Spanish Town men put new spin on urban sprawl with rambling landscape

When Patrick Ford and Greg Myers bought their Spanish Town bungalow in January, the yard had a few old hollies, an overgrown oleander and some scrawny grass.

In less than four months, the men transformed the property into a spectrum of color that has neighbors changing their walking routes to stop by and look.

“It is not planned. It’s informal. It’s sort of a ‘do as we go,’” said Myers, 38, a funeral director and embalmer.

Even though the two men are redoing the 1920s craftsman-style home themselves, they couldn’t resist starting with the landscaping.

“It’s for my emotional health to be able to get outside,” said Ford, 31, a family service counselor.

They first removed the sod and pulled out most of the overgrown shrubbery.

“We felt that we needed to open up the yard,” Ford said.

The next step was to form their beds and till the soil, adding what little fertilizer and other products they needed before they did their planting.

“The soil in the Spanish Town area is incredibly rich,” Ford said.

The two men have different landscaping philosophies, but they have managed to come to a happy compromise.

“Greg likes everything very manicured and precise,” Ford said. “I like to get as many things as I can in the space, all randomly placed. The plants tell us where they need to go, and we give them a good home.”

The front of the home is framed with three major beds including a corner bed with a sugar kettle fountain.

“We have planted a mix of perennials with room for the seasonals that we can change out,” Ford said.

To improve the view from their front porch, the men also planted the curb area of the property directly across the street.

“We actually don’t own across the street, but we heard through the grapevine that the owner said ‘by all means,’” Ford said.

There is very little yard on the south side of their property, but Myers found a way to use every inch by building a tiered garden box, which is tightly planted with summer vegetables and herbs.

Throughout the garden are all sorts of items the men have repurposed and creatively used, like a bejeweled bowling ball placed on an old piece of terra-cotta pipe.

Myers found two old windows that he hinged together, decorated with spindles and a knob and placed in a side bed. He turned two large funnels into hanging planters and filled an old sink with blooming flowers.

“Greg is good at making these things,” Ford said. “I can get things to grow.”

The lifelong gardeners spend a couple of hours each day working in their yard.

“Everywhere I have lived, I have had some sort of a garden. I had to bring a little bit of country with me,” said Ford, who grew up in the small town of Acme in Concordia Parish, and learned gardening from his mother.

“I have always grown something ­— flowers or little tomato plants,” said Myers, whose hometown is Jeanerette.

The small lot is bursting with flowers.

The goal is to plant for year-round color.

They are now anticipating their fall garden.

“In October, we’ll wipe out the annuals and replenish for winter,” Myers said.