The back garden and the terraces

May 2019
After sharing photos of the front garden and the streetside border, it is time to take a look at what is going on in the back garden. 

The photo above shows the terraces and this is the point where you enter the garden in the back (there is a fence that separates it from the driveway). I had to look at the dates of the photo twice but yes, this is the same view one year ago -

May 2018

It is astounding to see how the plants have filled in in only one year, especially on the left side. The photo below shows a closer view of the left side terrace. The second photo was taken facing the bottom of the terrace. Even the 'Wolf's Eyes' dogwood has grown a lot and already the size of the one we had in our Alabama garden. These photos were taken about two weeks ago and since then, it has filled in even more.

The area on the other side of the dogwood is the only shaded area. I call it "The Woodland Path" (below photo). The border to our property runs along the fence and is shaded by the overgrown border of Red-Tip Photinia.

Once you climb the terrace (there are 3 ways to do it - the woodland path or two sets of steps), you arrive at the courtyard area (below). This is all new and was the vegetable garden last year. I took out the raised beds, took out the grass, put the gravel in and had the pergola/deck built in January.

Looking back down the terrace steps -

And over to the side of the courtyard is the Pan Garden, the first garden I created after we moved in. I didn't get a wide shot but here is a portion of it -

May 2019

The following photo shows the Pan Garden one year ago -

May 2018

So, as you can see from the photos, plants really do leap in their third year!

My next project will be building a small wall to separate the Pan Garden so that you really feel that you are in a separate room. The back fence-line also needs work. I would love to replace the photinias with more choice shrubs and trees. I would also love to add a solid fence or wall but that would be a difficult project. The neighbor's dog behind us barks every time we breathe and really drives us nuts when he is outside. Fortunately he is inside most of the time but when he is out, there is constant barking.

Of course, moving plants around, taking out some, adding others, will continue. It is an ongoing process.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. It is astonishing how fast your garden has filled in. You started with almost a naked space and now it is fully clothed. Beautifully I might add. Your efforts are fully sufficed.

  2. P.S. We have an annoying dog adjacent to our garden too. I found that when I made friends with the dog it stopped barking at me so much. Why the owners didn't stop it is beyond me. I figure the dog is cooped up too much and not taught any manners. I figure the owners don't have manner either.

    1. We tried that too but it hasn't worked. You would think after 3 years, he would know us by now. Not so! It barks at everybody and everything that moves. :(

  3. What a stunning transformation! I adore "before" and "after" photos, they are so much fun. The steps turned out beautifully. Shade gardens are a favorite of mine so I appreciate the woodland path in particular. The pagoda has turned out great; I always prefer it to a razed vegetable bed :-D

  4. I have two dogs, one on each side of me, that bark at me whenever I'm outside. One is a little terrier that doesn't worry me, but the other is a large aggressive black dog that sometimes gets loose. So I know your pain. Your garden looks wonderful!


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