Location: Venice, CA.
Type of space: Small backyard
How did you do it?: Let me start by saying that I have grown up gardening. My grandmother was an avid gardener, my mom is a garden designer and I am what I like to call a plant enthusiast. So when I moved into a guest house that had a small yard with lots of room for improvement I was pretty excited. Also, I had a really small budget but had the time to do the work myself.
I enlisted my mom's help and together we laid out where the planting bed would be. We decided to do it along the fence so that you'd be able to see the garden from anywhere in the little back house. We wrapped it around the fig tree to give it some curve. The space was small s the idea was to have a smaller bed but to layer the plants so that it extended the space. My budget was tight so we planned to buy small plants that would eventually grown in.
At my mom's favorite nursery we picked out flax, jack sprat, succulents, asparagus fern, begonias and some herbs. The area is a mix of sun and shade (sunnier in the winter when there aren't leaves on the fig tree and wisteria above it and shadier in the summer) so I couldn't go full blown drought tolerant otherwise the plants would drown. Still I chose plants that are low maintenance and tried to choose a variety of textures and scale to keep it interesting. And as my mom taught me, it's important to repeat plants, just like you would repeat a color in your house.
Once I had everything in the ground (I had to amend the soil, dontcha know: I turned it all over and added potting soil and worm gold to the mix before planting) I could focus on the deck which I painted a lighter color than it had been which brightened up the space and made it feel a lot less dirty. Most recently I had the cushion made so that I could lounge around. All in all it's a great little retreat and nice place to go and sit and have a morning coffee.
Recommended store, site, product or resource?
I've posted a lot about nurseries on Apartment Therapy but I can't say enough great things about Green Arrow Nursery. It's where I bought most of my plants. And also, I love just walking through my neighborhood to see how people have put plants together and what plants thrive in the area.