The Mayer's Flower Garden

This was a solid hedge that had taken years to develop.  I really wanted to try to  save it because of the privacy that it afforded, but that wasn't to be.
Being forced by the city to cut it back in the winter had really caused problems.  Heavy snows had also done a lot of damage.  Another problem with the hedge was that it made it difficult to back the van out of the garage,
We considered replacing it with a wall, but didn't find a solution we liked.  I got the idea to try some bonsai. The more I cut the better I liked it, so the "hedge" lives on.

This prickly pear got some major trimming, as well.

It didn't take long to take up the old grass and lava rock.  That's the pile of it in the center.  The areas that weren't to be buried were rototilled.  There were a lot of roots around the junipers, so I didn't dig down much there.

This section is rototilled. Now it's time to start moving dirt and rock.

This is several days later.  
The bricks protect our new persimmon and paw-paw trees.

Many wheelbarrow loads later

We've had an abundance of river rock in the back yard (somebody else's idea of landscaping)
I've wanted to get rid of it for years.  It's now serving a good purpose.  The gate to the back yard isn't wide enough to accommodate a Bobcat, so it was all moved the hard way.

The plastic barrier is between the rock and the topsoil so the rock doesn't act as a void sucking up precious water.  This was a pretty big gamble.  It is actually working very well.  It also lets excess water on the 'hills ' to flow down and water things at the base.

Things are starting to take shape.

The cactus garden is planted.  Initially we considered taking the big prickly bear out.
I just didn't have the heart to take out this 20 year old gaint that has always provided an abundant crop of prickly pear fruit.  That's why I cut it way back and used it as the backdrop for the new cactus garden.

Backing up a few days again, this is looking north on the west side.

The bricks from the old yard were used to  add another row on a planter and for stepping stones.

More rocks and dirt. This mound will have tall flowers on it and will block the view from the street into our dining room window.

More dirt and rock.

The big rocks were moved from the other side of the yard.  Plants are in.  Time to watch it grow.

Putting in the 'stream bed'.

This is the first coarse with room for the water to flow between the rocks.  It acts as a conduit to carry rain water from the roof away and disperse it over the whole garden.

There is a layer of plastic between the first and second coarses.  The space between the rocks of the second coarse is filled in with pea gravel.  This allows the 'stream bed' to double as a walk way.

This has worked very well. Even with very heavy rains this summer, the water disperses over the whole garden, without any flooding or wash out.

The Watering System

This is how the watering is handled.  A grid of soaker hoses is buried about an inch deep over the whole garden, except for the cactus garden.  I used the existing sprinkler system piping for the distribution of the water.  The soaker hoses connect where the old heads used to be.  Non-soaker hose is used to go  under walk ways where water is not wanted. Large(5/8") diameter hose was used on the top of the 'hills' and 1/2" hose at the lower levels.  This compensates for the pressure differential without having to use valves.  The old sprinkler valves and timer automate the system.  The whole system uses 7.5 gallons/minute for about 4 minutes a couple of times a day.  This is much less water than the lawn used to take.

I started  out using bark for mulch, but found it too time consuming to put it down and it was going to get expensive to cover the whole yard.

I used pine needles for the rest of it and really liked the results.

There are many more details I could cover, but I've probably put in too much already.
If you have questions or want to know how to do some of this stuff, feel free to ask.