Northern California garden

Backyard Garden

Welcome! Our backyard is finally done! It has been a slow, steady project over the past year since we moved in. When we bought our house, the backyard / side yard was complete dirt and the builder was just finishing putting up the fence. Because of Tucker, we wanted to get the basics done and worry about the rest later. Initially we had artificial turf put in the center of the yard while the perimeter, next to the fence and our neighbors home, remained dirt. We also extended the concrete from the patio to include additional sitting and grilling areas.

I am in no means an expert when it comes to gardening and plants, but I have learned a lot while finishing this project. I spent hours perusing around our local nursery. getting inspiration from Pinterest / Instagram and studying the water and sunlight requirements for various plants. Once I had a design in mind, I sketched it out on paper and we slowly started chipping away.

These Nikko Blue Hydrangeas were the first plants we put in! They were planted in June of last year and I am proud to say they are now, finally, going strong. Amateur tip: do not plant hydrangeas in the heat of the summer. I almost fried them. In the Sacramento region, zone 9, these guys need water and shade in the hot afternoons. They are planted on the north side of this fence and only get about 3 hours of sun in the late morning / early afternoon. Hydrangea color can also vary based on soil acidity (blue = acidic soil, pink = alkaline soil), which is why some have a hint of purple to them.

We planted the Camellia (Nuccio’s Gem), which is to the right of the hydrangeas, in January, just in time for it to bloom. This particular variety is filled with beautiful white flowers in the winter / early spring and keeps its green foliage year-round. Camellias also prefer partial shade (morning sun and afternoon shade) especially when the plants are young. Plus, they need slightly acidic soil or can show signs of stress. This makes them a great fit to plant next to blue hydrangeas.

We have a very long stretch against our neighbors’ home that gets varying amounts of sunlight due to the pitch of our roof. This made it a bit tricky during the planning process but I wanted to keep things feeling very cohesive so… Surprise! More hydrangeas! This white variety will stay white with varying soil pH and bloom all summer long. Although these are considered White Oakleaf Hydrangeas, some flowers have a very slight pink or light green tint to them. These are also planted in an area that gets late morning sun and afternoon shade.

Since the view out from our patio consists largely of the side of our neighbors home, we wanted to have a focal point that added height. Insert this fountain! I love its simplicity and the patina detail. Plus the sound of the fountain is so relaxing.

Overall, I wanted a cottage / classic feel to our yard, while still embracing a California style since these plants need to survive the hot Sacramento summers. We opted for Iceberg Roses and French Lavender to fill most of the perimeter. Roses require pruning but will yield blooms from spring into the fall (based on your zone and when frost occurs). We also added a Lady Orchid Peony near the hydrangeas in partial shade. The Lady Orchid produces light pink blooms, and although we only had three flowers this year, that is very normal for its first year in the ground. The only downside to peonies is their blooms don’t last too long, which is why we didn’t add more in our garden. I love that the majority of spring, summer and early into fall, our garden will be bursting with blooms.

Thanks again for stopping by!