An uneven and unruly backyard becomes a great English garden for home-schooled children and their parents.
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Max Ellzey wants to make his backyard beautiful and child-friendly for his wife, Amy, and their three kids. The family's backyard has been an eyesore for the seven years they have lived in their home. It's barren, boring and not a fun place for their three home-schooled kids to play or have outdoor lessons.
Max has asked host Susie Coelho and Outer Spaces to rescue his family's unruly backyard. He'd like help creating a great English garden for his home-schooled kids and a place for Amy to relax in when she gets a chance.
Landscape designer Tom Stout's plan divides the yard into two areas: an adult side for Amy with a patio, fountain, table and arbor plus a kid-friendly side with a revived swing set, outdoor classroom and a log jungle gym.
Stout carefully transplants healthy rose bushes — being sure to move the entire root ball — by the garage wall to add color to the school/seating area. A garden hose and spray paint helps create the outline of the design, and then a four-inch outer trench is dug. Bender board easily conforms to the shape of the design and helps to contain the surface material, which is decomposed granite (DG) in this case. DG is inexpensive and easy to put down. Once it's evenly spread, wet down and compacted, it forms a very hard surface that's almost like concrete.
Classic cottage plants including cosmos, butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), hydrangea (a popular Victorian-era plant) and lavender infuse the garden with charm and color. They're planted close together for a full look, giving the impression that the garden is well-established. An earth auger makes the planting process a lot easier.
For the kids, Stout designed a natural jungle gym using stumps by cutting off all the sharp edges and securing them in holes in the ground.
The play set is moved and painted, and a bare area becomes the children's outdoor classroom and/or a private getaway for their parents. Color is added with flowering plants in pots, which can be changed seasonally.
An outdoor classroom takes advantage of the plain garage wall. Arbor posts are put into lightweight painted molded foam pots overflowing with plants. Bright furniture, a hanging chalkboard and a yellow-painted tarp make learning a lot more fun.
Low-cost additions like cottage birdhouses and a rustic window box help carry the cottage-garden theme.
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