Friday, August 19, 2011

My landscaping adventures part 1

 In March 2007 a dear friend and her husband wanted to do something to their backyard. They lived part of the year in Barbados and owned a town house with limited  garden space. The yard was nondescript, consisted of a large mahogany tree that was severely cut back and some golden palms and love lies bleeding (amaranth) or locally known as cat tails. The owners Helen and Chris hated this eyesore and were not sure if it could be removed because of our laws protecting local mahogany trees.
 My friend Helen wanted more space so that the patio could be extended. I was asked to get someone to come and do the job for them. Well I love an adventure so I volunteered to do the job (yes I was used to doing stuff around my garden so what the heck , this was just another garden).
 I had a few mishaps with the first carpenter who wanted to cut corners, so I got the rid of him and I called  in a  good carpenter who had worked for me before.  The grass was removed, the ground leveled  and the footings were dug, I used concrete (cinder) half blocks. Ground cover fabric was laid with a couple inches of gravel on top. The joists were laid on the concrete block footings, then the flooring was put down. Notice how George cleverly worked around the tree with the deck boards. I used pressure treated pine which can be used outdoors and  was treated  for termites, believe it or not pressure treated timber will outlast hardwoods.
I rented an orbital sander that nearly broke my back trying to get it out of the car. A friend at the rental place gave me some sound advice n how to sand a floor. I started on the diagonal and sanded the deck  with a coarse sand paper, then I sanded along the grain with a finer grit sand paper. It took almost a day sanding the deck boards.
After consulting with the clients on the deck colour I cleaned and stained the deck. I gave it several coats.

 I then had George my carpenter build this trellised arch and I stained it.

I then went to work on the garden with my garden helpers.
 We dug out the old plants and shrubs many of them unsuitable plantings for that garden and round paving stones leading to the deck were laid.
 I installed colourful foliage like the oxblood heliconia, purple leaf crinums, begonias, cuphea, Brazilian fire spike, crotons, desert roses and thunbergia errecta. The Air conditioning unit was to be hidden so I used the thunbergia errecta to do just that.
 I planted yellow mandevilla to run up this arch.
 The garden  five months later,  gardens in the tropics  grow very quickly and must be maintained on a regular basis.
Orchids were planted on the tree stump these were later removed when the tree stump was cut lower to make a table base.
My clients were very pleased with the results and so was I. Chris my client said that I was very brave to take on a project like this and Helen said that I should do this professionally. I laughed and told her that I would think about it.  Chris and Helen sold the property last year and have moved to Aruba. I wonder what it looks like now.


  1. You did a fantastic job.


  2. Great Helen, it's a fantastic job. I 2nd FlowerLady above, haha! Can you also do my garden? thanks.

  3. That was great. Now you have me wishing we were neighbors. Hehe. Thanks for the ID. I edited the post to credit the ID to you.

  4. Wow, the before and after looks are miles apart. The result really shows your talent.

  5. Wonderful results, Helen. Love the arch, the pathway and the selection of plants. Even the stump. What a change from the first two pictures!!


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