All landscapes come with unique challenges. Pam Penick took her landscape’s challenge – a very steep slope in the backyard – and not only found a solution, she created a beautiful garden oasis. Do you want to see how she did it? Take a walk through her landscape with me.
The front yard was planted with grasses and sedges in a palette of gray- and blue-green. Garden art hinted at the color to come.
Native plants and plants that have adapted to the hot, dry conditions that Austin delivers much of the year were also chosen because of their deer resistance.
Containers in the courtyard were planted with cacti and succulents, saving water and time spent with hose in hand. The minimal planting of the courtyard accented the clean lines of Pam’s contemporary ranch-style home beautifully.
A dry creek bed was positioned in front of the house to carry water from Austin’s seasonal downpours away from the house and toward the backyard.
When I arrived at the gate, I got a glimpse of Pam’s magnificent garden.
Wow! Much of Pam’s garden was revealed, and it was spectacular. The steep slope had been tamed by dividing it into levels. A gravel walkway descended gently along the edge, inviting further exploration.
Instead of starting down the path, I paused at this seating area, decorated in shades of blue, overlooking the pool and…
…marveled at the fun sign hanging on a wall of brilliant blue. Now that’s showing off your civic pride!
A collection of wall art and small pots was artfully displayed.
I loved the simplicity and effectiveness of this concrete block wall that created a barrier between the walkway and the seating area. Succulents filled planting pockets and softened the edges. I have at least two spots in my own garden where concrete block walls would be perfect.
The next level down from the seating area gave Pam a place to plant.
Another level offered a view across the yard. I could have cut across to get a better look at the water feature and garden shed, but I decided to continue along the path instead.
This orange planter was a perfectly placed shot of color near the bottom of the landscape.
Pam skillfully added garden art to pull folks through her garden. How could anyone resist checking out all those blue bottles?
As I headed back up the other side of Pam’s yard, a seating area by the pool looked like the perfect place to relax.
A stock tank was used to create a charming water feature. As it turned out, the garden shed wasn’t a garden shed at all, but a clever cover for the pool pump. Like everything in Pam’s garden, it was skillfully constructed with attention to every detail.
I climbed the stairs to a small deck that overlooked the garden.
And what a view it was! This was my favorite spot in Pam’s yard. Many of the landscape elements could be seen – the faux garden shed, the sunburst patio around the water feature, the seating areas, the pool, and the beds and borders. I admired the framework that kept her garden beautiful year round.
I could have admired that view for hours, but there was a bit more garden to see. I thought this was an attractive way to dress up the bare wall that was the back of the garage. The mirrors made the area look larger and they don’t need pruning or watering.
In a shady spot, another seating area provided a respite from Austin’s heat.
In addition to proving a steep slope can be turned into an awesome landscape, Pam’s garden was chockfull of great ideas, many of which may just find their way into my own garden. Garden with me!
About Pam Penick: Pam was one of the coordinators of the Garden Bloggers Fling in Austin. She is also the author of two books – Lawn Gone! and The Water-Saving Garden and writes for several garden magazines. Read her blog, Digging, here.