Xeric and stylish gardening in San Antonio, Texas

Chaotic side yard turned calming oasis for mama…

Our side yard was absolute chaos and desperately needed to be rectified!  You know how many times a mama of two youngsters walks to the recycling/garbage bins in a day?!?!  Every time I did this walk it stressed me out seeing all the junk I needed to deal with.   How did this area become the catch all anyways?  I guess the trash cans being there = trash portion of the yard.   I decided that it did not have to be this way – I wanted it to be calming…if only for a mama minute.  There is no telling what I left behind in the house…a fight for a toy, who knows.  I needed this minute to be a breather…

BEFORE:  Narrow side yard is…NASTY in every way.  It was a weedy mud pit. 

AFTER: AHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhh don’t you feel your nerves calming already as you walk your trash out and take a deep breath…smelling cedar mulch and seeing the light dance off of bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa).  The bamboo muhly will be a great blind for the trash bins when it gets btwn 4-6 ft high and wide.  It will also soften this path which I think will look really pretty. 

This area feels so modern and clean now – sweet zen.  I really wanted to play off our new gate and create a calming experience.

There are rumors that our trash pick up may switch to the alley – wouldn’t that be awesome?!  If that happens I will store the bins in the alley and put a little bistro set where they were.  It would be a perfect shady breakfast coffee location! FINGERS CROSSED!Isn’t bamboo muhly gorgeous?!  This native grass is tough as nails, has the look of bamboo without any of the bad qualities.  And of course like everything else in my garden it is mass planted – can’t help it.  It is my xericstyle.

What do some of you do to hide eyesores?  Where are your trash bins?


  1. This space turned out very nice, so much better than before and bamboo muhly is a great plant for our climate. My trash bins are hiding behind the big oak tree near the garage and will eventually get their own enclosure.

    • Thanks Shirley! I am really enjoying it – Bizarre how much this one area completed has lifted my mood when I go outside. How cool that your bins will have their own little enclosure – that will look great! – xericstyle

  2. I somehow missed your last few posts on my blog roll – but this one, perfect. Masses are best, and you can always punctuate them in the right place, like if your trash pick-up moves and you have a table there? Great plant, mulch choice.

    My only question is if you thought about keeping vs. removing the stepping stones? Whether the present or future use of that area. (they do allow one to keep the DG off shoes and from going inside, or to walk out there without shoes…)

    • Thanks David! You know, I never even thought about that. The stepping stones just used to be there in the mud before I did the granite path (phase 1), so I re-used them there. I never gave it much thought, but I will now. Thank you :) So, what is your suggestion? Removing them? Anytime a designer gives me a tip I will gladly accept! – xericstyle

  3. I’ve been catching up on your blog after seeing you left a comment on mine (I abandon it for months at a time…I’m a horrible blogger, I know.), and I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you’re doing with your yard. And as a fellow bamboo muhly super-fan, I salute you! I filled my side yard with bamboo muhly and never water it, and it’s gone gangbusters and looks fantastic against the dark blue fence.

    • So happy you stopped by! And even happier I saw a new post on your blog – I missed your posts. Also, your perspecitve is great – I saw a few bloggers post on those gardens you posted on and loved all of them of course, but your pictures were very different and showed even more. We need your posts!!!!!!! High five bamboo muhly lover! – xericstyle

  4. Oh, and adding to what David said about the stepping stones, I did notice that the style of the stones doesn’t really match the style of your fence or architecture. Maybe something rectangular would be more cohesive while still keeping the DG off your shoes?

    • Totally! They are gone gone gone. It looks so much better. I did like the side yard rectangular ones you posted by the way. Honestly though…it is so much better with nothing. We only had them there because I thought they looked cool – haaaaa! Live and learn! Cheers – xericstyle

  5. I don’t know how I missed this post, but I’m glad you linked to it in your 1-year post. I love the bamboo muhly massed in the side yard. It looks great, and so does your new paint job and gate. Hiding the trash bins was one of the first things we did when we moved into our current house. I had the back-yard fence extended toward the front of the house so that we had space for them in the side yard but hidden from the street, and later I built a cedar slat screen to hide them from my back patio. Ya gotta have ’em, but you sure don’t want to look at ’em. http://www.penick.net/digging/?p=11011

    • Thanks Pam! And I loved seeing this post again – That looks awesome. I think maybe I should try that to further hide my bins, or even my a/c unit in my a/c bed. Thank you! Funny how you can see the same post again (which I do often with your posts) and take away something in a different way. Thanks again, Pam! :) – xericstyle

  6. Pam

    What is it that surrounds the stepping stones? Concrete pebble?

    • Hi Pam:) It is decomposed granite. I have since taken out the stepping stones…they were too busy. Thanks for stopping by!- xericstyle

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