We are still in the process of our backyard deck transformation- going from a huge, unusable, rotting deck to multiple outdoor rooms connected by gravel paths. Yes, we started five months ago, but it’s one of those DIY projects that we have to take in steps for various reasons- financial, time, and weather.
But we are close to finishing (whew), and one of the areas that makes me the happiest is the new herb garden right off the back doors.
Remember back in April, after we removed the deck and framed in the new back porch, we had this area between it and the mudroom door porch for the planned herb garden:
It’s not big, but it is what we had to work with between the two back doors. And it’s enough for my purposes- being able to quickly run out the back door to clip rosemary, thyme, or chives for a meal (I did have some herbs in pots, but I find them a lot more work than if they are in the ground and some things just didn’t grow for me very well in pots, like rosemary).
Even though it’s small (7′ x 11′), we still needed a way to walk through it to easily reach the herbs for harvesting. There had been a small section of brick under the hose area that we had removed when we built the mudroom porch, so we decided to make a brick path through the herbs.
This ground had spent 30 years under a deck, so it needed soil amending as well, all of which takes time. But Brian decided to finish the path for my birthday in late May and help get the soil ready (isn’t that sweet?), so I could plant in June.
And now this is what I see out our back doors:
Isn’t the path lovely? We did have to buy a handful of bricks to complete it, but everything else we had on hand. Most of the herbs I transplanted from the pots they had been in for years on our deck. I added a few annual herbs I grow every year- basil and parsley- and a couple $2 herbs I wanted to add like lemon thyme and savory.
I had to plan for the hose area when I designed the garden, so the bricks at the foot of the new step from the mudroom porch create an area for the hose to be pulled out and the 4″ x 4″ post at the corner acts as a hose guide to keep the hose from crushing the herbs. We added another post on the other side for symmetry and I’ve temporarily topped them with some solar lights we had. They will eventually have wooden finials on them.
And I have to point out the hose box Brian made (it’s in the upper right corner). It’s WONDERFUL! So easy to use- no reeling a hose back (which hardly ever happened, so there were hoses everywhere), and they are simple to put back into this size box. To keep it in one place, it is screwed to the side of the porch.
We had looked at buying one of those pots that hold hoses- but they were so expensive and usually only fit a 50′ hose. We can fit our 75′ hose and our 50′ spiral hose all in this box. But the best part? We didn’t spend a dime on it- it’s made simply from wood we had laying about!
We did find, however, that our dog loved the new soil we added. Between his digging and running through on his way to the back door, the herbs didn’t stand a chance. So I placed a pair of urns (planted with mint) at the path opening and made a simple bamboo fence out of pieces we had from our clumping bamboo plant. And believe it or not, now he stays on the path.
Again, the cost was nothing. You know how I love that.
On each corner I planted some evergreen plants for definition. The outside corners have a couple of dwarf boxwood I transplanted from the urns and the inside corners have French lavender that I purchased for $2 each.
And I’m happy to be able to use my herb markers that I used in our herb garden at our old house. They have been patiently waiting for 6-1/2 years in the garden shed.
Yes, it really is the little things, folks- why do plant markers make me smile?
There’s still a couple things I’d like to do:
- I do still need to use pots along the back- it’s under the eaves and we don’t want to plant to close to the foundation. Plus, we have a drain that the pot in the center (planted with Lemon Verbena, a tender perennial) covers, so I’d like to find two large matching pots for the corners, one to replace the large wooden half barrel.
- The space under the window seems empty to me. I’m thinking of a trellis, mirror, or fountain/plaque to fill the space. Any ideas?
- Permanent finials for the end posts.
- Add a few more herbs: tarragon for sure- what are your favorite herbs to use that I should add?
In the meantime, I’m simply enjoying my new space!
And we are working on the gazebo/pergola area next, so hopefully the whole backyard reveal won’t be too far off (Don’t want to miss it? Subscribe to get An Oregon Cottage delivered!).