Below is our yard, taken about two weeks ago. And looking at it like this it seems pitiful and small. But we do what we can in a small space in an urban setting. If you can believe it we actually have one of the biggest plots in the neighborhood. Unfortunately we rent, otherwise the entire yard would be a delightful work in progress. The back half of the yard is for the tenants upstairs and is in quite horrible shape, we happily gave it up to them in exchange for the front half with grass and sunlight (but less privacy and much less space). The soil in the back is compact and covered with terribly ill placed and overgrown trees, for example a willow in the center of the yard which shades almost the entire back half and drops sticks all year long. Luckily they have a dog who dosen't mind the yard and loves the space.
We make our space workable by having minimal play "things" for Oliver (if you can imagine this small area used to host a huge double wooden glider, a large yellow slide, this small orange slide, a cube plastic toddler climber, the dog house, the dog, and two large Adirondack chairs. To say it was cramped was an understatement). For Ollie we have a little dirt/sand box for him, a slide, and now we have an old tire and we're getting some logs, and rocks for him to play and explore with. Hopefully he can soon explore bugs, plants and flowers too when they are big and hearty and not so fragile. At the moment he loves to "brush" the red leaf lettuce or drive his truck in it. I tolerate it for a little while until he gets too rough and starts destroying it. For the adults we obviously have the garden beds and a clothes line that is on a pulley/cleat system so we can bring it down to hang and bring back up out of the way when we are drying the clothes. I also have a big plastic bin to keep gardening tools in and a beach chair for lounging in.
The front of the yard is south facing and gets an abundance of sun the majority of the day. Taking this photo I am in my living room and this basically captures the entirety of it, with exception of the hose directly under me and the gate to the right. The first front bed is host to carrots (purple and yellow heirloom), leeks, radishes (which we picked the first one today!). The second middle bed provides flowers and herbs. Nasturtiums, cosmos, marigolds, calendula, lavender, cilantro, sage, and basil. This bed is going to be bursting with life and maybe a little over crowded, but I was careful in planning it so I am hopeful there will be enough room for it all. The last bed (the north east corner) has red leaf lettuce and Kentucky Wonder and Black Valentine beans (which will be trellised). The back larger bed will be my pumpkin and squash experiment. I am going to construct an a-frame trellis and grow them up with 1x2's and trellis netting. Behind that bed, along the front of the ugly temporary fencing is a line of sunflowers, which are currently about three inches high. In the far corners I also scattered some wild flower seeds. I took a chance with these perennials because the seed packets were half off. If I later regret this eh, so be it. I think in my quest for beauty I might have gone a little overboard. Of course I have a few plants on the front porch, some mint in a large pot and Ron is growing hot pepper in pots too. I can't wait for all of this to finally pop. Not only will there be more beauty in our yard, but I can stop following my toddler around saying, "don't dig up the baby plants, they need to grow".
This is the sad balk half of the yard, which goes back and behind the house. I have my compost bin back there nearest the back door. I think the yellow slide is nicely nestled away amid the trees for the five year old. They have plans to build a tree house, which I think will be a happy addition to this drab space.