.
    Have fun, and can't wait to see how it looks!