After three years of reconfiguring and plotting and despairing, I finally talked someone into helping me move the large chunks of flagstone, and bring me a pickup trucks worth of dirt to begin operation "Hide My Neighbors Ugly Chickenwire Fence" and operation "Plant Something, ANYTHING, In the front portion of the Parking Garden."
Let me explain why exactly things have gotten to this point. The house next to me, with the 2 story garage...yes that one...2 feet from my property line wasn't always as big as it is today. In the mid 90s someone got the great idea to nearly double the house size and include monster garage. First it goes against every historic preservation rule the City has, and likely got done with a little under the table dealing, but SECOND it created an enormous draining issue onto my property, specifically in the parking garden. Those of you who have witnessed a coastal southern downpour know how violent and copiously wet these storms can be, and massive massive amounts of water come cascading both through the downspouts and directly off the roof during these squalls. This has left erosion issues like I've never seen in a backyard. All of the dirt is gone, and most of the tree roots are exposed 3 feet below grade in a 10ft by 5 ft area. At some point in the intervening years, probably to stop further damage, and maintain several trees in an upright position, someone got the wise idea of coating the area in huge fieldstone slabs. And, I have to say, it worked. But after even more intervening years, some additional erosion, and new owners on both sides, the area looks somewhat like an ancient crypt which has been broken into on multiple occasions and vampires and other creepy crawlies are running around back there. Really gross 4-8 legged creepies.
This entire winter my neighbors have been redoing their house (ripping out rotting wood etc), with some disastrous effects to that side of my garden, resulting in the most hideous and (probably also not city legal) long and thick PVC piping running along the house, of course on my side, so I have to look at it (grrrr). There is going to be a LOT of hiding of that wall going on this spring. But, back to the point: the drainage issue has been mitigated. Not completely solved, but solved enough to really dig into the parking garden, after I paid for enough dirt to actually dig in, of course!
So, I sort of forgot the befores...but here's stage 1 afters of the front parking garden bed. Sure, sure, I know its a stretch to call a bed of dirt a garden, but if you had seen the befores you'd be raising your red solo cup to me.. that is 2400 pounds of dirt.
And just look at the stack of slate pieces previously used to ameliorate the original problem. And of course, yesterday in anticipation I had to go on a massive plant buying spree. 3 azaleas, 1 camellia, 1 autumn fern, 1 star jasmine, 1 gardenia and a holly. Six pack of beer. Lots of the big stuff, the bones.
Azaleas Hino Crimson are already in..as is the jasmine vine to start covering the chickenwire. I am sooooo tempted to put some ivy on there....