It is utilitarian -- a way to get you from the front to the backyard. It was never meant to be a garden space.
But as I pass by the grasses and shrubs planted along the walk, I realize I am in a special place. It is green and cool, a quiet passage as I go back and forth busily between gardens.
Even though I know exactly what is around the bend in the walk, I love the perspective as it opens up at the curve.
This first shot is going from the garage toward the backyard.
I put in grasses and dwarf Alberta spruces to hide the A/C units. Not very imaginative, I just wanted to hide things.
Then one day I realized that the utilitarian screening was a beautiful mix of green textures and forms. I think this looks like a garden, intentional and designed, even though it was never planned as one:
I am no big fan of dwarf Alberta spruces, at least not the way they are used in most landscapes. They are too symmetrical, and look funereal, like they were made only to flank headstones in a graveyard. But you can't get a better dense evergreen screen for a very small area, and so I planted them around the utilities against the side of the house.
And they look wonderful now, mixed in among arching miscanthus and a couple dwarf fothergillas:
There was so much to hide at first. I just wanted to get from one end to the other without having to look at anything along the way. In the beginning, this is what I had to work with. This was six years ago:
And now, looking in the same direction toward the driveway and the house across the street, I am in no hurry to pass by. I stop and look around.
And in case you think it is my camera angles that disguise the A/C units, this shot shows that you can no longer see any utilities along the side of the house*:
In a few weeks the plants in this narrow strip will turn vivid colors as the fothergillas turn kaleidescope shades of orange. The hydrangeas will temper that with their soft rosy brown panicles. There's a blackhaw viburnum in the middle that becomes wine red.
I'll post pictures when that happens. Because, you know, this walkway is a real garden, worthy of a lingering stroll, deserving of some pictures, and just a nice way to get from here to there.
* the air-conditioning repair technician is not happy with this.