Here's a closer look. In the front is the Self Sowing Garden and behind it is what will be the deciduous grove that will one day create summer shade along this side of our house. It's hard to see but many of the plants are already there. A crape myrtle on the left and two dogwoods form a line with an Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) and four hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis). I've loved hemlocks ever since we lived in East Tennessee and went on hikes in the Smoky Mountains. In front of those deciduous trees are a loropetalum and a viburnum as well as two dead azaleas. Yep not everything grows for me. They were rescued plants from the discount rack that just didn't make it. Although I did manage to get one azalea cutting that lived through the winter.
From this angle you can see the hemlock hedge row that will one day provide privacy on this side of the house. Until then I'm planting some fast growing crape myrtles in between each hemlock to provide a very fast growing privacy screen. When the hemlocks reach a good size I'll cut out the crape myrtles.
Here's a view from the backyard. Once things fill out on this side the view of the neighbor's yard should be somewhat obscured. I hope to keep the grass nice and green and may eventually add some stepping stones set below the level of the grass.
For now all you can really see is mulch but underneath that mulch are layers of grass and leaves gradually composting underneath the cover of newspapers (some even date back to 2006!). Over time the soil will build up and become better for whatever plants find their home here. Stay tuned to watch this area come alive!
Edit: I may end up keeping the Crape myrtles, you've convinced me! The plan was to have fast growing trees for more immediate shade then to removed them for the hemlocks. It all depends on how things work so we'll see how it goes.