This month, I was able to finish this landscaping project - a flagstone patio measuring about 20 x 12 feet. I have been gradually (shovelful by shovelful) creating terraces on our very steep drop-off in the front of our house. This area had no level space - just a steeply tapering drop down to the driveway.
I've tried something new this year - a small vegetable patch (shown below).
I've planted swiss chard, kale, daikon radish, and basil.
The chicken wire stretched over a 2 x 4 frame and elevated with rocks is working well to keep the deer from nibbling it all away. There is a volunteer pumpkin plant (a seed that survived the composting process) that may not survive the deer - no room for it under the cover.
Below, there are some better images of the stone retaining walls I have built.
The picture on the left shows a new bed I have prepared for the new iris rhizomes I will be planting soon, along with some deer resistant perennials.
Here is an old photo (from 2006) of the same area. There was some weedy grass with a game trail through the middle of it. The junipers had to be removed in the interest of fire safety (about 20 cedar and juniper trees were removed in 2009 following two wildfires in our neighborhood).
With our water issues (no well or city water - we haul our own water in our truck), we were not able to water the "lawn". I am planting iris and other drought tolerant, deer resistant and fire resistant plants in this area now and am really happy to be able to look out and see something blooming in front of my house.
I really love sitting in my bench with my morning tea and watching the dragonflies and goldfinches! In the evenings, it is a perfect place to enjoy the sunset.