Some friends, Mark & Patricia, had asked me to re-landscape their courtyard adjacent to their condo in Des Moines. It is a nice small space that was really fun to transform, only taking about 6 hours and $300 to go from overgrown ivy mess...
...to an inviting courtyard garden, complete with a raised vegetable bed.
To make the raised vegetable bed, we got some 6-inch wide by 8-foot long cedar decking boards and stakes to hold them in place. We cut one of the boards in 2-foot lengths for the shorter sides. We put the boards into position and filled the space with eight bags of topsoil. I gave them a few starts of eggplant, basil, Swiss chard, and a watermelon, and they also bought a small rosemary, cherry tomato, pepper and cucumber plant to add to the mix.
We planted the rest of the vegetable bed with some seeds: Beans, carrots, radishes, cilantro and basil.
Here is another "before" shot:
And this is the final product:
We also bought several bags of Cedar Grove Compost to cover the bare soil. This provides slow-release fertilizer and microorganisms to keep the plants healthy. It also helps minimize water loss and keeps the weeds out.
There were already some bricks outlining a pathway to the gate, so we got six bags of pea gravel and used the existing bricks to make a new, nicer pathway.
Here is a list of the ornamental plants we added:
Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly everlasting)
Brugmansia suaveolens (Angel trumpet)
Canna musifolia x 2
Canna 'Tropical Yellow'
Carex pendula x 2
Colocasia esculenta x 2
Fargesia rufa (Clumping bamboo) x 2
Lilium 'Stargazer (Stargazer lily) x 2
Musa basjoo (Hardy banana)
Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nana' (Dwarf mondo grass)
Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' (Black mondo grass)
Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese spurge)
Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’ x 2
Sarcococca humilis x 2
Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'
Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine)
Trachycarpus fortunei (Windmill palm)
Weigela 'Pink Java'
And the finishing touch...a nice little water feature. Ahhh...