As you can see, nothing would grow in this area of the yard. I think it is a combination of lots of shade (maybe an hour of sun a day), acid soil from all the pine needles that fall, compaction of soil, and general lack of nutrients due to the oak and pine roots that are EVERYWHERE in this section of the yard. We also have a problem with Creeping Charlie in our yard. I would say at least 50% of the "lawn" area is Creeping Charlie. I don't mind it, for the most part, but it doesn't like to abide by the garden rules which clearly state "Not in my flower beds, you don't!".
Please don't notice how badly my deck needs re-staining and re-painting. I will get to it one of these days, I promise.
Last year, I amended the heck out of the soil that I knew I would be planting flowers in. I can't even count the number of wheelbarrow loads of compost I hauled through the yard! I spent the rest of the summer and most of the winter wondering what the heck I was going to do on the pathway through this section of the yard. I didn't want to go to all the work of coaxing grass to grow, wood chips are cheap (but still expensive when your gardening budget is $0), pavers or concrete were way out of my budget, moss would have been happy to grow but can't handle heavy foot traffic.... it was a puzzlement.
Then, when they were chopping down trees next door, I convinced Mr. Barefoot to finagle me some of the wood chips they were hauling away. Miraculously, there was exactly enough to cover all the area I needed it to, and most of the area I wanted. I am ecstatic! There may still be trouble with the massive amounts of acorns and leaves we get in our yard, but I am willing to cross that bridge when we come to it.
View from the "gate" that never gets used (except for today, when I was hauling wheelbarrow loads of wood chips through it). Notice the recycled brick edging that is nearly covered up by the wood chips:
Please forgive the quality of these photos. I ended up finishing the project during the one hour of the day that the sun is really bright on this section of the yard, and I didn't have the patience to wait till later today when the pics would be nicer.
View from the other end of the side yard (please ignore the ghetto fence repair job. The neighbors have 4 boys and 4 dogs. 'Nuff said):
View from my favorite chair on the deck (please don't mind the garden tools and milk jug):
View from the deck steps:
Just another view (you can actually see the brick in this one!):
Either tonight or tomorrow I will be heading off to the folks' place to pick up Solomon's Seal, ferns, and couple hosta, maybe a peony (if Mom lets me) and some iris. Soon after (preferrably the same day) the daylilies agains the house are all going to Mom's and gettin planted in the...ummm... is it called the boulevard? I dunno. That grassy area between the sidewalk and the street. I am so excited to see my little Woodland Retreat taking shape!
Everybody, do a happy dance, cuz this is one nice place for your Barefoot little buddy to chill!