You must begin at the beginning

molly preturbed

This is molly being perturbed, I think it’s a funny face she makes!


When I write about the projects we’ve been doing to our home, the Casa de Paz y Amor,(depending on the week, sometimes it’s the casa de chaos!) I normally have the after picture. However, in this case it will take too long to reach the after picture! I’m talking about the garden spaces, the outdoor spaces. When you work on a garden, there really isn’t a finished product. It’s an ever growing, ever changing process, which I find comforting. This means, we must begin at the beginning and as things develop, I’ll write more. I was searching in my archives for the earliest photos of the back yard and only came across a few of them. At the time, I was so focused on doing the work needed on the inside of the house.

Casa de Paz y Amor has four distinct outdoor areas. It took a little while to build the structures to complete the boundaries of each one of these. The first, is the front yard. Actually, we haven’t begun the structures for the front yard, but the house defines that space for now. The second, is the backyard. The third, is the courtyard we built on the side of the house, where the bathroom has a sliding glass door, that went to the side driveway. Since it was a confusing space,  I decided to turn a negative into a positive. The fourth, is the courtyard for the kiddos side of the house. Later on, I’ll share about how the other spaces are coming along. Today, I’ll share how the back yard is going. The goal in the back yard up until now, was to get it cleaned up and to put up a privacy fence so the kiddo could have his own courtyard. It’s been a challenge. Here’s what we started with…

You can see the back yard thru the room that has become my studio. There’s a cement fence that surrounds the yard, but in addition there was a strange wood and metal fence that I think was used as a dog run.


studiobackyard beginning

It went three quarters of the way around the backyard.

backyard beginnning 2


First we started to take apart the fence.



Molly helped of course.

backyard beginning 3

It took a lot of muscle, it was well cemented in place and the wire was buried deeply.

fence coming down

We worked at it


piece by piece for months. On one side of the yard is a cemented area and a storage barn.

I of course, decided that color was needed, but couldn’t decide on the color.



then… I painted the cement wall, with outdoor porch paint in this greyish blue color. We hung our kayaks on the wall. There’s an odd circular, fake stone thing in the cement walkway. I think it might have at one time, been a pond that they covered up. I decided that, it would make a good fire pit area in the future.

first summer backyard


This is how it looked most of last summer. I wasn’t ready to do any planting, so I began adding potted plants.

first summer backyard 2

Next, I think I’ve decided on the color for the barn, but we’ll see… Isn’t molly pretty with that color behind her though? She thought so.

molly the beautiful backyard 1


We live in a semi arid desert, however my husband is from where you have lawns and he missed having grass so much, that I shoveled several inches of gravel from this small patch and put in some grass. It’s struggling now, because the dogs love it also. However, it’s pretty tough and is coming back without a lot of help and not much watering. We got the sod from a local sod farm, so it’s more suited to our area.

patch of grass 1

Last month, we started putting up the fencing to mark off a courtyard, for the kiddos side. This way he has outdoor space, that’s his own. I really think that, having outdoor space is good for anyone’s health. I’m happy that, not only does he have his own apartment, but he also has some yard space. That’s his courtyard area behind the gate. I’ll share pictures of his courtyard project another time.

averys courtyard fence 1

Next< I stained it and added fencing to an area of the cement wall that was short. Molly was yelling at the neighbors too much. Molly’s very unhappy about the new fence…. but, I explained to her, that one must be polite, in order to share a short fence with a neighbor. Since she isn’t polite we had to put up a taller fence, and now she’ll just have to find other things to do. (she’s chasing leaves now)

averys courtyard fence stained

My goal in this corner, is to eventually put a pergola over the hammock. In the meantime, it’s still a nice spot to hang out. I’ve planted some clematis vines in the wine barrel planters. The fencing to the right of the hammock, is the back of the fence for the kiddos courtyard. Since he and I both love roses, I planted climbing roses on my side  of the fence, so that they will climb up to where he will see them as well. Currently, his health isn’t good enough for him to take care of too many plants.hammock corner beginning 1

The latest thing we added this spring, are a couple of evergreen trees.

trees backyard 1

Growing things here in New Mexico is a little tricky. It’s always about the right plant. The ground here is different, we have little precipitation, the sun and wind are harsh. It’s important to provide structure to help trees along. Then, once they’re established they help with fighting ground erosion, and provide shade for other plants, which means less watering for the plants. That makes all of us happy here in New Mexico. Also, it’s best to plant trees now, so that they can get their roots in the ground before the hot sun comes along. While, I’ve had some experience growing things here in New Mexico, I’m of course no expert, so sometimes it’s just trial and error for me. It’s always a learning experience. I’m excited to be at the point, where I can begin to plant. However, there is still so much more work to do! I’ll keep you updated as we go along. I wish you happy gardening this year!

trees, fences, molly’s not impressed…hee hee

molly preturbed



2 thoughts on “You must begin at the beginning”

  1. Lovely! Molly will get used to it. It’s going to be wonderful when you finish!

  2. sophiessigil says:

    When I saw the fences I immediately thought of roofing it, building a shed or shelter in it and getting chickens! I know nothing about looking after chickens though, so that might not have been practical for them. I love ehat you have done with it so far. The yard looks so much for friendly and inviting now.

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