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I discussed ideas and plans to change the hardscape of a certain “secret” garden in the previous Passion for Details post. I wanted to simplify the color palette and eliminate an annoying texture, but was not sure what construction method would suit our needs best.

Writing about it helped me explore various options and make a decision. I went with dry construction and picked the contractor who was going to do it the fastest. I love the result; both color and texture changes are dramatic yet subtle.

As soon as the installers left, I called my friend garden designer Cheryl Lerner who graciously worked with me on the planting last year. It turned out to be a wonderful collaboration. Cheryl is the artist who creates fantastic “canvases” employing color and texture of plants.

On the one hand, I was really excited, on the other, a little nervous inviting Cheryl. She hadn’t seen the garden for a very long time and I was afraid that it might not be up to her standards. I don’t necessarily neglect it, but I am just an amateur. Besides, I am much better versed in hardscape, than landscape.

One of the problems with the original walkways was the way they added yet another color and texture

garden, hardscape, color, texture

The before “soft” version of the garden hardscape

The new irregular shaped stone (Arizona Moss) installation went on without a glitch. I did not want the pieces cut to fit together. Instead, I was hoping for a very rugged, natural look.

Having purchased the right materials and having hired an expert to do the installation, I placed my trust in the Universe and let go. Needless to say, I worked alongside, just in case my input was required.

This time, I wanted the hardscape to blend in with the landscape, for the garden to feel homogeneous

garden, hardscape, color, texture

Setting heavy slabs of stone in the bed of sand

The workers cleared out existing tiny pebbles of “pool sand” and took out a layer of dirt underneath. The walkways had been originally defined with 4” steel tubing. The installation was quite exhilarating. With every new slab added, the garden was transforming into a coherent whole, where color and texture of hardscape as well as landscape were working together!

garden, hardscape, color, texture

Setting thick slices of a tree trunk and applying DG

Well. Of course, there had to be something unusual added to the mix. Yes, there was another hardscape component planned. I opted to remove gravel and redo the dining table area. Instead of stone, I wanted to use thick slices of a tree trunk mixed in with DG. Thankfully, that worked out as well.

Cheryl approved the changes I made to the hardscape. She was very complementary, actually. What a relief! She came and took some photographs of the garden; I am featuring her shots in the cover image for this post. In a couple of days, I received a note from Cheryl, saying that my “garden kicked ass.” Hm… Do you agree? If you could improve on it, would you also focus on color and texture? I look forward to your feedback. Please post your comments here.


  • Mia S Kazovsky
    June 16, 2016

    I wholeheartedly agree that the garden does, in fact, “kick ass.” I love all of the design elements that you applied to make this garden come to life. All of the textures and colors work so wonderfully together. I think that your decades of experience as an architect and innate capacity for design made it a cinch for you to marry so many different elements. I think that an amazing thing about the DIY Ally concept is that you can lend your artistic eye to people who want to do something themselves. Not everyone can throw together a bunch of unrelated materials and have such a successful outcome, but with your advice, it is possible!

    • Mia S Kazovsky
      June 16, 2016

      Oh by the way, the tree trunks are my favorite part!

    • Alla DIY Ally
      June 16, 2016

      Honey, flattery will get you everywhere!! Seriously, it’s so gratifying to be respected by one’s own children. It’s the highest form of recognition!

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