From Wasteland to Oasis: Making the Most of Our Small Yard

by on July 12, 2010 » Add more comments.

We have one of the smallest and most awkwardly-shaped lots in South Main. Shaped sort of like a badly cut piece of pie, it seemed our yard was doomed to not be much- besides our wonderful vegetable garden. There is a narrow, sunny space along the south side, protected from the win- the best thing I could think of for two years was to maybe put a table there. We never used it. Flat and boring. But I was OK with it. Step outside and I have the Boulder Garden right out my door, the river trails.

But I have a son now. It sure would be nice if he had something to do in the yard besides eat every strawberry I pick. So we built a sand box. We never used the space anyways- why not? The sand box started an inquiry that has ended with, in my mind, a surprising realization of just what can be done with a small yard. After advice from two good landscaper friends, we started with a small excavator and dug out what everyone thought was going to be a swimming pool. Or maybe a wading pool. But instead, it’s our 84 square feet of grass, already heavily used by our son, Heron, and his little buddies. Not to mention our dog, Hurley, who thankfully has the sense not to use it for a bathroom. We built a retaining wall and are gradually sticking little plants in the nooks and crannies, starting with a super yummy creeping thyme. We bought a big Autumn Purple Ash tree (which we haven’t yet planted) and plan to build a small patio sometime. Not this year.

The reality is, we’re inspired. Our son is entertained. We’ve claimed our little space and we love it. The potential for creating extraordinary places in small spaces is in my mind….infinite.

Related posts:

  1. A Truly “Green” Home Is One that Is Loved
  2. Katie’s Backyard Chickens

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July 12, 2010
5:38 pm

Looks great! I really how it is a space for the whole family. Hope you don’t mind us stealing some ideas for our small space on the other side of the alley : )

Katie Urban
July 12, 2010
8:26 pm

No problem Phillip! It has been such a fun project- we look forward to having Chloe over to play when we get back from our river trip. Cheers!

John Olson
July 12, 2010
4:50 pm

My wife was just talking about how she enjoyed your backyard Katie! It should make for a nice “play pen” for your soon-to-be-born baby.

I also like the creativity of utilizing the low point of the yard for turf so it can work as stormwater infiltration. Great seeing you last weekend!

Katie Urban
July 20, 2010
2:06 pm

Thanks John- it was nice to see you too and meet the rest of your family. Glad you guys stopped by!

Cailin Bearss
August 27, 2010
9:31 pm

It looks great! If you need any additional input or help, I know a good landscaper:) It’s nice to see inspired and tasteful property!

Katie Urban
September 3, 2010
12:19 pm

Thanks Cailin! We might need help, since the ideas never stop! I hope to see you guys soon.

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