Philadelphia Garden Clean-Up


YOU CAN TELL JUST BY LOOKING at this 20’x25′ backyard with its battered brick wall, which is attached to the rear unit of the double-trinity house I own in the Old Kensington section of Philadelphia, that the garden is a source of great pleasure for the person who lives there.

It wasn’t me who put in the colorful annuals or hung the wind chimes; it was a tenant who enjoys the garden to the fullest.


This is how the garden looked when I bought the house in 2007:


And here’s how it looked during clean-up:


It took me just a couple of days to clean up this neglected disaster area shortly after I bought the building. Here’s what I did:

  • Pulled and bagged up weeds, which were three feet high and everywhere
  • Gathered and disposed of broken chairs and other garbage
  • Created a simple framework of planting beds, outlined in salvaged brick and terracotta tile, all found in the backyard, on three sides of a squarish patio
  • Laid down landscape fabric in the patio area to prevent the weeds from coming back
  • Ordered a load of pea gravel delivered. It was dumped on the sidewalk in front and then carted by wheelbarrow through the alley to the backyard (that was the largest expense, about $120)
  • Provided some planters with hostas and the French blue chairs
  • Brought in few bags of compost to get the beds started

A pink-flowering hibiscus tree in a far corner was the sole existing plant; the tenant filled in the beds with  marigolds and coleus. Voila! A garden at its most basic, but no less enjoyed for that.


View looking down from top floor

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
This entry was posted in GARDENS & GARDENING, LANDSCAPING, PHILADELPHIA and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Philadelphia Garden Clean-Up

  1. Looks lovely. Wonders what a little (ok, a lot) of pea gravel can do.

    Where did you ge the chairs? I had the hardest time finding real metal chairs this summer.

  2. cara says:

    hi, Mrs. L. Yes, too much pea gravel, in fact. I left a lot of it on the sidewalk. The chairs – I don’t remember. Probably behind a trash can somewhere.

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