March 2nd, 2007
New Back Yard

Zanthan Gardens North Border
2007-02-24. A new privacy fence gives me a new garden.

I suddenly have a new back yard to garden in. I haven’t moved but I’ve got a new neighbor. He’s renovating the duplex to the north of me, living in one side of it and looking to rent the other. He approached me a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I would mind if he removed the chain link fence which divides our yard (and is on my side of the property line) so that he could put up a wooden privacy fence. After dancing a little dance of joy, I calmly agreed to his plan.

Unlike some people, I’m happy that none of my other neighbors choose to spend any time in their yards. Looking west towards the back, my view crosses four yards which are green and woodsy and almost always empty. Once in awhile someone will bring his boom box outside and throw back a few beers with friends but those incidents are few. If my new neighbor finds a privacy fence necessary, is it because he’s going to be outside a lot? Or is our shed really that tacky? (Definitely a factor.) Or does he come from a neighborhood (Boulder, CO) where people just have privacy fences as a matter of course? Whatever the reason, I hope my new neighbor is going to enjoy his yard (and his newly-installed hot tub) quietly and without pesticides.

Very quickly he had men out to tear down the fence, chop out the hackberry trees which grow in the fence (and which I try to kill every year) and erect the new fence. My back yard looks completely different. And it’s motivating.

First of all, the visual boundary makes the yard look more like a garden. Even my son, who isn’t at all interested in my outdoor projects, was amazed at the transformation. “Wow. It really looks like something.” “A garden?”

Secondly, the transformation allows me to see the garden with new eyes. Instead of seeing the same old border and the same old chores, I see possibilities! I can get rid of a lot of the nandina and make a nicer perennial bed. This is one of the best spots in my yard to garden because it gets southern winter sun. The privacy fence makes it protected and cozy both for me and the plants. In fact, the little bend in the path would be a perfect spot for a garden had I not just spent a couple of days transplanting my ‘New Dawn’ rose which I grew from a cutting. (It’s seems to be thriving. Well, when it dies I’ll put a seat there.)

Zanthan Gardens North Border
2006-12-15. When I planted my rose bush, I was already itching for ways to improve the north border.

Many of you gave me suggestions to improve the north border and block my view of the duplex. And now I don’t have to do anything (but I’m able to do the fun stuff). This is the second time procrastination has paid off.

I’m learning the wrong lesson.

by M Sinclair Stevens

6 Responses to post “New Back Yard”

  1. From Pam/Digging (Austin):

    Score! Have fun in the new garden.

  2. From Angelina (Oregon):

    The fence looks nice. I wish I had a fence like that.

    I enjoy that very few people seem to spend time in their yards around here too, for the peace it protects. But it’s kind of backward for me to be glad about because I am also always trying to convince people to grow things and spend time in their yards. There’s a little bit of a contradiction in that.

    Still, it’s great to be given an opportunity to be re-inspired in the garden.

  3. From Annie in Austin:

    Whatever the reason it was built – it will be a great background for your gardening.

    And unlike the nandina or hackberry, you won’t have to prune it.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  4. From Julie (Austin):

    You been livin’ right.

    Looks beautiful.

  5. From Kathy (New York):

    Hip hip hooray!

  6. From Dawn Larned:

    So my husband and I are actually wanting to build a nice wooden privacy fence too because our chain link looks awful and our neighbors yards are less than attractive. We are looking for recommendations for fencing companies. Is there anyway you could ask your new neighbor who he used here in Austin and email me back?

    I think your garden looks great. We are new at this and trying to take a very large but barren yard and turn it into a garden.