Tag Archives: patio makeover

San Diego Patio Garden Makeover

<img alt="Welcome to my Patio"/>

Welcome to our patio garden!

More years ago than I’d like to admit, we began to work on the patio that wraps along the back and one long side of our house.  Our front yard is the size of a postage stamp that the association’s landscapers tend,  so the patio is where I garden — as in plant whatever I’d like to grow in the space we have.  What we lack in planters and a couple of bordered beds I make up for with pots.  I’m a big fan of planting in pots, so think I’ve made the best of this outdoor space.  When we moved in, the patio sported the remnants of a Japanese themed garden complete with a dark, two tiered fountain topped with a geisha of all things.  Azaleas and camellias bloomed in spite of their scraggly appearance, and a Japanese maple filled one of the triangular corner planters.  Jasmine and honeysuckle had formed a tall thatch over one fence, and although lovely when in bloom, was quite a mess otherwise.  When one lives in the most southern corner of the U.S., I wonder about gardens created with plants not suited to a desert environment — one often strapped for water.  Aesthetically, it just didn’t seem to match the south of the border inspired architecture of our house.  Change was inevitable because I wanted to make the most of the space.  I needed a place to lose myself in the simple pleasure that gardening provides as well as a space to eat outside as much as possible, whether with guests, or on our own.

Continue reading

Chicken Wrap with Spicy Greens

I’ve been working on our patio for a few months now trying to make it more functional and enjoyable.  It’s a narrow area that wraps along two sides of our house and much different than the half-acre of hillside we tended at our former house.  At first, the idea of having so much less to manage outside was attractive because we were busy with our jobs and moving closer to the ocean and a beautiful seaside community that would inspire us to get out more and enjoy weekends full of sun and fun.  But I’m a gardener — I always have been.  And as much as the weather is often quite gorgeous here, I’m content to spend time outside digging in the dirt.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t been very easy for the past few years.

A former owner had planters installed on the patio and made less than smart choices about what was planted in them, so now, several are completely root bound.  Old flagstone capping has loosened from the planter walls, much of it cracked or broken completely.  The fence, although beloved by my cats for its great scratching post qualities, was more a termite high rise.  Tearing it down took little thought.

I’ve always kept pots of annuals and herbs, and for the first time two years ago, began growing tomatoes in pots.  About a year ago, I put together a small herb box as well.  This year, one of the tomato pots has become a salad greens pot.  It may not seem like much, but I can tell you the snails would be quite upset if I ever got rid of the little herb box.  And this year, they’ve truly enjoyed picking out all but one variety of salad green from the new pot.  Who knew snails had such discriminating palates — erm — radula?

Even though my patio is small by suburban yard standards here, I could squeeze the few things I enjoy harvesting in an even smaller space such as a balcony if I had to.  In other words, it doesn’t take much to grow a few of your own veggies and or herbs.  I’d enjoy planting even more among the roses and succulents I’m currently planting in the newly filled, capped, and painted planters, but until those plants are established, adding anything edible to them isn’t advisable and may never be.  Hence, the pots I have are a great idea because I can move them around according to the seasons and sunlight.

My tomato plants are sporting grape-sized fruit, but the idea frying tiny green tomatoes isn’t as appealing to me as plucking some of the salad greens, a few leaves of the perennial bloody sorrel that continues to thrive, some wild arugula, and purple basil.

Perfect for a wrap with a bit of left over chicken and, if the patio was finished, a nice lunch outside with a good book.  All in due time.

Are you a gardener?  Do you have an outside space to relax in when the weather is pleasant?

Continue reading