This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

August 30, 2013

Providing access for maintenance of your garden

One of the first mistakes I made when I started my garden here was to plant absolutely everywhere. At random. I was just pleased to see things growing "like a jungle". And then I realized that I hadn't left room for me to get in there to do maintenance.

So here is what is behind the scenes, which I call the "wiener dog highway". It allows me access to the plants from behind, as well as access to the watering line. It's just wide enough for me to get back there (and for a wiener dog to run!) and it really doesn't show from the front.

I learned about this by watching a gardening show years ago that described the correct width of a perennial border, which is six feet. And after I learned that, I started to see all types of gardens designed like that. Think about it, it allows someone to reach in three feet from both sides without stepping into the garden.

Wiener dog highway east.
In addition to giving room for maintenance, keeping the plants away from the block wall helps them. The air circulation helps, and just keeping away from hot concrete is good for plants, too. Did I mention that it gets HOT here in Phoenix?

Of course, from the front, you don't see any of this, at least I hope not. That's one of the tricks of making a garden like this work. The width of most of the planting areas is six feet or less, and where it gets too wide, I put a stepping stone so I know where to step. You never, ever walk into a garden bed. Nor should you stroll across someone's dining room table, by the way.

I walk the wiener dog highway regularly to keep it clear, especially now after the rains, when everything is growing well. It's not a place to visitors to the garden, it's for authorized personnel only!

View from the front.
The flagstone path is for visitors, as is the table and chairs.

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