What began as a pandemic hobby for many people has turned into a full-fledged trend and Charlotte neighborhoods are reaping the benefits. There is something grounding and a bit magical about gardening and the discipline and process that goes along with it. Seasoned gardeners don’t need a new study to know this. 

5 Points Realty agents and brokers have good reasons to get behind gardening. A healthy, thriving, blooming whatever is always great for curbside appeal and resale value in addition to just enjoying your home inside and out even more.  In fact, several 5 Points agents have green thumbs and as a result, are enjoying the heck out of their backyard oasis.  

So what does gardening mean exactly?  Well, gardening is exactly what your little piece of land needs and can grow.  Gardening is also about what’s important to you.  Do you want to grow a little food for your table?  Do you want to replace grass with walkways and a cutting garden? Or maybe you just want some lush healthy grass.  

In addition to what you are growing, the layout and design of the garden is important for the enjoyment and functionality of getting to and enjoying the pretty stuff.  

We would like to share some different garden stories from our agents and brokers as we travel through the summer.  

Our agent Cassee likes to say she was born “with dirt under my fingernails.” She grew up on a small farm in Indiana. As an adult she owned a small plot of land in Asheville NC.  Cassee has actually studied and earned a certificate in permaculture.  In a nutshell, permaculture is land management based on the replication and application of flourishing ecosystems to create your own flourishing ecosystem whatever that may be.  

Cassee and her husband Kurt moved into their Charlotte home in 2016.  They have a 1/2 acre lot in Elizabeth.  For the first couple of years, they owned their home, they didn’t pay much attention to the gardening aspect of the property.  They knew with renovations that involved an on-site dumpster, storing building materials, and people moving around there was no point in working on the outside of the property right away. As expected, their garden was trampled to bare dirt with all the coming and going.  Once the interior renovation was complete they began working on the outside, beginning with Hardscaping.  Hardscaping is the permanent architectural shaping of the property.  Cassee and Kurt put in stepping stone pathways and natural rock stairways to define the functionality and define the growing areas of the land.  

Finally, they were ready to start the soft scaping i.e. adding plants and growing.  The first thing on their to-do list was re-building the soil where the most damage had been done from all of the stomping and trampling. 

 If you know N.C. gardening you know the red clay composition of our soil.  This is actually pretty nutrient-rich soil but it needs some oxygen and nitrogen.  This is where Cassee’s permaculture background comes into play.  Instead of just throwing plants in the ground or laying sod or planting anything that they wanted to thrive, Cassee and Kurt had to grow the soil first.  They did this by growing a series of cover crops.  Cover crops are annual crops that naturally die back, they are beneficial while they are growing, adding nitrogen and oxygen to hard-packed soil. When the crop dies, they lay down to add a layer of compost to keep nutrients and moisture in the soil. Using cover crops is as old a farming technique as farming itself.  They grew a series of cover crops to build a thick healthy layer of new rich soil for their permanent crop to have the best chance to thrive.  The cover crops are winter pea (for winter cover) and red clover for summer.  There are several types of cover crops. A great place to buy and get advice is Renfro Hardware or farming stores like Southern States.

The cornerstone of any great garden design begins with the consideration of how people will want to use the land.  For Cassee and Kurt, they wanted their back yard to not only be beautiful with easy access to enjoy all the different areas, but it had to have great lawn space.  Grass may seem so boring but it’s very important to landscapes.  It is particularly important for Kurt and Cassee’s back yard because they needed to create the perfect setting for the small scale music events in their backyard. They call them Tin Roof Sessions to be exact (stay tuned for another story later). These events put musicians on the front porch of their cottage that faces the backyard of their main house.   

Now you understand why they have to have a lush grassy area. It’s a must for all of the blankets and lawn chairs and barefeet that will gather to enjoy local music.  

There is no right or wrong answer to gardening, just endless beautiful options to care for and enjoy.   Stay tuned for our next post in our agent gardening series.  And we would love to hear about your garden too.