Our Garden Oasis

Alison Raffalovich Article, Front Porch Flyer

By Betsy Hilton, from the October 2020 Front Porch Flyer print edition

Joe was designing our backyard garden before our house in Mueller was even built.  He had several different options sketched out, and when we moved we brought over 120 plants with us. Joe spent the first year watching the light in the yard and thinking about which design option would best suit our needs.

As a result of this planning, and then the landscape work to implement his plan, we are blessed to have an outdoor living room that has served us well. We’ve appreciated the initial Mueller design requirement for fences to have an open design in the top 18 inches, which allowed us to meet people over the fence when we moved in, and continues to allow us to visit with neighbors as they pass by.

The backyard design is flexible enough to adapt with us as situations warrant. We like to entertain, and pre-COVID parties often spilled into this outdoor living room. Except for in the heat of summer, we can often be found sitting outside, enjoying the flowers and watching the birds land on the small fountain. When our favorite music festival was cancelled this Spring, we were able to join a virtual festival outdoors, including dancing on the patio. And, we’ve been extremely grateful that during COVID, we are able to have a few singles or couples over to visit outdoors with about 10 feet of separation between each group.  Once temperatures cool off some, we hope to resume this practice.  It’s also been possible for us to see our family in this way.  

We don’t have any vegetables in the garden, but we do have some herbs and lots of flowers, especially antique roses. As our trees continue to grow, our sun exposure is diminishing and the roses may have to give way to more shade-tolerant plants. The garden keeps changing, just as we all do. We don’t know what it will look like years from now but we’re pretty sure we’ll still be grateful for the joy it brings us. Stop and say hello over the fence if you see us outside.