• Green and serene: My woodsy sitting area

    by  • September 18, 2017 • Garden, landscaping

    First exercise,…then relax……completing a ‘relaxing’ project!

    Friends, I’ve been stretching, doing knee bends and weight-lifting! At the gym? No,…my latest big garden project!
    Not too big a deal but I’ve been meaning to spiff up my sad, little sitting area under the big oak and started this week, by finding new chair cushions.. Serene and green…

    I’m in central California in the mountains. Those tree trunks belong to HUGE oaks that make this a very shady spot. There are a few sunny spots where I can hopefully plant sun flowers!

    The starting point,...new cushions

    The starting point,…new cushions

    This is a spot where I collapse after working in the garden. It faces east and gets sunny about 10am and again at about 4pm. The rest of the time it’s in shade. I wanted it to be carefree and very zen and peaceful…

    I posted this first photo on Flea Market Gardening and got 200 comments on how I should improve it and decorate!! I have SO many ideas now, my head is spinning! Such fun!

    See what I did!

    A clean slate and new steps

    A clean slate and new steps

    So, in the last two wonderful garden weather days, I’ve hosed down the furniture, leveled the circle (which we assembled with wall blocks several years ago) and added more blocks up the slope and down,.. for better steps and basically ….safety!  I find myself ‘running’ down this slope sometimes!. Adding these steps was heavy lifting but if you do this just go slow and easy!

    I also moved the Japanese maple around next to the tree because it was getting to tall for next to the path.  Right-in-the-eye level! It’s now to the right of me as I sit.  When I sit!


    Gravel laid

    I loved the circle motif we started with, but the rest?? Pretty forlorn! I had just started with some new and badly needed new chair cushions and you all said it needed a lot of COLOR!
    Last week I cleared the area, making a blank slate. The steps were woefully uneven and one more step was needed to keep me from ‘running’ down the hill.  The most challenging part was the digging out the steps and lifting the bags of gravel.


    Seeing these photos I can see ALL kinds of flaws and details I want to tweak,…but tomorrow…little by little.  Here, I’ve replaced all the furniture and though it’s old, it’s sturdy and comfortable and won’t be precious in the garden…

    One thing I’ve discovered. You NEED a comfy chair,…not just a bench, but a place where you can rest by leaning back.
    I also rounded up some containers to mull over and see what I should keep or move back.  I don’t want too much fuss or things that need much care,…as I intend to relax here, not putter.


    The fun part,…plant buying!

    I eased my sore muscles by shopping for plants!  After a fun trip to the nursery, I brought back some perennial Western Sword Ferns, Coral Bells, a Hosta, Autumn sage and annual Zinnias and Lobelia.  I’m hoping to add some color and interest to this balding, grassy spot.



    Back to work and planting here is a dream because the ground is soft and watered down a bit.  I sit to plant and try not to strain my back.  I’m trying a Hosta for the first time.  I love them but didn’t know if the deer would like them too!  I planted some creeping thyme just in front of the terracotta pots, meant for toad houses.  I’m hoping it will look as if thyme is spilling out.



    The lobelia went into the base under the Japanese Maple.  There’s a pot of Sedum ‘Vera Jameson’ in the green pot.



    Finished,..for now...

    Finished,..for now…


    I had two rusty cans, planted with Alberta Spruce, left over from Christmas, so moved them here with some vintage ceramic pots and an old bait bucket peeks out.


    The theme is green and serene,…so I rustled up more green pots and an old rusty sap bucket.



    These pillows were formerly n the windowseat indoors, but they add just the right bit of color for the summer!  That whirlygig was fixed by Tractor Man and will be hung on a branch somewhere within my sight.


    More functional and more relaxing...

    More functional and more relaxing…


    And I can sit! With Maggie, of course...

    And I can sit! With Maggie, of course…

    I stop to rest!  With Maggie, of course!  I’m still looking for a matching cushion for the ottoman…  The chair cushions were from at a local drug store and I was delighted, while I worked, to find that they are water and dirt resistant.  Things just brush off.  So get good easy care cushions.

    This is my retreat as it is today.  I did end up finding that cushion I needed for the footstool. I still have a few things I’d like to do and may even remove a few things for more simplicity.  I can’t stress more, the a comfortable chair is the key to a sitting area that you will really use,…and make sure there is room for two or more!


    My view...

    My view…

    Now each morning, I find myself wandering down here just at the time that the sprinkler drippers go on,…The days are hot now at the end of summer, and it’s peaceful and quiet,…just me and the birds.

    Project tasks and budget

    -Laid gravel on the circle surface
    –Dug out three new steps, one on the right and two going down
    Moved the Japanese maple to one side and planted lobelia in its pot
    -Found two pillows from indoors for color
    -Moved two rusty buckets with Alberta Spruce from the patio.
    -Planted native Ferns, Hosta, Coral Bells and Columbine.
    –Planted Lobelia in pots and along one side of the steps
    -Planted succulents and thyme on the sunny spots.
    -Planted thyme to look as if it was coming out of the toad house pots
    -Bought a glass butterfly windchime for sound, hung a wooden spinner for movement
    AND bought a $1. battery-powered personal fan!

    Total cost was $105. for cushions, plants and accessories.

    Green and serene

    Green and serene


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.