My Failed Attempt at Creating an Outdoor Courtyard Oasis

I had big hopes and dreams for my little courtyard oasis off our back screened in porch. Sadly, my attempt failed miserably and I’m back to square one.

My vision was big and my hopes even bigger. My dream for a courtyard oasis surrounded by boxwoods, hydrangeas, and pea gravel didn’t turn out how I had envisioned. What went wrong? Let’s go back to last summer and I’ll try to explain my vision.

Many of you know that we embarked on a big outdoor patio project last year (2018) in the backyard. We ripped up a brick patio that was falling apart and layed travertine pavers on top of a new cement base. You can follow along on the progress by clicking on the links below

Hardscape Design – Replacing Outdoor Patio Steps for Safety Reasons (Part 4)

Hardscape Design – Laying a Concrete Foundation for the Backyard Patio (Part 3)

Hardscape Design – Outdoor Fireplace Demolition (Part 2)

Hardscape Design – Patio Demolition (Part 1)

The patio is pretty much done and looking great. I still need to get you pictures in an upcoming post.

The area to the right of the patio…’s not looking great..not even looking good…ok let’s be honest…it looks like crap! How did this happen?! Let me take you back to last year.

MkCUrZB0TQ67FsISYqeragThis is how the space off the porch looked before we started any demo. There were 20 or so boxwoods lined in a curved pattern leading from the porch to the patio.

n9icYckKTCq9cRmfiSdr2wA large crape myrtle shares the space and provides a lot of shade to the back of the house. We have given the tree a good pruning and it’s coming back nicely this year, check out “Pruning” and “Limbing Up” Crape Myrtle Trees.

IMG_5189This is how the patio and the walkway looked before we began the project.

v2l2wdT+QZ+aT0al1mZTbgThe walkway is falling apart and the bricks are crumbling. The boxwoods have grown so big and have overtaken the space. The area has been neglected for years and is in need of a makeover.

EujJpJzYTv2rUdbfnr0JmQDemo of the walkway begins.

m4fsaAMpS6GCPJZa3pUBjgAll the bricks are pulled up and the rubble is removed.

XNxsjAcKSdi3NoD4dPeyuQThe boxwoods and a few large rhododendrons are left in place for the time being. How am I going to redo this space to make it look cohesive and be a place we would want to hang out?

I talk to my landscapers and we agree on a design for the space. I get a computerized image and I love it! How cute is this!!!???

rkbbpHDvR3yfbypqUNh2cwWe begin the process of transplanting the boxwoods. We want to move the bushes and enclose them around the crape myrtle tree.

AsnWv0n0TmCE8RY87s%YjgThe process begins. The boxwoods are carefully dug up and moved to their new home. At this point I’m feeling good.

QET5kLuSQcabFTasa0nU9gThe boxwoods seem to be handling the transplant well.

sil8mf6QRO69XQGmIQdhWwThe border is starting to take shape and I’m happy about my decision to move them and excited to see the end result.

oH4vzZhwTDOPOspMIfdAhQThere are gaps between the bushes, but that is to be expected. Once sunlight hits them, they will fill out nicely..but I am told that it will take a couple years for the root system to establish and new growth to appear.

EyZXsGJQTJWxZ2LXC4L65wThen old man winter rolls in. And we get a lot of ice and snow. Many of the bushes fall over due to the weak root system and the weight of the ice.

utbwhZXOSryTwk04f+AkdwMany don’t make it thru the winter. It’s time to reassess my plan and figure out if these bushes are worth saving. If the boxwoods aren’t going to make it, my entire plan is going to fall apart. It’s not worth spending money on the rest of the design if the boxwoods are dying.

cMid3bY2QK6fkPeAaepBUwI posted on my Instagram stories and asked for your opinion. Many thought I should try to save the bushes. I call in my gardeners several times to straighten them up but several continue to fall over and go downhill. Eventually I made the decision to get rid of them all 😞

jNa+KaAMSsCMPs2On3QRRgAnd that my friends is the story of my little garden oasis debacle. All the boxwoods have been removed and I’m back at square one. Am I glad I tried to save them? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes. Was it a costly mistake? 😬 Yes.

Now we start on Plan B. I still love the design my landscapers came up with for the space. I have to rework a few things since my budget took a hit with the failed transplanting attempt and I’ll have to come up with creative ways to make the design work. But I am confident I can do it. Stay tuned and thanks for following along.

Have you had any failed landscaping attempts? How did you rectify the situation?



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17 thoughts on “My Failed Attempt at Creating an Outdoor Courtyard Oasis

    1. Oh thank you, aren’t you sweet!! I hope the space will turn out as envisioned, with a bit of luck on my side 😉

  1. It’s going to be a great outdoor space to relax from what I saw on your 3D design. I’m sure you’ll come out with something, I’ll wait! 🙂

  2. It was such a bad winter. no wonder they didn’t survive. I’ve lost a rose bush and a Rose of Sharon tree. Your design is nice – now what else could you plant that would grow quickly and provide shelter and privacy. I’ve had luck with Double Pink Knock-Out Roses – I planted them all around my deck front and back – not only are they hardy but they flower all summer until fall.

    1. Hi Joni! Yes you are right, the winter was bad and the winds didn’t help either. We have knockout roses planted in the front of our house and love them! Yes they bloom a lot and grow quickly..good idea!

      1. Mine are bubblegum pink – what colour do you have Denise? I am sure in your warmer weather they grow taller than mine, so they might provide you with some privacy.

      2. They are pink as well, not sure the name though. My landscapers planted them last year and I am surprised at how big they are already after one season!

      3. I think there is only one shade of pink, but I call it a bubblegum pink, as opposed to a darker-pink, as I have to be careful when I get hanging baskets not to get a shade which clashes. They are so easy care and I love that they are repeat bloomers.

      4. They are very pretty. Mine have these long shoots sprouting out, do yours?

      5. If they are red, the long shoots are new growth, but we’ve had a bad spring, cool, little sun, lots of rain, so I don’t see as many as usual, and my bushes are shorter than usual for this time of year. Hopefully they will catch up.

      6. I hope they do catch up, they are really lovely! Hope you are doing well Joni!

      7. Yes I’m doing fine…..picking out paint now, and starting to empty the kitchen cupboards and intending to keep only what I use or love! Starting to get excited, now that most of the contractor/appliance stuff is lined up.

      8. Great strategy. I used to keep mismatched coffee cups that I collected and they went with me from house to house. I had so many of them and never had enough room, so off they went! Excited for you, it’s going to look beautiful!

  3. Sorry it didn’t work out, darn winter weather! Would Laurels work? We use to have a beautiful hedge on the coast and they were so thick and hardy and grow so fast. Maybe there is an option to the type of hedge? Whatever you do, I’m sure it will be fantastic – best of luck!

    1. That is a great suggestion, thank you. The space is presently empty, waiting for some love. I believe they grow quickly too, will definitely think about that!

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