My Great Outdoors: Ryan and Amber's Two-Patio Garden

My Great Outdoors: Ryan and Amber's Two-Patio Garden

Amber Byfield
Jun 9, 2009
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Name:Ryan and Amber
Location: Austin, TX
Type of space: Two ground-floor patios, plus common space
Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: Having two patios means big outdoor potential when you're an apartment dweller. The front patio is devoted to all things container gardening, and the back patio is an outdoor extension of our living room, perfect for lounging and playing with our dog Fin.

How did you create it? This is definitely a mish-mash of found objects; we've spent a lot of time collecting containers and plants for our container garden (a few were thrifted, some were gifted, and at least one was salvaged from the dumpster). There are lots of makeshifts: the garden table is a combination of Ikea parts, and we used an old set of bookshelves to give our garden some upward mobility, hoping to get the plants more sun. We started a lot of the plants from seed, but some were transplants from my mother's garden. Even with our creative vertical gardening, neither patio gets full sun, so a lot of our plants haven't quite grown as big as we'd hoped.

That said, we took a plot of ground 6 inches deep in front of the window to plant tomatoes and tomatillos--and they are thriving, probably because they get a little more sun and much better drainage. We have quite a few tomatoes that will be ready to harvest soon, and once July rolls around, we're sure we'll be seeing tomatillos.

On the back porch, we had to be creative--there wasn't a surefire place to put the hammock, but Ryan figured it out (and did it on a $20 budget). We also had to make sure Fin could enjoy outside time as much as we do, so there's a toy box for all her sports equipment since she's a pro at baseball, football, and Frisbee.

Recommended store, site, product or resource? Thrift stores, Ikea, Home Depot, and Academy (hammock and Fin's toys)

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