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