Amy, a landscape designer and sustainable garden expert who believes that you don't need a huge yard to have a remarkable garden, has certainly proven her point in her own home. She and Greg share a townhouse that sits on a fairly small little plot, but they have managed to utilize every square inch. Even the front steps are home to tiers of edibles and flowering beauties including potted blueberry bushes!
They've designated most of the upper back deck to edible container gardens. When I stopped in, their tomato and pepper plants were so heavy with ready-to-be-plucked goods that even an in-ground garden three times its size would be put to shame. In addition to providing them with extra privacy, the deck's edible garden is the perfect setting for warm weather meals, which they've definitely taken advantage of with their cozy outdoor dining room.
As lovely as the deck is, the lower level patio is the real stunner in my opinion. It took me about half an hour to explore all the details that make up the miniature oasis, and it's a tiny little plot! The centerpiece of the garden is a rambling Koi pond which runs almost the whole width of the yard. Amy and Greg have surrounded it with a variety of cascading ground covers and local plants that make the pond feel like it has been there forever. Ferns, hostas, and other shade plants fill in around the patio under the deck and areas that don't receive as much direct sunlight, making for a seamless stream of greens around the entire backyard.
Looking at the sheer volume of plants I was sure that it would take an incredible amount of watering and upkeep, but Amy informed me that the whole lower patio garden only needs to be watered about twice a week! The container gardens on the upper deck require a bit more.
Also of note is the genius patio cover solution devised by Greg. He created a slanted roof that catches water from the deck above and directs it into their rain barrel below which they use to water their plants. The rain barrel is partially masked by a reed screen which helps it to blend in with the patio furnishings. In addition to helping them make the most of captured rain water, the roof also provides the setting for an outdoor room, even during the rain.
Images: Leah Moss