This season I had the team from Aquascape, Inc. come and build an amazing RainXChange System and fountain in my front lawn (see picture to the left). Collecting rain water from my roof for the fountain and also watering my front lawn vegetable garden with the rain water has been AWESOME!
When, however, they dug out the hole for the rain water cistern, the soil had to go somewhere, preferably not in the landfill. With a small property, the solutions for the soil placement were minimal. Solution: we extended the berm in my backyard shade garden. The hole is approximately 7’ x 9’ and 4’ deep. You can imagine the aerated soil took up a lot of space (see photo to the right). To reduce some of the soil mass I ran a listing on www.freecycle.org asking anyone in my community to come take the soil as “fill”. It reduced the pile by almost 30 wheelbarrows.
With a limited budget, I approached the local garden store manager and negotiated a deal on the garden-wall brick, then laid out a simple retaining wall design which would retain the clay-based soil significantly and allow me to add a thick layer of rotted manure. I dug the manure into the soil, placed four large tiles on the top of the garden bed, then planted the shade loving plants – a mix of annuals and perennials.
In the above before and after photo you can clearly see the four large tiles which are used as a “stage” for my 10 year old daughter to play on. It can also function as a potted plant display area or a spot where a music performer might reside during a garden party. In the right-side photo steps to the “stage” have been added and the garden mulched well.
Plants included in this container are from Ball Horticultural’s amazing plant lines – Blackie Ipomoea, Marguerite Ipomoea, Wave Petunia, Begonia Dragon Wing Red, and Impatiens Expo Orange. New perennials added in the back of the planting bed are several varieties of Heuchera and Hosta.
Transformation complete in the very top photo – the new design as seen from above. By the end of summer the bed is a veritable Garden of Eden, with flowers and vines cascading over the retaining wall and surrounding the performance stage.
— Ball Horticultural supplied the annual plants grown in this garden. I write many instructional stories and videos with their incredible flower and vegetable products and donate a large portion of the vegetables I grow to the local food pantry when harvested.
— Aquascape, Inc. supplied the rain water cistern.