I moved from the country to the city several years ago. I loved country living but couldn’t afford to stay there after getting divorced so I got an apartment in town, close to work and stores, etc. It may have been convenient, but desirable not so much. There was no yard; my two foot by four-foot balcony overlooked the black top parking lot. There wasn’t even room on the balcony for any potted plants.

I am a nature lover and I have always spent a great deal of my time outdoors. The country-girl in me was miserable for the year and a half that I lived there. When I had finally saved up enough money to get my own house I was so fed up with coin laundry and loud neighbors and no outdoor space I made a promise to myself to never do apartment living again under any circumstances!

I think I was so anxious to get the heck out of that tiny apartment that I impulsively bought the third house I looked at. If I move again, I will be a little more selective.  The inside of my home is wonderful but looking back, a corner lot was not the wisest choice for someone who is accustomed to ten acres of privacy and solitude.  My yard consists mostly of hills, steep enough that it is unusable space but still needs to be mowed and maintained. Mowing the side hill is absolutely treacherous!  There are a lot of rules here in town too.  Grass must be kept below a certain height or they fine you.  I’m also not allowed to burn leaves or anything else for that matter. In the country we burned everything! If you didn’t want your old couch anymore you just hauled it out to the burn pile in the pasture and burned it!

Coming from the country to the city was a big adjustment and I still struggle with it but I’ve tried to somehow squeeze some outdoor living into the little parts of the yard I can use.  My back yard is tiny and mostly paved with an uneven, cracked up patio.  Last year some petunias randomly popped up in the cracks and grew like gangbusters!  They smelled amazing!


The patio drops off down a steep hill, overlooking the neighbor’s patio.  I always felt a little conspicuous sitting out there, hovering over their patio parties like an uninvited guest.

There is a concrete slab next to my garage that wraps around the back of the house into kind of half-circle patio, nestled into an L shaped corner of the house.



I was bound and determined to wrangle some privacy and some kind of garden out of this crazy yard. I dreamed of having the side hill terraced but that would have to wait until I won the lottery. I saved up instead to have a privacy fence put up around my tiny patio in the back. It was the greatest idea ever! For minimal cost I had basically added an outdoor room on to my house.  The privacy has been wonderful!


I love reading a good book on a lounge chair in my private outdoor room! The fence does afford some privacy but the neighborhood noise is something I will never get used to.  So, peaceful is a stretch of the imagination here on my patio but despite the noise I’m still enjoying my new space.


I decided to build one of those concrete block gardens I’ve been seeing all over the internet.  I chose to put it on top of the concrete patio.  I took this picture of it last year.  I originally only made it one layer deep.  The plants did not do too well last year and I decided the soil needed to be deeper and the bed needed to be longer and not as wide so it would be easier to reach things toward the back.  So this year I added a second layer with deeper soil and a longer design.  I’m only growing herbs and peppers in that bed.  I planted a few tomato plants directly in the ground nearby.



I’m curious to see how this works out over the summer.  I wonder if the herbs will bake to death in those concrete blocks?  I wonder if the peppers I planted will have enough room to grow in that small of an opening?  Stay tuned for more on my concrete block patio garden…

July 18, Update:

The herb garden is growing like crazy!  All of my herbs are doing really well!

I have been harvesting and enjoying them everyday.  I’m so excited that this garden actually worked, considering I put it right on top of the concrete slab.  I was worried that those small openings in the blocks would not make for good growing conditions but so far nothing has baked to death!  The pepper plants are full of peppers but it’s still a little early to harvest them.  (Plus, I painted the fence!)  I guess you don’t have to have a huge flat yard to have a little garden!  This is a new shot of the garden: