Ideas for Small Backyard in Baltimore?

Good Questions

Q: I recently renewed my lease in a Baltimore city row house, so I really want to work on making the backyard cozy, since I will be here for a while.

I have a dog, and he currently uses the small dirt/woodchip area out back for doing his business when I don't walk him. I need some ideas for what to do with that area, because the woodchips and dirt aren't currently working (it never dries and smells bad even though I am quick to clean up after him). Is there a good ground cover or type of rock that would work? Also, I want to start a small garden and am wondering how to go about that. Should I get a move-able garden bed to put against the wall on the right? Or a bunch of pots?:

Baltimore is apparently a zone 7a, but a green thumb I am not, so I would love to hear what plants/garden items would work, and how to make it happen logistically. I eventually want to get a table/chair set for the deck and some hanging pots. This is my first time having outdoor living space, so I am pretty excited to hear some ideas for how to make it cozy and enjoyable.

Sent by Shawna

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.