Bird's-eye survey

Last year I took photos of my yard from above for the first time. I mounted my small camera on a 10' pole and held it as high as I could while walking around, with the camera taking photos at intervals. My goal was to stitch these together to create a big "map" of my yard. That didn't work out, but the photos turned out great.


So I've decided to repeat this again this year. Ideally I should have done it a bit earlier in the year (maybe in addition to doing it now), but things in the garden don't always go as we plan, do they?

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I'm not sure how I want to organize these shots, so I guess I'll keep them pretty much in order, even though I crisscrossed the yard several times while taking them.

I'm not sure if the camera lens was dirty, or if it was just set to the wrong setting, but these images are pretty much all blurry around the edges -- sorry about that.

I've not seen these tall bamboo divisions from this angle before -- you can see the top of the 12' culms here, as well as a few of the remaining pots on my driveway:


More of the pots on my driveway:


I'm going to miss the lushness of that inconvenient planting once I put all of the plants away for the winter.

Moving off the driveway, down the path that it seems will never be grassy -- maybe I should just mulch it -- with my "prairie" garden to the left:


More of the prairie garden:


If you walk down that beaten path from the earlier photo and turn right, you'll get to this:


We're walking around the patio, which is seen in the upper right corner above. Continuing clockwise around the patio...


I love seeing that grass from above! Unless I start doing my gardening wearing circus-quality stilts, there's no other way for me to get this view other than the camera on the pole.

Here's the planting bed I just posted about the other day:


The Japanese maple is doing pretty well. Not as much scorching as I'd expect from our hot, dry summer:


Turning directly around and walking away from the patio toward the back of the yard you see my bananas and a couple of bamboos (including the trenched bamboo with the yet-unmulched trench):


Behind the banana is an area that isn't too exciting from above, but is going to be nice in a year or two:


That frame in the lower right corner is the "foundation" of my temporary greenhouse, which I'm not going to be using this year. That's also the approximate location of my future garden shed.

Turning around and walking up toward the front of the house (passing up a few beds that didn't photograph well from above), this is the side garden:


The cardoon is the star of this area right now, although the Home Run rose that's guarding my water faucet is pretty nice too. Actually, there are a lot of nice plants here right now. This spot is tough, as it faces south and gets blazing sun in summer, but no sun at all in winter due to the shadow of the neighbor's house.

Continuing forward, I stuck my pole up into the maple in the front yard for a close look at the changing leaves:


The grey patches are the piles of rocks that were removed from my crumbling chimney.

I then decided to go up on the deck for some even higher shots:




As I surveyed the yard I realized that I hadn't really gotten any shots of the northern edge of my yard. This is taken from the end of the driveway, behind several pots:


That big miscanthus was a seedling from 'Gracillimus' and I will be removing it sometime in the next couple of years, as it's too floppy. The right side of that photo shows part of the "prairie" bed.

At the end of that bed are a couple of bamboos and another 'Gracillimus' that I planted in the spring. I like the way the black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) arches over the other plants here:


Turning to the right from that last photo and taking a few steps forward, you see my ratty veggie garden:


I've got some plans for this next year: I'm going to redo the fence (and barely-held-together gate) and reduce the size of these beds a little to make room for a couple of more bamboo plantings on the left. (I don't think the good soil in the raised beds is deep enough, and I'm tired of planting too many veggies, only to have them fail, be attacked by critters, or otherwise disappoint. So I'm cutting back next year.)

Finally I had to go back to the other corner of my back yard, where the bald cypress is a beacon of reddish-brown:



I don't usually get to see its beauty from this angle, but that's the whole point of these photos and this post, right?

It's nice looking at the garden from a new viewpoint!

(If you want to see what my garden looked like from above in 2010, check this post.)

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Liz  – (November 1, 2011 at 8:47 AM)  

That's a cool idea. The grass is awesome.

Gerhard Bock  – (November 1, 2011 at 10:42 AM)  

Wow, what an awesome way to see your yard! Can you talk more about how you took these photos? What kind of pole?

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (November 1, 2011 at 11:03 AM)  

I just realized that I used a shorter pole this year. I'm using 10' metal conduit, but only one part this year. Last year I apparently clamped two together for more height.

Susan in the Pink Hat  – (November 1, 2011 at 11:25 AM)  

Wow, these shots managed to give me vertigo. Impressive.

Design to Grow  – (November 2, 2011 at 1:26 PM)  

Very cool idea! I'm just beginning to explore garden photography more, and I love this idea. I'm enjoying your site. : )

Lyn  – (November 2, 2011 at 6:17 PM)  

What a fun idea. I have to try this!

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