Thursday, September 26, 2013

On The Side: Side Yard Landscapes from NOLA

A manicured side yard walkway leads visitors to the porch.

This apartment building walkway has been turned into a lovely shared garden.

I really have a ridiculous amount of work to do in the yard and house right now, as well as in my office. The house is trashed, the yard's a mess, the laundry hampers are overflowing, my office is piled with half-finished projects. So, I'm working hard on all these things, right? Wrong! I dressed in workout clothes today, trying to motivate myself to get some exercise in while my little one was at school, but all I managed was a walk down to the lake. Then I sat on our dock for a long while enjoying the clear water and cool breeze. Other than that, I did get out to the garden for some weeding and cabbage worm pest patrol and that's pretty much it. I could go lift some weights or clean a bathroom or two, or mop the floors, but I decided my blog needs me far more!

The formality of this yard is accentuated by the Harlequin paver pattern of this side patio.

I am just tired beyond belief. Last night we took the kids to our little town carnival and we all got to bed late. My stomach is really protesting the pizza and funnel cake I ate there, too. Once you're out of the practice of eating processed food your body rebels when you re-introduce it. With good reason, too, once you understand what that stuff is doing to you! Every so often it's a good idea to remind yourself how bad that kind of food makes you feel so you're less tempted to relapse. I did read some great articles on nutrition and the endocrine system this morning. Here's the link: http://wellnessmama.com/5425/balance-hormones/. Follow this post to the Leptin post and watch the video at the end. It's great stuff! You can also find more like this in my Health folder on Pinterest.

Plants, pretty chairs, and garden art turn this side entrance into a relaxing retreat.

I shipped some things and worked on the financials for my store, as well, so I guess it wasn't a totally wasted morning. Tonight I have to cook, drive the band carpool, and I'm supposed to be at two parent meetings at two different schools, but at the same time! I tried to get Jerry to go to one for me but couldn't talk him into it. I'm tempted to skip both. I've already signed up as a volunteer for both events the meetings concern, so why do we need to meet again? I am so tired of these endless and so often superfluous meetings. Maybe I will take a nap instead!

Tropical plants become part of the structure of this courtyard, forming a side wall.

But enough of all that. This is turning into one of my "Seinfeld" posts, as Jerry calls them: all about nothing! As you know if you're a regular reader, we just returned from New Orleans and I collected many ideas for landscaping there. I was especially impressed with the NOLA gardeners' use of all their landscaping space. Every single bit of most yards is landscaped there, and it's wonderful to see the lovely spaces claimed from a scrap of side yard, utilitarian walkway, even garage rooftops! I already showed you some lovely hidden courtyards and gardens. Most of today's spaces are also tucked away. I had to snoop a little aggressively to photograph some of these. Jerry had to wander off and pretend he didn't know me!

A simple bench and some shrubbery under a live oak creates a side garden room.

Most of these were taken during our accidental Garden District Boot Camp walk. We bought a street car day pass, thinking we would ride the car to the Garden District, look around a bit, and get back on the car to go to The Camellia Grill, a restaurant my sister recommended. Well, after an hour or so of walking in the Garden District we realized we hadn't seen a street car for a while. Turns out, the tracks are being renovated and the cars aren't running their full route. No one bothers to mention this to tourists, however! We had a map in a guide book that made it seem as though the restaurant was only a few blocks away. We didn't realize the map only showed major roads, not the small ones. So, we kept thinking we were almost there. Jerry developed an obsession after a while and decided we were going to eat at The Camellia Grill if it killed us. It took five hours to walk there, eat, and walk back! The food was very good, but I recommend taking the bus!

Placement of the rounded loggia under the live oaks makes this porch even more private.

While we walked endlessly through the soupy heat I amused myself by taking idea photos I might be able to use in our yard. Right now we have lovely mature shrubs that were planted too close together, so they are on top of each other. In the back we've cut down a seemingly infinite number of small trees and they are piled all over the place waiting for Jerry to rent a chipper/shredder so we can mulch them. Our side yard is a hill topped with red mud that drops off in a sort of little cliff into the neighbor's driveway. We have a patio I've been transforming into a courtyard on the other side. Somehow, while we were away our son managed to water the herb tower in the center of the courtyard, while failing to notice the bone-dry potted citrus trees next to it, or the fence boxes behind it. So, my beloved lemon tree and fence boxes are half dead now. It's safe to say, the yard needs help!

An enormous vine over this driveway gate creates an oasis in a concrete jungle.

As you can see from these photos, New Orleans has a talent for using spaces usually unclaimed. Almost all the gardens I'm sharing are in side yards or back yards. I love the creative use of plants as hardscaping you see in so many different gardens. Tall trees and shrubs, even flowers, form walls, screens, pathways, and bowers. One yard features an evergreen vine used almost like black eyeliner to pick out interesting architectural details, like rounded steps. The same vine is formed into an arbor over the side yard gate. I have some privets in the back which I think are tall enough to prune into an arch over the path to the vegetable garden. Sometime tomorrow I'm going to try to get out there and see if I can do it.

Evergreen vines form a side gate arbor and highlight curved stairs.

I hope you enjoy these NOLA inspirations as much as I do! I still have hundreds more photos of exterior home décor ideas and garden art to share.

This statue tucked in a corner of Jackson Square Park transforms the
maintenance shed behind it into a focal point.
A very simple garden: just one lovely container on a pedestal between two driveways.
More plants as structure: living walls direct visitors to this side-entrance apartment.
 

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