What My Patio Looks Like Now


First I have to show you this gorgeous butterfly enjoying my Johnny Jump Ups. 

Now I'm going to show you my patio, a bit at a time. I'd love to hear any ideas for my patio now that I don't have two trees.

Here we go...


Yeah, across the alley is the ugly back of a strip mall. Not too enthusiastic about that view. The two trees at either end of the fence facing the alley helped hide this view. But it is what it is.

The tall building you see is across the busy street from the shopping center. The shopping center has a restaurant, a donut shop, a used book store, etc. in it.


Just to the left of the gate was this tree. The stump is about 2-3 feet wide, but close to the ground.


As you can see, a bird has planted one tree for me in this red pot. Does anyone know what that tree might be?


Above is the tree stump up close to my apartment, which is my bedroom wall. 

Then beyond the tree (now a stump) that was up close to my outside wall (my bedroom) is an area that goes toward the front and is where the outdoor air conditioner unit to my apartment is. 

I don't have access to the side area from the back patio. But there is another stretch of fence outside my patio that separates the air conditioner from the open alley.


I didn't have black garbage yard bags for clean up, so I used white kitchen trash bags. Then I used my hose to wash away some of the dirt and tree dust debris.


Above is the only tree that has branches hanging over into my yard/patio space. I can't recall what you all said it was, after I showed you the spring blooms that are white and so aromatic. I think a lilac maybe? 


Now we'll go along the side of the fence that backs up to the guy living behind me.

These photos were taken before noon yesterday. So you can see that I have quite a bit of shade in the morning hours.


There's Charlie looking on. So now you know what my patio looks like after the trees were removed a week ago.

The maintenance man finally finished putting up the fence yesterday. I thought he'd never get it done so I could take down the chicken wire. I was on the verge of paying someone to do it because I couldn't lock the gate.
 

55 comments

  1. Funny how you can wait forever for something to happen, like those trees being removed, and then one day it's done. The shrubby plant hanging over your fence is some type of privet, not a lilac. I remember when you showed close-up photos of the flowers, which somewhat resemble lilac flower heads, but the leaves are not the same as lilac leaves. I suspect that the little sprout in your pot is a privet as well. Your patio is a pretty big space compared to what you find with most apartments. With all the sun you'll be getting, you could grow some big sunflowers next year to try to block the view of the buildings. The birds would like the seeds.

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    1. You just can't find apartments with fenced in patios like this. Not that I could find anyway.

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  2. The sprouting tree in the pot looks like it may be a Locust, judging from the looks of the leaves. I'm not sure how Locust are spread but I've heard that you can plant a stick from one and a fence post will grow. we had them in our yard in Pa.

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    1. I was thinking the same thing--locust. In French, they are correctly called robinier and incorrectly called acacias (I lived in Africa and know acacias). We have 20 of them all around our property. The flowers come in big, white clusters in spring and smell divine; acacia honey is highly vaunted. However, they can be invasive--they shoot out roots and up pop volunteers all over. We are a bit like the Little Prince, who battled baobabs, but for us, it's a plague of locusts (pun intended!)
      For greenery, how about bamboo?

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    2. I'll be looking at ideas over the winter. It's what gets me through the cold days!

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  3. You have a wonderful patio area even though you are presented with new challenges today. You have so many pretty things going on out there! I was thinking some type of tall grass in pots?? I like the sunflower idea from a commenter above, too!

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    1. I do love that patio! That and the fact that no one lives above me or on one side of me.

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  4. You have a really nice sized patio. Most apartments don't have that nice a space. Bonus to have it fenced in too. Just think of the fun you'll have next spring deciding what you want to plant & where it should go. I am glad that they got the fence fixed for you & the pupsters. Have a wonderful day Brenda!

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  5. What a nice space! Bigger than mine, but very similar in shape. I've already winterized here and now wish I had taken pictures during the summer. I wish my patio was all concrete, but the people who lived here before built a wooden deck around the concrete slab right out the back door, so I have part concrete and part wooden deck. I need more pots! Have a great day!

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    1. I think I would love to have some wood. The concrete gets awfully hot with the pots on them and I have to water more.

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  6. There's room now to spread everything out to look even more spacious. Maybe some pompous grass in pots will grow high enough to at least keep the buildings from being so dominant in the view. Will definitely take some time of sitting back and giving it all some thought on what to do with the "new"" space. Enjoy those trees not causing trouble any longer!

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    1. I have worried about those trees from the day I moved here!

