Courtyard Design Before and After
So in lieu of actually doing anything out there, I'll show you a photoshop rendering of what I'm planning on accomplishing as soon as it gets cooler, by paving a bit and planting monkey grass as a minimalist groundcover.
Though the rest of the entry garden is coming along nicely, the barren gap of grass is an eyesore. The run of the mill sidewalk is boring and doesn't encourage the visitor to slow down and enjoy the journey a little. Here's what I hope to do:
This is just a rough photoshop rendering, but it gives a good idea of what I'm going for. I'm aiming for a small scale version of Raymond Jungles' landscapes, or maybe a miniature "Yellow Garden" at the Bali Hyatt.
The groundcover I'm going with is liriope, which has lush dark green foliage, will tolerate sun before the tree's canopies fill in, and barely needs any trimming. The accompanying perennials like lemongrass, agapanthus, russelia and spider lily all have a similar effect of fountainlike foliage and when they fill in they'll form a tapestry of texture that flows well visually. I even plan on naturalizing some of my rain lily seedlings along with the liriope, which also have grassy foliage.
I can't do much about the ho-hum sidewalk, but I can add to it, accentuating the curves and create some interest by laying pavers amongst stones. The liriope will eventually start to fill in the cracks between the pavers, charmingly blurring the boundaries between the planting and hardscape. I will place solar lanterns along these curves, along with a bromeliad or two to invite closer inspection. I also need to repave the courtyard the right way, and install a micro irrigation system for the bananas, papaya and birds nest fern.
Here's another view of the hideous patch of grass. Who put that there?
This area will also be getting an overhaul. The weedy lantana will be removed, as will the dwarf burford holly in the foreground, which I'll replace with more liriope, agapanthus and spiderlily.
Its not all bad though! Here are some nicer corners of the front yard.
The lemongrass makes an effective screen, looks dramatic, and mirrors the cascading effect of the other groundcovers employed in the entry garden.
Behind the lemongrass, my musa "blue java" otherwise known as "ice cream banana" is thriving and growing like there's no tomorrow! The bold leaves will frame the view of the entry garden and provide drama.
This cold hardy radicalis palm looks very tropical, especially when paired with bromeliads. There are a few stoloniferous broms at the base in the shadows too! Ummm... I also need to fill in some more rocks in this area. Eventually.
Here are some photos of how the courtyard garden looked before!
Be sure to read my other posts about the courtyard!
My Bromeliad garden is oblivious to the season
Lady Gaga the fern