Somehow having dogs and gardens don't always go together. Over the years in our previous homes the dogs seemed to take over the areas where we had any kind of garden. When we moved here the property was large enough for us to have both yards for the dogs and garden areas. Yes, they are all separate. As can be seen in the pictures of our dog yards there is nothing in them other than turf (real or artificial) and in one case a tree that has since had to be removed dur to an olive tree pest of some kind. Having no garden aresa arounf the dogs was done by design.
The dogs need plenty of room to play and do things that dogs love to do without a lot of plants. We've discovered over the years that many plants and dogs don't seem to mix. Either the dogs trample them or chew on the plants or some plants are even toxic or poisonous for dogs.
With more than 1.2 acres of land we have plenty of space outside our dog yards for gardens. Actually not all of it is planted yet. With the water restrictions that have been threatened with since we moved in and the cost of landscaping we haven't planted all the property. What we have done is to try to stabilize the hillsides and provide some beauty to our home and yards.
The gardens are ever changing and evolving. We're learning what plants will survive the heat of the summer and the frost we get in the winter. The plants we use in the gardens also need to require little water. Fortunately, outside of the natural turf areas, our gardens don't require much watering.
We have many ideas of improvements we'd like to make to our gardens. I literally have hundreds of photos stored on my computer of things we'd like to do. As soon as the water district removes our allocation limits perhaps we can plant the areas on our property that still need to be planted and improve upon what we have in others. From what we're seeing this year things are getting better. We certainly had plenty of rain last winter.
Entering Rancho Relaxo
This is one of those areas where we've still done minimal planting. We have an abundance of ideas but have held off because of the needed funds and, more importantly, the drought conditions. While our plans do include plants that are drought tolerant it takes water to get them started. We're hoping that things change in coming years. For now we're happy with what we have accomplished.
Unfortunately I don't have very many photos of this area. Perhaps that's because we have plans to improve it in the future.
We share our driveway with two neighbors. On our side we've lined it with palm trees and a succulent garden up closer to our home. Out front, along the street, is one of those places where we haven't done much planting yet but have some ideas of what we want to do out there. For now it's covered in mulch and gravel. When we have large groups visit the gravel provides extra parking for our guests.
At the top of our portion of the driveway we've planed some more palms, bird of paradise and lantana. In the background is our solar panels and a large portion of the property above that has yet to be planted. Hopefully in the future we can install an irrigation system and plants up there. The corner of our closest neighbor's house is visible and the driveway leading up the hill is to a house above us.
As soon as we could we had a custom gate made for the entrance of our home. As part of our collection of basset hound items we had the steel basset silhouette. We found a custom ironworks company that integrated it into a gate for us. We worked with the designer to add in the dog bowl and bone "sun-ray" to the top of the gate. This gate is often locked for security reasons.
To the left of the gate is a large concrete basset statue that Pam has named "Mort." to the right is the shop/garage building that we had constructed before we moved in. The Woebgon Bassets Logo painting was done for us by Renee Bane.
A close-up view of the basset hound on the gate.
Once inside our gate visitors are greeted with several different garden areas. We've tried to make the long walk from the gate down to our front door a pleasant one.
Just past the shop/garage is the garden between it and the house. Due to building regulations this space was necessary between the two buildings. We've taken advantage of the space and shade to make a garden where we can have mostly shade plants. As with all our gardens this is ever evolving. We have to experiment to find what plants will thrive in the spot and won't be killed off by the summer heat and winter frost.
The center piece for this garden is a fountain that we found early on as we visited the local nurseries for ideas and plants. It adds the pleasant sound of moving water as people enter.
Out front the walkway leads past most of the front of the house before it reaches the front porch. Fortunately the people who had the property before we bought it had done all the beautiful rock work including the large planter about halfway down. We added the lights
Near the end of our front walkway is our front porch.
A view from the front steps down the walk back toward the front lawn area and driveway.
On the opposite side of the walkway we put in a succulent garden. It's an easy maintenance garden that requires very little water but still looks good.
Opposite the front porch we had a deck constructed. It provides a welcoming spot at the end of the walk and provides space at the bottom of our front stairs.
Out on the deck we've included several pots with plants. This cactus sits in one corner. The hillside in the background is part of our neighbor's property.
Down below the front walkway is our rose garden. This is something we've always wanted. We had an established rose garden at our first home but had no space for one at our last home. We started off with about ten rose bushes and the garden has grown from there. Due to water restrictions and other issues we haven't added to it in the past couple of years but plan to add more roses in the future.
A view of our roses from the front walk. When they are in bloom the roses really add to the beauty of our property.
This is the view of the front yard and roses from our deck.
While walking down the walk visitors may also get a glimpse of one or more of our bassets peeking out the window. They all love how low the windows are because they can easily see what's going on out front. This is a picture of Star befor she passed away.
Two views of our rose garden from walkway or succulent garden above above. This is the view visitors see as the walk up to our front porch when they are in bloom.
The rose garden from ground level. As can be seen here we have a wide variety of roses in our garden. We hope to add at least one or two more rows and extend the garden a little to the right of what is shown here. If you are wondering about water, we have the roses on a drip line that provides plenty of water but also saves a lot. The mulch helps with both water conservation and weed control.
Some of our roses are shown below. As can be seen here, we have a large variety. No, I do not remember all the names
We adding additional gardens tp our property as time. money and our water allocation allow.
One of my fondest memories when I was growing up was my mother's iris and lily gardens. I especially love the many varieties of bearded iris. We've started a garden area under some birch trees with a few iris. It is a garden that will expand in the future.
We've planted a few iris under our grouping of birch treed out next to our rose garden. This is a garden we hope to expand in the future with more varieties of iris. One problem we've had is that the birch trees keep dying. We think that gophers are partly to blame. Currently we have one very strong birch and another that is barely hanging on. Perhaps this fall we can redo this garden and add some more iris.
Since much of our 1.2 acres, especially above our house is hillside we've planted much of it to cut down on erosion. Most of the hillside areas are planted in groundcover that is both drought resistent and fire resistent. These are all areas that will be expanded and enhanced as time goes on. This year we added a lot of new plants to this hillside. They seem to be doing well and are spreading. Since our water restrictions have been lifted we can keep them well watered. I'll be adding some more pictures to this section.
The biggest area of hillside is directly behind our home and two of our dog yards. It has been planted with a low groundcover that doesn't have blooms that draw bees to our yards. We also wanted a groundcover that snakes couldn't hide in. The fence had to be added when we discovered that Heidi could just leap up on the wall and roam the hillside. It replaced a temporary fence that we bought because Cutie Pie could climb the wall. The hillside looks quite different today. I need to update this photo.
New updated photos coming when I remember to add them.