Typical angle for comparison:
When I started, a year ago:
That's basically all hardpack sandy dirt, some rocks, a lot of dead vegetable matter, some VERY healthy dandelions out of frame, and a little bit of naturalized groundcover (so little, in fact, that it is nearly invisible in this image, but it really was there). Half of that is my neighbor's yard. All told, it's perhaps 15 by 18 feet, both together. They are essentially overly wide flowerbeds. The thing in the sunken pot is a very sad indeed spider plant that is still there, still alive, in desperate need of splitting, and which will be getting repotted into two or three hanging pot next week. Poor thing. I feel bad that I've let it languish for a whole year when it's already been there for god knows how long.
So I watered like mad and weeded for a couple of weeks. Then I went and spent a little money, and a couple of DAYS of ill-advised hard labor in the hot of summer, and put in some plants, watered more and moved around the abandoned pavers until I had something vaguely gardenlike:
I swear the plants looked bigger in my car.
I was trying to map out beds, one at the back against the wall, one along the walkway, a little path for easier access to maintain the garden, and a big main bed that I had not enough plants in yet to really divide into zones. It's informal, but even informal gardens have a plan.
Of course, it looks like it's nothing but plan at this point. And some rocks.
A little more watering and some time later, it looks a little better, but not much:
You can see that naturalized but not native groundcover (it's called "baby's tears") really enjoying someone actually watering. It's the only thing I actively cultivated that i didn't put down myself - even though there were some neat looking weeds that I considered, the only one that did not get the heave-ho was the baby's tears.
It actually looks better from ground level:
So, next there are a few months where I was so discouraged I didn't take pictures, even though the dianthus thrived, the sunflower things whose names I can't recall thrived, the alyssum (of course) exploded, my succulents did okay, and the mums did pretty good if I kept them deadheaded. It was okay to look at but the pictures just looked like the occasional potted plant in a vacant lot (similar to those above, but with puffier flowers, really). During those months of desperation, I also frantically weeded, kept watering, enriched the HORRIBLE soil (fertilizer, bag soil, coffee grounds, etc), bought a few more more plants and fluffed it up some, put in and pulled out some sacrificial rosebushes that died during the next-to-last frost this year, and I finally got some mulch and put in that path I had sketched out. I also bought some little solar lights. I took some pictures at night after I finished that major step:
So, it starts to look more like a deliberate garden than a disused flowerbed. Which was still better thn "empty lot with some plants and rocks."
Lastly, here is an out-of-focus, dark, and otherwise not very effective version of the typical angle shot.
Against the back wall, you can see the previous attempt at jasmine, both of which were killed by the final frost and its attendant scorching dry heatwave in late March, and the little azalea between them, which did survive, but barely. The brownish thing in the back in the third photo is the same azalea, which I left untrimmed while I tried to nurse if back to health. I've since added a trellis and put in a hardier, woodier jasmine to replace the casualties.
So there you are. If you like, you can click on the pictures to see the larger versions and page through the album. There are also some nifty macrophotography shots from when the whole yard didn't top six inches high, and I'll close with my favorite:
Lacking real macrophotography equipment like fancy lenses, I cheated for those - I set the camera for BIG images, set the timer, set it down among the plants and waited for the clicky noise.