Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Marie’s garden in California

Our backyard in San Jose, where we love to entertain or just relax and take in all the colors & textures.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marie Stager

Today’s photos are from Marie Stager in San Jose, California. Marie says, “When we first moved into this house in 1992 there were mainly redwood trees, pine trees, birch trees, lawn, a lot of large agapanthus. I didn’t know a lot about plants back then, but I did know what I did and didn’t like.  It wasn’t long before I realized that gardening really was my passion, so I began taking classes and soon after started a landscape design business (that was 10 years ago).

Our backyard in San Jose, where we love to entertain or just relax and take in all the colors & textures.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marie Stager

“Our backyard has basically been my playground.  My goal has been to create a beautiful landscape that is also drought tolerant and low maintenance (isn’t that what everyone strives for?). It’s finally there. Other than some weed-pulling and deadheading, it’s pretty easy to maintain.

Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ (Japanese Maple), with Camellia japonica ‘Kramer’s Supreme’ and white calla lilies.  The bulbs weren’t in this area when we first moved here – there were some planted in other areas of the yard by the previous homeowner.  Not sure how the majority ended up in this bed, but I absolutely love the results.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marie Stager

“We’re in California so growing citrus is a must, and we would LOVE to add other fruit trees to the yard, but it’s very difficult to keep the squirrels at bay. One side yard is devoted to vegetables and herbs, and a beautiful lilac bush that has grown from a small cutting which originated from a plant my grandmother had many years ago.

Geranium maderense under the redwoods.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marie Stager

“We used to think we needed to plant something tall to hide our garden shed, until I realized that painting it the same color as the house and adding a path would actually make it a more inviting area – we’re very happy with how it turned out. The flagstone used for the path was leftover from our front yard project.  Future plans for the yard include reducing the lawn (to conserve water) and adding outdoor kitchen and firepit areas. We love entertaining and those elements would certainly add to the enjoyment.”

Wow, great job, Marie! Thanks for sharing it with us! **check out the captions for more info**

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Marie Stager

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/07/2012

    Marie, your garden seems to have a very serene and tranquil quality. I'm sure it's a wonderful backdrop for good conversation and convivial laughter.And, it effectively shows off your design skills to potential clients who want their own outdoor spaces to be elegant and tasteful.
    Love those clumps of geranium maderense...gonna' have to go do a google search and see if they'd grow happily here in my southeast garden.

  2. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/07/2012

    Beautiful and inviting! Like meander1, I am captivated by the geranium and am crushed to see that it is a zone9-er. One reference said it is monocarpic. Do you keep replanting it or has it performed as a perennial for you? Just a magical plant!

  3. tractor1 06/07/2012

    The red brick in herringbone fits in beautifully with the lawn but the flagstone definitely looks like leftovers, I'd continue the red brick and use the leftover flagstone elsewhere, maybe to build a planter where it's used in front. And what's really a mismatch is all that river stone, I just don't get it, but I'd get rid of it. I'd have made the shed roof match that shade of red brick (the silver gray shingle clashes with the taupe shed) and eliminate all that white on the shed door, it's too, too much, like a target... makes the shed the entire focal point... draws the eye so one doesn't even see any plants... in fact I'd make all the shed trim a darker shade of taupe, encluding the gutter and downspout. Between the garish shed, the alien river stone, and left over flagstone there are just too many visual distractions, it's like there are no plants. I do like the privacy fence, the shed should have matched... I really like those last two pictures. You need to plant something tall *behind* the shed, to hide the neighbor and that utility pole. If you like citrus perhaps a kumquat or two in front of the shed would work. Naturally these are just my opinions.

  4. olympic_mtn_gardener 06/07/2012

    I love the colors and textures in your backyard, and the garden shed is an adorable focal point. Well done!

  5. steible 06/07/2012

    Looks really pretty and peaceful. What is the border between the rock and the lawn made of? I would love to copy it.

  6. RenoDiva 06/07/2012

    So nice to see photos of a yard the size of mine! So many of the photos are of such huge yards that most of what I see is merely to yearn for, not translatable into a much smaller space.

  7. tractor1 06/07/2012

    RenoDiva, don't you know that size doesn't matter... but seriously, a small yard can be landscaped just as beautifully as a large yard, the only real difference is the amount of labor and I'll assume that you're not a professional landscape designer. I had a great uncle who the NY Mirror featured in their Sunday magazine section, he lived in a tiny Brownsville apartment in Brooklyn but created the most amazing gardens in his kitchen window in toothpaste tube caps, thimbles, and other small containers, he gardened with a magnifying glass... planted common fruit seeds, found tiny plants, lichens, and mosses in vacant city lots, used slivers of mirrors and broken colored glass for ponds and streams, and landscaped from a sewing kit. I'm talking some sixty years ago.

  8. pattyspencer 06/08/2012

    Love the photos of the flowers! I especially like the geraniums - they are gorgeous! I have to echo Tractor1 tho on the different types of edging. I'd pick the one I like the most and stick with it.

  9. alwaysinthegdirt 06/15/2012

    Thanks for all the positive feedback everyone. I'd like to address the comments on the hard materials in the yard. The brick patio was created by the previous homeowner, we just haven't decided what to replace it with yet, most likely the same flagstone as the path to the shed (to match our front yard). The river rock edging is there to hide a trench that holds a drain pipe (also there from previous homeowner). And the edging is a composite bender board. Up to now, I've concentrated more on the plantings in the yard than the hardscape. And the shed? We love our shed, and painted it the same colors as our house...we get many compliments on that area of the yard. Behind the shed we have planted pittosporum tenuifolium that are only 3 years old but will grow tall enough to hide neighbors, etc. As for the geranium maderense, they reseed...and reseed....and reseed!

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