Yard creates unique spaces for gardening and relaxation

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Chris and Carole Shedd sit on chairs on their back patio. Patio bricks were recycled from a project at St. Joseph’s Church. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

The front yard of Chris and Carole Shedd’s home at 508 N. Adams St. caught the attention of the Waterville Tree Board for the month of August.

The yard features a lawn with attractive perennials surrounding it. A deciduous tree stands on one side of the lawn and a large evergreen on the other.

Carole Shedd admitted that the front lawn has given her and Chris a fair amount of trouble, as it seems to be very difficult to get the grass to thrive. She said that they are considering replacing the lawn with brick or rock work next summer.

Plants bordering the lawn area are watered by a drip system. Shedd said that she and Chris recently attended a forum on native plants offered by WSU Extension. They learned a lot through this program and are planning to incorporate more native plants in their yard next summer.

Shedd said that the deciduous tree planted in the center of the north side of the lawn was rescued by Chris, who is a construction superintendent, during a project. Recycling, rescuing and reclaiming are themes throughout the couple’s garden.

It is not until one is invited into the backyard that they are able to see the bulk of Chris Shedd’s ability to utilize used items for creative and beautiful garden landscaping.

Passing through the gate toward the backyard, Carole Shedd explained that gate materials were made from recycled wood. Entering, there is a carefully laid brick patio area.

Chris Shedd created the patio area from bricks salvaged from a restoration project at the back of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Several years ago, the brickwork at the back of the church was crumbling and dangerous. It was badly in need of repair.

Shedd and other parishioners volunteered to help with the restoration project, and when it was over the bricks were going to be dumped. Shedd spoke up to claim them.

Now the Shedds have reclaimed part of the history of that old church and made it something new.

The patio area is enhanced with plants and flowers, both in the ground and in pots. There is a covered area with patio chairs and salmon artwork on a back wall.

At the other side of the yard there are raised beds which hold a productive vegetable garden. A small cranny is separated from the patio by a wall made primarily of an old wagon wheel. In this area there is a wooden bench and an outdoor fireplace. The ground is covered by gravel.

The whole yard is water-wise because plantings are limited by the brick patio and by the portions covered in gravel. The garden and the beds at the front of the house are all watered on a drip system.

Carole Shedd said that the design and building of the garden is Chris’ work, but in general the care is her work. In addition to spending time tending the garden, Shedd enjoys canning its produce. She has a pantry attractively stocked with this summer’s canning work.

Waterville Tree Board members include Bruce and Cathy Clark and Dale Loebsack. They choose a Yard of the Month winner for every month between May and September. As in the past few years, this summer they are focusing on yards that demonstrate water conservation. Nominations for the award are accepted in town hall.