Sometimes you just can’t get away. A couple of weeks ago the State of Texas moved forward with the shutdown of state parks. As you may already know, both Kris and I have been enjoying our local parks since recreation is now hard to come by due to the viral pandemic. Well, seeing as though they are all closed we decided to stay home and enjoy our private home oasis.
To tell that tale we should back up to the beginning of our time here in Pflugerville. When Kris and I moved into our home in 2011 there was nothing more than a bur oak tree in the backyard to compliment a beat up old fence. Like many homeowners we focused on the inside of our home for a while and then turned our eyes outward some time later. I believe it was 2013 when we began developing a game-plan for our backyard. The yard itself is quite small as there is a water easement behind all the properties on our side of the street. I believe the dimensions of the backyard to be about 20×60’ so there is not a lot of space back there. One has to be pretty deliberate with what one chooses to do in such a limited space.
Since Kris and I love to travel we determined that our space here should be an after-work oasis. Ultimately, we didn’t want any stimulation from the outside world other than the chirping of birds. Bear in mind that we live in a tightly packed, child infested, working class neighborhood. We began by standing in the yard and doing a 360 degree survey. This survey included how many homes were around us and whether or not they had windows offering a view into the yard. In addition, we considered road noise, after school traffic and also required maintenance including access to complete any fencing repairs that may be necessary in time. With all this completed we began a search of native Texas plants and shrubs that would shield us from the outside world (in time). We had to take into account a number of things, but the most important was to visualize based on time. What would all this look like when the shrubs and plants mature in 8-10 years? Got to think fourth dimensionally (to quote Doc Brown from B2TF).
A short while later I replaced the decrepit old fencing and laid out the dimensions for the shrubbery beds. Without getting into the minutia of soil acidity, sunlight requirements and pruning habits, the garden beds were laid out with approximations for varying native shrubs. A short visit to our local nursery and we were on our way to digging holes. As some of you may know, I am not truly happy unless I am holding a shovel. I believe I have dug approximately 83 holes between the fence and the gardens in the back and front yards. That is a lot of holes on a postage stamp sized property. This week I believe I had to dig like 20-30 holes. With full disclosure I’d like to say that about 90% of the items placed in the ground that day are still present today.
- Firethorn x2
- Golden Euonymus x2
- Mountain Laurel
- Silverado Sage x2
- Double Knockout Rose x3
- Red Tipped Photinia x3
- Black Diamond Myrtle
- Climbing Rose x3
- Dwarf Nandinia x2
With all our plants in the ground, watered and generously fertilized and mulched we sat back and admired all the hard work. Gazing over the garden from the patio I started to realize this vision we had of the yard was going to take some time to be realized. In fact, the new fence was around 6.5’ tall and my little shrubs were nursery sized. I knew it would take some time for the ultimate vision to be realized but knew when it was, it would be wonderful.
Flash forward about ten years and now Kris and I have the backyard oasis we had yearned for. From the patio and middle of the backyard you would never know you were in a busy neighborhood. Granted, one can still hear children playing next door, but you cannot hear road noise, see other houses nor feel eyes on you when you’re back there getting some sun. Seriously, do you ever feel eyes on you when you’re sunbathing? It is a creepy kind of feeling. Anyway, through hard work and time we created a great space and we enjoy it immensely. In fact as I write this I am sitting on the patio enjoying my coffee.
Rumor has it that state parks will be opened back up sometime this week or next. We are both pretty excited about it and are already planning our next hiking day-trip adventure. In the meantime though, we will be in our little 20×60’ oasis.
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