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  7. Get a cantilevered umbrella for some summer shade

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    1. I'll sure be looking into them. It's just that the winds here are so brutal.

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  8. Wow I love your patio area. I think mine may be similar in size but we do not have the privacy. We have partial privacy except for where the patio overlooks the green space and trees beyond. While I love looking at that I do like privacy so if I want to read a book or even dose off in a garden chair next year I can do so without being disturbed. We are told we can put up a taller fence but everyone else has a semi open space and I don't want to appear un neighborly. I love your patio just the way it is Brenda but I think I would try growing trees in pots if you want trees. I do have a evergreen tree in a pot which I brought with me from my previous house and am thinking I might add a couple more next year.

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    1. Going to clue you in: I bought a tree today! Posting about it tomorrow.

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  9. A beautifully decorated patio, Brenda! I was also going to suggest tall ornamental grass on the side of your patio where the buildings are. The large shrub that is still remaining could be a Russian Olive. They are very common and do have fragrant blossoms on them that are kind of cream in color. The tree in your pot is a locust. They are a fast grower, but have roots that travel far. We have them on the edge of part of our yard and their roots are several feet into our yard! I do love them for their very beautiful scent that fills the air in the spring time, and they can have either white or pink blossoms on them. When it rains, the contrast of the dark, wet bark against their leaves and blossoms is pretty! So glad your fence was finally put back up!

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    1. You and me both! Having that gate unlocked made me a bit nervous at night.

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  10. What a beautiful oasis you have created! I am so impressed with people like you that take a not-so-perfect area and creatively make it wonderful. It is SO nice and restful looking.
    great job, brenda!
    diana in illinois

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    1. I have so much fun "redefining" a space.

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  11. You may find the noise level from your "neighbors in the mall/alley) increases now that the tree is gone. It certainly made for more noise in our home after having bushes cut back and trees that died. Pampas and other grasses grow well in pots and can add color as the seasons pass, and you could rage them on and around the stump. Very pretty and organized space!

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    1. I will figure something out. I miss the trees, but not the problems that came with where they were.

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  12. It is so pretty out there and now with more sun you will be able to grow some different plants.

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  13. Your butterfly in the flowers photo is awesome!

    Even without the trees, your patio is just beautiful. You've really transformed a slab of fenced-in cement.

    You'll be missing the shade next summer. I know you had problems with your canopy so another one probably isn't a good idea.

    If your fence is tall enough, how about stringing lines from the fence to the apt. wall and growing some sort of fast-growing vining plant to create a leafy canopy overhead? And then when winter comes, just take it down. It's cheap, simple, and nothing to store for the winter.

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    1. I'll have the winter to research ideas for out there. Will give me another project!

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  14. Brenda, you have a green thumb, your patio looks like a calm and relaxing space. I loved your green patio cover, the light it let through was soft. We too have winds, one time they picked up a patio table and blew 20 feet away. My friend has a clematis vine wrapped around an arbor above her patio and it is beautiful.

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    1. I will have fun just thinking about what to do out there!

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  15. It looks good, Brenda. You'll probably have more sun so might need to rethink some plants.
    The tree in the pot looks like a Mimosa. Hard to tell from the one pic, but seeds sprout easily and are dropped by birds. Some people say its a "dirty" tree because it gets lavender/purple flowers and seed pods that drop but I think its pretty and kind of exotic looking. I think I would have had them leave the trunk a little higher and put a pot on it or bird bath..still could but its lower to the ground.

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    1. I don't think I had much choice how they cut the trees. It was already decided by management. I think it is a mimosa as well. I was at the nursery today and saw one.

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  16. Whatever you do, Brenda, don't plant Pampas grass in the ground. It is very invasive and will take over. It has deep roots and it is almost impossible to dig all up when you try to get rid of it.
    In pots, it would be ok but probably will not grow any higher than the fence. Just your pretty flowers and greenery are pleasing enough to the eye so probably no one is going to be looking at buildings outside your patio.

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    1. I only have dirt in a few small places. Not enough to really plant in I don't think.

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  17. WHy not another outdoor canope over in that area (with the buildings beyond). I don't remember what happened to the one you had previously, but If memory serves me, you had one, and even in Texas, right? There are some real sturdy ones out there.

    I also like the idea of planting giant sunflowers next spring.

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    1. In TX my gazebo was protected by brick walls. Here the wind tore it down.

