THE PLAN FOR THIS SPACE
I measured the entire space and jotted everything down, and headed to my computer. I downloaded a trial copy of SMARTDRAW. It was pretty easy to use right from the start. I only had 7 days for the trial, so I had to get this done pretty quick. I was able to put together this plan in about 3 hours and played with it for a few days more. I moved the elements, checked the measurements, etc. When I was finally satisfied, I generated a PDF of the plan. Here is it:
I have not tried any other landscape design software, but I’ve found other ones on the web that generate 3D views. If you have a favorite program, please post the info here in the comments section.)
My new space will be completely covered in decomposed granite which is on top of the a black woven polypropylene fabric (Lumite®). This will let the rain soak in but will block the weeds from coming through. I’ve seen this used on the floor of greenhouses. It is easy to walk on and looks very clean. It comes in rolls of varying widths. I got a 3′ x 300′ roll from a nursery supply house in Houston for about $80, but you can order them online from Shaw Fabric Products in Colorado. It beats the cheap weed barrier fabric from the BOX STORES hands down.
TIP: Don’t use Pea Gravel as a base to walk on, unless it is very thin. I made the mistake of putting down pea gravel in the space about 2 year ago, thinking that would be easy to walk on, and keep the weeds out. IT DID NEITHER. It was so uncomfortable to walk on, that I abandoned the space. It was like walking in a kids play ground where they keep the swings! To add insult to injury, I then bought a pallet of flagstone thinking I could make a walk way that would help. WHAT A TOTAL MESS. I gave up and shut the gate for nearly two years!
What I really wanted was a courtyard feel, with the ability to grow vegetables, pot plants, and putter around in my private space. This new design will provide that. Notice the round pond in the new design? This idea came from Pam Penick at Digging. She gardens in Austin, Texas and writes about it. If you have not visited her blog, you are missing something very special. She recently built a pond from an 8 foot stock tank. What a great idea. I was really going to miss the water lilies in the garden. Now, they can stay and it will be a lot easier to take care of, above ground.
I bought a 6′ round stock tank at Tractor Supply in Katy for around $225.00. I stored it on the driveway upside down until ready to transfer the water out of the ponds and into the stock tank. This will be a two step process. First transfer the water, lilies and goldfish to the driveway. After the space is ready, empty the tank and save some of the water in a plastic pool along with the fish and water lilies. Move the tank and level it in place. Fill with water, and set it up proper. Pam at Digging had some good advice on what plants to use, and I agree. More on that later.