We gained two extra living spaces with the renovation of our farmhouse. The first of these outdoor 'rooms' is the wraparound porch, which provides a transition between indoors and out. The second is the yard we created around the house with picket fence, which transitions from the house to the rest of our property.
To address some long standing drainage issues, we excavated to slope the ground away from the front of the house. After we excavated this area, there was a transition in elevation up to the rest of the yard. We decided to take advantage of this break in grade to create planter beds, which also disguises the varied ground elevations. Choices we mulled over included lots plantings associated with either a retaining wall or a fence line. We decided on the latter.
Here, Mike has staked out the proposed fence line. The gravel border to the left of the future fence is a french drain, which we installed to help collect and convey water away from the house (and basement).
Mike and my Dad dug the holes one weekend, while Mike and his Dad set the posts the next. They are set in concrete so that they remain straight through rain, wind and snow.
This is an old photo so the file is small. Both being engineers, you can be sure that our fence is strong.
Here is the yard today. There is of course always more planting to do, but each year the beds get fuller and fuller.
We have held off on plantings around the porch so far. We can't decide if we prefer it left open, or if a line of low-growing shrubs or flowers may add a nice touch. It is a challenging spot to pick plants for. The area receives direct sun all summer long, and occasional piles of snow coming off the roof in the winter.
The grass outside of the fence line has started to yellow, as it does around this time every summer. We've opted to only irrigate the yard inside the fence line, and let Mother Nature take care of the rest.
Here's the side yard just after we completed the fence.
Here is the side yard today.
Hmm, where could he be?