This used to be lawn. All the ground you can see in this picture was lawn two months ago, except for the cement patio and that tiny little triangular section up against the red-painted fence, with a brick border around it. I dug out the lawn and planted a row of shrubs: Western buttonbush, 'Goose Creek' mock orange, wild mock orange, golden currant, pink currant. I also planted some native bunchgrasses and other low-growing native plants around the shrubs. I installed a brick border (not mortared) between the new bed and the lawn, and I added four bags of mulch to the new bed.
On the opposite side of the house, this also used to be lawn. This is going to be a food garden; the new gate will keep the dogs out of it so they don't cover it with poop. Through the gate you can see our brand-new air conditioner, a huge and completely unexpected expense we were faced with immediately upon moving in. You can also see the black plastic compost bin that we brought with us from the duplex. The new gate will also keep the dogs from incessantly knocking over the compost bin and eating all the food scraps we put in it, which is what they did at the duplex. Now the dogs can only have the food scraps we give them. The food scraps we give to the compost bin will stay in the compost bin until they actually compost.
For some reason I can't figure out, the Bermuda grass is dramatically harder to kill on this side of the house than on the other side. I have to dig down at least a foot to kill it on this side of the house but only about four inches to kill it on the other side of the house. Digging down at least a foot takes quite a while. Separating the roots from the dirt takes even longer, and it's necessary to separate the roots from the dirt and put some dirt back in order to restore anything resembling the original ground level. So far I've finished preparing the ground about two thirds of the way from the red gate to the new gate. You can sort of see a line where I've stopped, where the dirt I removed is piled on top of the old dirt to await separation. It hasn't rained since last April, but as soon as the winter rains start arriving, my efforts to kill off the Bermuda grass will have to go mostly on hold until next spring.
Sometimes I transport the newly separated dirt from one bed to another using the wheelbarrow. The wheelbarrow is suddenly dramatically more useful than it used to be because Susan replaced its tire with a solid rubber one so it no longer goes flat all the time. Boston helps me by eating the Bermuda grass and breaking apart the dirt clods. Ganymede watches from a safe distance because he doesn't like to get dirty.
The twig at the bottom center of the picture is a valley oak I planted. I'm hoping that it will become the third large tree in the back yard, which already has a large pecan tree (shown here) and a large southern magnolia tree (not shown here).
Here's a token bloom in honor of Bloom Day - a calla lily planted by the former owners of the house. These are very invasive in the San Francisco Bay Area but less so here.