Backyard Fire Pit + Path Inspiration - May 2021

Last month, I posted some photos showing off the new shape of our backyard beds - in a curvilinear form - and talked about how these were the 'final form' of the beds.  The idea that this was the final shape/form of the beds lasted about three weeks.  We decided we need to add another area and cut out even more turf.  Before we talk about what we're doing, let's first understand the backstory, current state and a little bit of inspiration that Nat found that we're trying to bring to life.

We've had a sort-of DIY firepit area in the far backyard that was made up of wood chips that I picked up from the Village Mulch Pit and bricks that we scavenged from our neighbor's house when they tore it down.  You can kind of see that area in this post about some hostas and this post where I showed off the latest firewood rack back there.   That is in one back corner.  And the kids' trampoline is in the other back corner.  We also have a gate in one corner that the kids use to come/go to the neighbors and have plans to build a shed (SheShed?) back there, too.  Those two things go together (Gate + shed) because we don't want to block the gate WITH the shed.

There are a couple of other elements that have been hanging around my mind in regards to these areas in the far back of the yard - the first is the idea of a garden nook - or creating a little bit of the yard that you can't quite see from the patio.  Also, I talked about the idea of a Moon Gate and I've held on to the ntion of a little garden path in our yard as something I want to bring to life.  

Now, couple all of those elements (nook, moongate, path) and the idea of sorting out the shed/firepit and trampoline area and I start to think about the location of everything.  Our yard has some elevation/gradient across the back with the far northwest corner being what I think might be the highest point on the property and sloping downward as you move to the south.  Also, the area where we put the aboveground pool last year is SUPER FLAT.   That has me thinking that I should swap the location of the fire pit and trampoline.  Look at the photo showing the beds here.  Imagine trampoline in top right corner and making a bed in the top left. 

The inspiration photo that Nat shared for the fire pit area that she wants shows a gravel fire pit seating area, surrounded by some planting beds on the border and a little wavy walkway getting back to the fire pit.  See it here below.  There is a lot to like from this, right? 

The things that jump out to me:  First, the pit being an organic shape. Bound by beds.  And then the path.  Feels like there's something in this inspiration that MIGHT be how we can bring to life that garden path that I've been dreaming of over the years

So, I grabbed a photo and tried to annotate what this new area could look like for us.  Red line = new curvilinear bed shape.  Blue lines = edge of gravel path + fire pit.  See below for my initial thinking - showing the little path running behind the large Oak tree leading to this new firepit.

Going this route - running a path behind that large Oak tree does a couple of things:  First, it totally BLOWS UP my plan for "Priority Area #1" for this year.  I had Allium and Ferns planned to put there, but I'm not sure it makes sense to plant those knowing that I'd be laying down a path.  I don't think I'd do the path this year - maybe focus JUST on the creation of the bed and the fire pit area - which would kind of get me a 'get out of jail free card' on planting that area, right?  

But, putting the path behind that tree DOES allow us to connect the path to the gate on that side - a really nice bonus.   It would also force me to either dig up (or destroy) those daffodils that barely bloom.  It also creates a little area where I could plant ONE of the larger Canadian Hemlocks that the plan calls for in this area.  See below for the green oval location for an evergreen:


There are, however, a bunch of things to sort out.   First, the edging.  How do I properly edge the area between gravel and mulch.  Then, transplanting things:  teardown fern is back there.  Maybe relocating it to one of the new border beds gives it new life?   Also have that tiny Oak tree that I planted last year and the broken Lavender Twist Redbud that likely need to be moved. 

I have a plan to try to lay down a gravel path on the side of our house - just a temporary (couple of seasons) solve.  I'm thinking that I should plan out the gravel needs for this area and then plan to get it all delivered at the same time.  Off I go to solve that part of the yard. 

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