12 steps, from paper to party time
1. Draw up a basic design with separate divisions for dining or just relaxing.
2. Order paving materials, plants, and furnishings.
3. Remove any dead or unwanted plants. Strip sod from old lawns.
4. Form berms around fences to create a raised planting area with greater visual interest. Use the flat area near the house for lawn and beds.
5. Enrich the soil. The remodel team amended the existing heavy clay soil with sandy loam, lime, and mushroom compost.
6. Place stonework, including boulders. The team laid basalt slabs as steps leading up to a bench.
7. Install electrical or irrigation lines.
8. Put down paths.
9. Lay out all trees and shrubs atop the soil to find the best arrangement, then plant them.
10. Move in furnishings and structures such as playhouses or storage sheds.
11. Install sod lawn.
12. Spread mulch over the beds. The remodel team here used dark hemlock bark mulch. Relax and enjoy the garden.