Above Photo Taken July 24, 2015
I live in a house that was built in 1953. Typical of many very split-level houses built at that time, the back of the house has a very tall and very bare wall that is only interrupted by 1 tiny window. This is actually the side of the back portion of the house, but before I began this project, the long, blank wall was a design nightmare. I have created a garden bench nook on the left fourth of the wall. I like the way that the palette and bench nook breaks that long, blank wall into 2 smaller, more design-friendly areas. Next spring, I’ll plant herbs in the palette and make an herb wall garden.
In early morning, the bench nook is a shady spot to sit and drink coffee. An ugly mass of cable wires is behind where the bench is sitting. I put a screen there. Virginia Creeper is already weaving through the screen.
There are grapes on both sides of the bench. I plant to frame the top of the bench area and make a little roof. I’ll create more shade by weaving the grape vines across and through the roof.
Above Photo Taken July 10, 2015 – before the palette and bench nook were created.
The long and tall wall [seen in the above photo] is about 24 feet long, and it faces the East. A sunroom has been added to the back of the area shown. That side of the house extends another 10 feet, but the area is filled with windows and therefore is not part of the fruit tree room project.
A single garage is to the North of this area. For quite some time, I have felt that this is a perfect place to create an enclosed, rather intimate courtyard. As usual, I am dealing with a limited budget and the necessity to do the work myself–and with very few materials. If possible, I need to use what I have and buy nothing new. I decided that this is a great place to do something creative with some fig trees that are struggling in my front yard, which is both shady and has a Northern exposure that experiences some bleak winter weather.
Since the garage blocks the most severe of the northern exposure and since the house blocks the western exposure, the area along this wall offers the protection that the figs should find favourable. I plan to espalier fig trees here, too. With some luck, the tall, bare wall might begin to look a bit like this:
I have already learned that tree trunks are the best supports for the rough arbors and trellises that I build; therefore, I hope that I’ll eventaully get decent tree trunk posts from the fruit trees.
I have planted 2 fig trees along the side of the house, and I’ll espalier those up the side of the house. I have added boards wo that there is a raised bed around the fig trees. Just beyond that raised bed, I have another, much larger raised bed. Around that bed, I have set 4 posts that are 8 feet apart. On July 23, I planted 2 Methley Plums next to the posts that are nearer the house.
There are already grapes trailing up these posts. I plan to keep the tree trunkss as straight as possible and to espalier the limbs to create walls for a small garden room that opens toward my backyard and that espaliers around the area where the fig trees area. Because there is a water faucet and tub on the garage wall, I am using grapes and the espaliered fruit tree limbs to completely conceal the back of the garage. There is a sidewalk there, and nothing can be planted three anyway.
Plums were used for the structure below, which is actually much smaller that what I am building:
Grapes are already planted on those corners, and I count on those vines and fruits to help fill in the spaces. I plan to run 1 x 2’s along the top to keep the shape more squared than round–more room-like than quonset hut-like.
Along the bottom, the area is framed with 2 x 8’s and at least until the area becomes too shady, I’ll use the area as both a raised garden and a wall garden, i.e.:
As the tree trunks become stronger, I can add stronger supports. I plan to create a sitting area beneath the space.
I’ll use my wood stove [which smokes too much for inside] to create an outdoor fireplace.