Friday, June 3, 2016

Two Small Back Gardens

The first of the two back gardens in today's post has a cottage feel. Decking, which parodies a wharf, curves its way through the garden. 

A five foot stream cascades over rocks and spills into a large pond filled with goldfish. At night the pond is lit with underwater lights creating a rather magical effect.

The pond is a magnet for little water striders, various types of birds and other wildlife. Even a local mink has taken up residence.

Behind the garage, there is a large deck with a swing and a table for outdoor summer meals. Running along the top of the fence is a cat run.

I don't know if I have ever seen a more elegant looking cat!

The cat run opens into a large enclosure with many perches that are perfect for bird watching.

Nestled in among the Norfolk pines at the back of the garden is a tree house that was built by the homeowner's sixteen year old son.

Wouldn't any pre-teen or teenager just love this fun hideaway?

It's wonderful when a garden invites you inside and this next garden does just that.

In this garden, there is no standing on the lawn and admiring the plantings from a polite distance. Instead pathways lead you into little corners where you can sit within the garden.

Much of the garden is shaded, but there are a few brighter pockets where plants like this tree peony can flourish in dappled sunlight. (Read more about tree peonies here.)

At the back of the house there is a large patio area. A large arbor leads from the patio down to the main part of the garden.

An old iron headboard has been painted black and is hung from the arbor to serve as a unique support for climbing vines like morning glory.

Centred in the garden is a picture-perfect shed. Beyond it, there is a flagstone pathway that leads to a shady corner with yet more seating.

One of the standout plants in this area of the garden is a Bleeding Heart. 
It positively glows in the sunlight!

Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis, 'Goldheart': This Bleeding Heart has amazing golden foliage and magenta colored  heart-shaped flowers. Height: 60-90 cm, Spread: 60-90 cm. Part or full shade. Average to moist soil. Will go dormant by late summer. Hardy: Zones 2-9.

A garden angel (on the left) and Mountain Bluet, Centaurea montana (on the right).

This is a modest sized backyard, so there isn't a lot of sunny spots for a vegetable garden. Instead the homeowners have opted to mix edible plants, like this rhubarb, in with the other perennials.

The garden shed is both practical and pretty.

If you find that there is a little bit of a lull between tulips and summer perennials in your garden, alliums like these 'Purple Sensation' may be just what you need.

Tools hang in the shelter of the shed's roof.

Have a terrific weekend!


  1. Beautiful! I especially love the first one. Very clever!

  2. What a lovely garden! It is obvious the owner takes pride in every part of it. Even though this garden is very different to my garden in Australia,(much lower rainfall for a start) there are still some great ideas I can use. Thanks for an interesting post.

  3. Great post-lots of super ideas. That pond--oh--amazing!

  4. unbelievable lovelies!!! To the photographer who captured a place we all want to go to........and stay. Just beautiful.

  5. So many great ideas! The CAT RUN!! and the tree house and the deck in the first garden. By the way, love the first photo, great angle. Then there's the antique tools useful and beautiful, and the black iron headboards used as inspiring, as are you photos. As Rose said..unbelievable lovelies!

  6. What an enjoyable post. Thanks for giving us a look into these lovely spots. I always enjoy reading your blog.


  7. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. What elegant gardens you always show. These two are superb!

  9. Both are wonderful! I love the pond and the decking. The cat, though elegant, did look a bit angry. Perhaps he viewed his cat run as more like a prison! No doubt he grows tired of the birds taunting him.

  10. Small is good much easier to keep tidy. Cute gardens and tree house. Kitty is oh so sweet and yes maybe angry.

  11. Both gardens are beautifully maintained and loved by their owners. I would like to know more about the stream in the first garden. I am adding a fountain or such to my garden and a stream is another option. My cat would be jealous of the accommodations for these homeowners cats. My poor kitty has to watch the birds from a window. She is too timid to try to catch them, but loves watching.

    1. Hi Annie, There is a reservoir at the top of the stream that empties water into the stream that is recirculated from the pond. If you have animals and worry about a pond, I'd suggest a pond-less waterfall or stream. I've shot lots of really nice ponds over the years. If you scroll to the bottom and do a search, you will get a listing of some of the posts. I'll also add one of the posts on ponds to the sidebar.
      There was a time when you couldn't find any nice fountains for a reasonable price, but these days there are quite a few good options. We have one we got at Lowes on sale. The only problem with these "faux stone" (plastic) fountains is that you have to bring them indoors(garage) for the winter otherwise they can crack.

    2. Many thanks, Jennifer. I'm crazy about this waterfall. I followed the links and studied the ponds, plants, colors and textures of the water features you've photographed. Appreciate the head's up about the faux stone fountains. With the water flowing and the softening effect of foliage, they certainly pass for real.

  12. A total WOW ! on that first garden and wouldn't my Sophie love the cat run .. I so appreciate cat owners that truly take care of their cats! .. that is a dream luxury for sure and what a gorgeous cat posing for you!
    I love the water feature .. it must be heavenly on a summer's night to sit there and soak in the atmosphere .. another one of my dream gardens ! haha
    The second one had a totally different personality but just as interesting and pretty.
    These are gardens I would love to visit too !

  13. The second garden completely captures what I envision for my own back yard... the meandering lawn paths with filled in organically shaped beds... nooks and corners with small seating areas. Such inspiration! Oh, I can't wait! (Though I will have to as I'm only a few years into this house.)


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