Xeric and stylish gardening in San Antonio, Texas

Texas-style beer garden!

This larger side yard has functioned as a few things since we moved into our home.  It has been a vegetable garden, a weed pit, a storage area…but mostly a forgotten about unused space.  Over the last few years, however, it has become evident that it is actually the best location in the yard for a patio!  It gets beautiful shade all afternoon and early evening making it ideal for meals outside and entertaining.  We lacked outdoor entertaining space big time, so this was a huge priority for me in the backyard redesign.  We also lacked a place for a BBQ pit and now my husband is thrilled to have a location for that where it is not an eyesore.  Waiting a few years before jumping into any big projects in the backyard worked out well in the end because the time allowed us to see how the sun hits every area, how we use the spaces, what we needed, and what the natural flow is.left side yard BEFOREBEFORE:  Invasive nandina and a weed pit was all that caught your eye.  BUT, this side yard was a little gem just waiting to be discovered. Back of house and side yard BEFOREBEFORE: The back of the house was in the midst of some sort of construction forever…or so it seemed. (Daddy’O on the left side working and Hubby on the right)texas-style patioAFTER:  Texas-style DG (decomposed granite) patio and fire pit entertaining area.  I think having the patio area spill into the fire pit area will be very useful and easy for guests to navigate the yard at night as well as providing plenty of seating.  When I look at this patio I see the three sides planted up in Texas native plants of various heights bringing texture, color, and life to this space.  More importantly perhaps, it will cool it down.herb garden within patioThis is my favorite part – my herb garden within my new patio.  I love how functional this is.  I am all about function!  Eventually a nice modern rectangle around the herb bed and existing patio will be flagstone to alleviate DG being tracked in the house.  At that time I will also remove the rocks that line it now.  They will be annoying and a bit of a tripping hazard for now, but they were free, and they are filling an important function right now of preventing the DG and dirt from spilling into one another.  Eventually you will walk from a nice flat piece of flagstone right into the rest of the yard.  I needed to do this project in stages to save money now, but still get the bones in.  In the foreground where you see the dirt is where my frogfruit “lawn” will be.  Hopefully I will plug that this week.  closer viewHere is a closer view.  It is so exciting to see the vision in my head be the vision I see in reality.  Although no rest in the near future for me  – time to plant it up baby!  Using DG for patios and parking areas makes for an eco-friendly solution to poured cement, etc.  Valuable rain water can still percolate through into the earth where it is needed, and not just become run-off.

Up next:  Functional parking area…


  1. As I said before, I just love the way you think, plan and then go for it, fantastic! Christina

    • Thank you so much! :) -xericstyle

  2. The area is looking so good. It takes a lot of vision to see what can be done with a space like that.

    • Thanks Shirley – it took a looooong time. I had so many different ideas …I kept changing my mind over and over. With this design, once I came up with it, it stuck. I felt that is when I knew this was it. Finally! -xericstyle

  3. You have done a fantastic job! Love the paint color on the house. The clean lines and decomposed granite make it look so fresh. Looks like a whole new house:)

    • Thanks so much Steph! The brick paint color does look soothing with the color of the granite – that was a happy coincidence that was not planned. – xericstyle

  4. Desert Dweller

    When Canadians say “beers”, it will always mean “beers, eh!” Telling my age here… Looks like some nice progress, and the DG also has a similar color to the brick, perfect when it rains hard and splashes.

    And you have some nice axial potential, fire ring / red bench and table. I forget, but any plans on vines for the fence, or …? Much to ponder over some beers, pen/pencil/crayon often to paper as you create your xericstyle.

    While you’re doing the rest of the back and finishing this area, try the links and info on purposefully harvesting water…esp for trees, without cisterns for now (links on the left can be easily adapted to SA) –

  5. HAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Strange Brew!!!! Well it usually is beers, eh?! Love it!
    The DG worked great when we had tons of rain Sunday night. no dirt splashes and it looks like we got the grading correct. No issues with that either. Phew.

    What do you mean by axial potential exactly, David? Would you recc. a different arrangement? Do tell! :)

    YES to the vines and planting up the sides heavily.

    I look forward, as always, to studying the link you sent.

    Thanks David!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – xericstyle

  6. I love that space!!! I could see sitting out in the sunshine with some sweet tea… or even better, louisade!!!

    • LOUISADE ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!! -xericstyle

  7. Marcia

    Hi, Could you tell me how you actually went about putting down the DG? Did you just hand dig up the sod and then lay out the DG? Did you have to dig deep into the ground? Did you tamp it by hand? Thanks. It looks great!

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