If Frisky's house is her castle, then the yard is her kingdom. Within this modest area, enclosed by a privacy fence, she has the freedom to roam at will, which sometimes keeps her adequately entertained for hours. Besides some lawn area (which consists mainly, but not exclusively, of grass) we have several gardens.
The gardens were not created overnight. When we moved into this house, about 17 years ago, there was nothing in our yard but bare clay soil and three live oak trees. The burning sun over most of the property was not conducive to creativity and our first "gardens" consisted of whatever happened grow amidst the sparse grass we had planted. Frisky was appreciative of anything that added variety to her landscape, such as the evening primroses (shown below) that graced our lawn a decade ago.
Frisky enjoys her job of guarding our entire yard against intruders. She keeps an ever watchful eye open for such dangerous creatures as squirrels, cats, opossums, and the occasional cotton rat. Although she appears to be alert, we often look out to see her happily sniffing away at something in the grass, oblivious to the squirrels blithely scampering about not 15 feet away.
Frequently perusing every square foot of our little 1/3 acre, Frisky ckecks to make sure that all is in order with the various structures such as the porch and fences. Pictured below, she is distracted while inspecting our compost bins. Although the bins are too tall for Frisky to look into, she often finds their aroma attractive, depending on what has recently been dumped in.
Our preferred method of gardening is not one which includes neatly manicured, perfectly spaced rows of color-coordinated annuals. We have found that it is much more satisfying to delineate the garden from the lawn with a rock or log border, then plant everything we can obtain within this space. The resulting jungle mishmash tends to hold our interest better, as well as providing frequent surprises when we discover something "new" (or that we just didn't see before because it was lost in the clutter). This type of gardening is a bit like managing a wilderness preserve on a tiny scale. It keeps us entertained. Frisky agrees.
Our various gardens each have their own unique personalities. The area shown above is the pond garden. The shadiest garden, pictured below, is located under two large live oak trees and contains a zigzag brick path which wanders through the middle of it. While Frisky is well aware that we prefer her to stay on the paths, which we have assiduously provided, and not step on the plants, she only does this when she deems it important, like when she knows we are watching.
Dictated by the size of our yard, the gardens tend to be rather small and crowded. The paths through them are narrow and creatures as big as humans have to exercise a modicum of care to stay on the pavement. Being rather small herself, Frisky has no such concerns. Some of the gardens seem to be made just for her, such as this back corner area with its diminutive paving brick walkways which give her convenient access to the most remote area of the yard.
There are two ponds in our yard, along with a couple of shallow dishes for water. While we put these out for wildlife, Frisky is convinced that they are for her alone. She constantly samples the water in each source, and seems to like the various flavors they offer due to the birds making frequent use of the them. In the photo below, she is partaking of water from our most overgrown pond. The large flowers are water hyacinths.