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  18. Your patio is truly beautiful even without the trees. I don't have much of a green thumb and gardening abilities. You will have to rely on all these other wonderful friends for help. That butterfly picture is an award winning photo.

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    1. I chased that butterfly all around the patio!

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  19. You have so much room and it looks so cozy with all the patio furniture. I do love those galvanized tubs that you have hanging on the wall for planting, such a cute idea. I look forward to seeing what you come up with and as always, enjoy seeing the pupsters. Have a lovely weekend! Carol

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    1. I SO love cozy! I don't much care where I live as long as I can make it cozy.

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  20. Like you, I'd have to figure out something to camouflage those buildings now that the tree is gone. I wonder if you could do a tall planter of some sort (or maybe three - one in the corner, and one on either side) with your own trees planted in them? Would bamboo work there? Or some sort of evergreen trees in pots? They can be pretty hardy in pots, and would give you something to put lights on at Christmas time!

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    1. I've been getting suggestions here and in emails. Think I'll talk to my son in law about possibly building something for me.

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  21. I echo what Diana said about your patio. You take something bare and plain and make it look lovely with creative ideas and plants. I love it!!

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    1. I think it's more fun to have this confined space rather than a large yard. I get overwhelmed with a large space and don't know where to start.

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  22. It looks like a Locust is in your red pot. You might try adding trees in pots to your garden. I did really well with tiny pine trees that I got from Home Depot at Christmas...After Christmas, I re-potted them in very large (lightweight) pots and actually I'm shocked that the trees have done so well. The pines are fast growing and thoroughly enjoy their big pots. Your garden is lovely - have fun trying out all the possibilities.

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    1. I sure would like to get a pine at some point. I miss the tall pines of East Texas.

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  23. Your patio is like an oasis in a concrete jungle.

    I would make sure to put something fast growing to hide that view like bamboo. I’m sure you’ll figure it out and have it looking beautiful in no time.

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  24. Your patio area is so pretty, but my heart dropped when I saw that view you have now that the trees are gone. I know you'll come up with something creative...a tall tree in a pot or tall grasses.

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  25. I keep seeing people encourage you to plant bamboo. I honestly don't know what it's like to grow it in other areas of the U.S., but my own experience with bamboo is awful. It was so invasive. No matter how hard we tried to get rid of it, we couldn't. I love the sunflower idea and the tall planters idea. It' doesn't matter, you are very imaginative and thorough and you will come up with just the right idea and then expand on it. Your space is amazingly beautiful and inspiring. Sandra

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  26. Brenda, regarding planting bamboo, there are two kinds. One is very invasive as the reader above said, and the other is not. I'm not sure where I read this but it was recently--in a magazine, I think. I'll see if I can find it and tell you the names of the two kinds.

    I also love the idea of looking out on a cluster of the tallest sunflowers. And another reader mentioned, the birds will love the seeds and you'll have more birds to photograph!

    Another tree that grows fast is the Russian Olive. I don't know if you can grow it in a pot successfully, tho'.

    Your patio is really a wonderful addition to your apartment. You perform miracles out there with your flowers and plants! I can hardly wait for winter to come and go to see what you decide to do with it next year! Enjoy your research and planning!

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  27. Wow! You have such a green thumb. Your patio is so spacious and beautifully laid out. I can't wait to see what you do next.
    Just curious if you know if they took the trees out that were growing in the empty apartments.
    Ann

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  28. I've always loved your patio-you have made it an oasis and an extension of your home. Yay!

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  29. What a welcoming garden space you have! I imagine you will have more sun now that the trees are gone and you may want to have a nice umbrella or sunshade for the summer months. But how nice for the coming winter to have more light. Your plants look lovely -- it's such a cozy unique place to sit.

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  30. I Still Remember When You Moved :) And thinking how wonderful the patio area would be for you ! :)

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  31. I don't know if you will see this, as I came late to this email. But I SO ADMIRE YOUR ABILITY TO TURN THIS FROG PATIO INTO A PRINCE!!!! I was shocked at the view you have of those awful buildings. I remind you about the metal CATTLE FENCING that Lowe's carrys. I think it would really be great to arch it over your patio to give you some shade next summer. As to hiding those buildings, you can put INVASIVE plants in tubs such as the wash tubs that are hanging on your fence. Bamboo, or even the 'Sea Cane' that I have used grows like crazy...giving you plenty of height, but you may have to tie it up from leaning over. By putting it in tubs, no roots are in the ground causing problems. I am going to print the butterfly picture out and frame it!!!!!

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