When we bought our house over 4 years ago we bought it mainly for the lot. In Southern California land is at a premium and backyards tend to be pretty small, so as soon as we saw our home we knew it was something special. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we have a TON of land, haha, but I’ll take what I can get in our little suburbia.
We spent the first few years focusing on the inside of our home, but it’s finally time to give a little love to the outside. Honestly one of the reasons we didn’t start earlier is I didn’t have a solid vision for the space. But you know what? NOW I DO! I’ve been following Velvet and Linen on Instagram and have owned their books (Patina Farm and Patina Living) for a while now. While I have always loved their style, it wasn’t until recently that it all came together in my mind of how I can achieve a similar look in my own yard.
I adore the balance that mixing structural plants with more free flowing ones creates. I’ve also always been in love with the look of gravel, it creates such a beautiful and neutral base. Plus there is just something about that gentle crunching sound on your feet that is so satisfying and calming.
I’m planning on using many of the same plants that can be found on Patina Farm. These include….
Little Ollies – These are olive bushes that can be shaped in a pretty round topiary style ball. I love how they add structure and a base to the garden.
Iceburg Roses – This type of white rose is super hardy and basically grow like weeds in Southern California. You kinda can’t mess them up! We have a bunch already in our front yard and I haven’t correctly taken care of them for years. I’m just learning now how they should be pruned, fertilized and treated for bugs but even despite my lack of knowledge they’ve always had gorgeous blooms!
David Austin Roses – Oh how I love these roses!! Known for their english cottage roses (that have a full look similar to a peony), these roses are just gorgeous!! They also have specific varieties that are known for their beautiful scent. We recently planted The Shepherdess, The Alnwick, Desdemona and a climbing variety called The Generous Gardener. During this time of year they arrive as bare root plants, so they aren’t much to look at yet but I’m really hoping for some gorgeous blooms come summer time. I’ll keep you posted!
Lambs Ear – This softly textured light green plant brings a beautiful dimension to a garden.
Catmint – A pretty ground cover that blooms little purple flowers.
Our yard is in desperate need of some height. Unfortunately we have no large trees growing on our property. Luckily we do back up to a hill, so that provides a lot of height and visual interest, but we also really want to plant some trees. With the exception of one, they will all be fruit bearing. Here are the ones we are considering as of now…
Italian Cypress – These quick growing, tall and thin trees will add that much needed height! Our backyard comes to a point in the back where we’d love to plant two together at varying heights. And then we’d like to plant one more in our front yard to define the space and provide ‘book ends’ for our home.
Lime Tree – We already have a lemon tree planted, so up next we need lime! Fresh margs and guac anyone?
Fig Tree – I love the big leaves on a fig tree and because it’s so pretty I’d love to plant it right outside our dining room window. And we love figs!!
Espalier Fuji Apple – An espalier tree is a tree that is pruned and trained to grow flat against a wall. I saw an espalier fuji apple at a local nursery and I have to have it!
Patina Farm really is a working farm too….with a large potager garden, fruit trees, chickens, goats, donkeys and more! I would love to have chickens someday, but for now my homeowners associate and husband aren’t on board. So I’ll just have to be happy with our sweet dog Tucker. I do however have plans for a potager garden on our side yard with raised vegetable beds. We recently ripped out the existing grass and bushes and it’s a fresh (albeit muddy) clean slate. And as I mentioned above we’re hoping to add in fruit trees as well!
Most importantly we want to make the most of the land that we do have…and create it so that we enjoy spending time in our garden. And although I know we have a lot of work ahead of us (especially since we will be doing it mostly ourselves on the weekends), it feels good to have a plan and a vision for our space. And isn’t a garden all about teaching patience?