by Connie Oswald Stofko
When Kevin Lickers bought his West Side home in 2007, the small backyard had absolutely no gardens.
“There was nothing here. I’m not kidding you. No flower beds,” he said while gazing at the colorful expanse of perennials that fill the yard now.
What the yard did have was a big grill.
“It was distracting, Lickers said, “and we don’t barbecue much.”
He and his partner Ricardo Arce got rid of the large barbecue (they use a small fold-up barbecue when they want to cook outdoors) and installed a cozy gazebo that is their oasis.
I visited them in 2021 during Garden Walk Buffalo.
When you follow the path in the first photo, you come to the gazebo at the back of the yard, wedged between two garages. The garage walls and a fence provide privacy, creating an outdoor room.
At the entrance to the gazebo is a pond and waterfall, obscured at first by perennials. Slow down and enjoy the burbling water.
The flowers planted around the gazebo were new last year.
Lickers offered several gardening tips:
- Pay attention to plant tags. If the tag says full sun, it needs six hours of sun in the heat of the day, not just six hours at the end of the day, he said.
- Place taller plants in back and shorter ones in front, keeping in mind how tall the plants will eventually get.
- Remember that perennials spread; you’ll have to divide them every few years. That’s okay; you can give your extras to friends.
- Plant more native plants. Lickers said their native plants attract butterflies and bees, and they’re good for the environment.
- Pick the brains of the staff at local nurseries.
- Don’t kill spiders; they help control mosquitoes.
- To make your landscape interesting, choose plants with different heights, colors and textures. To see if it works, “Step back and look at your landscape like you’re looking at a canvas,” he said.
And finally, don’t try to do everything all at once.
“This is a journey,” Lickers said. “A long journey.”
See more views of the gazebo below.