Transforming A Wilderness Into A Garden


We live in Ouray Colorado amidst a very shady, wooded area in a canyon. It was not an easy feat. It took me 5 years to establish.
This was before we put a new septic system in 5 years ago.
The entire view from the house was only long, sloping hillside, overgrown with weeds and burr dogs.
The new septic system required a 48 feet long, 12 feet deep and 8 feet wide leach field to be according to code.
So the entire land scape was torn up and the place looked like a new construction site.
Dirt and rocks had to be moved.
Not a green spot anywhere except the trees.
My first project was putting in a pond. I dug this with a shovel by hand and today it holds 1200 gallons of water and features a waterfall.
This is view from our deck and sun room to the pond now. Moving all that rock was not easy and even harder was to establish a good eco system for plants and fish.
Along side the deck and sun room. I learned what to plant and what not to plant. Deer are the main culprit since we have 8 acres of land and no fence and do not live in the city proper.
Some old tent sticks served to create this arbor. Not too swift but it's wonderful to see roses and hardy honeysuckle climbing up. I also put some stair steps in the sloping hillside to make it easier to walk down to where the leach field is. It's now all lawn area.
Fall in our garden and the scare crow is still standing after 3 winters.
Some old loud speakers make wonderful side tables on deck.
Iris needs a lot of water and I am starting to water early in the year when the snow is still on the ground in March. The reward every spring is simply a sight to see.
And here is my friend Adonis. One day, he almost followed me into the kitchen.
Instead of one huge hillside, I have now 3 levels. One running alongside the deck and sun room with the Iris and a little pathway installed. One beneath that with a fireplace. I just don't like the gravel and so I am in the process of removing it and I will sow grass instead. Easier to maintain simply moving it then plucking weeds out of the gravel.

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Carla K

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2 of 25 comments
  • Carla K
    on Jun 15, 2012

    I sure like to see the photos.

  • DORLIS
    on Jul 25, 2015

    This is great! I understand the work that went into it, I am on a sit and slide bluff over looking the Cuivre River in Missouri. My bluff is over 600 feet high and we had to build a terrace if we wanted a backyard. Now I find the soil is washing away from the deck posts so I am collecting rocks to build half round flower beds around them. I want to plant something with an extensive root system that will hold the soil. If we want to walk around the house, we have to put in stone steps on either side of the house. It is a constant battle with poison ivy and Japanese bush honeysuckle trying to take over. But I do have deer coming up on the deck and birds all over the place along with all the other critters. We have a mountain lion and a bear but them do not come close to the house and Clyde (lion) and I have a conversation when I go out for mail. He is usually about 2 electric poles from me (o a deer trail) and he sits and looks at meal and then saunters on across the road.

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