Backyard Beautifying

We have been in our house almost five years now and it seems we are just now figuring out the best use of our space.  Take for example, the yard.  There is a shady corner, just off the deck, that I struggled with for four years.  
I kept trying to grow grass.  It kept dying due to the shade the the run-off from the gutter.  As you can see below, it was an ugly eye sore of a patch of yard.  
Before. 
My mom came to visit just before the birth of my daughter.  She helped to transform two garden spaces for me, the one shown here, and an herb garden in the front of the house. She did the work, as I watched, a mere day away from giving birth.  
We put in hostas, grasses, wild ginger, a Japanese holly fern, irises, and some ground cover that did not last due to drought.  
The addition of a brick edge, a few stepping stones, and mulch made it a bona fide garden space.  I will actually sit on my deck and look at this corner of my yard now!  
Early spring with hyacinth blooming.  Later spring with hostas appearing.  This spring I added bleeding hearts, a couple more hostas from the garage tear-down, and some astilbe
It’s still a work in progress – I will be adding a few more things this fall.  Around here, plants have the ability to grow all winter if it is mild enough.  In fact, the lawn always looks best around December.  

Here is the spot as of this week.  You can see how parched things are with the lack of rain this summer.
   
I am in rip-out mode right now.  This front corner was being taken over by chocolate mint – unless you want mint EVERYWHERE, plant it in a pot.  I stuck one runner in a pot to put on the front porch.  That’s all I need.  There were also some sad-looking daylilies on their way to sprouting and blooming again, so I moved them along the side of our house.  This was a low-maintenance and drought-tolerant corner, but it was not doing anything for me.  So, I ripped it all out and it will become an edible corner.  More on that later.  

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