There are several small patios scattered about the rear garden, each with a chair or bench, and since gatherings are rare (despite my wife’s wishes) there is no need for larger areas or more seating. The number of patios is a convenience to sit to rest without going too far, but also to enjoy the variety of views and sun exposures, from nearly full sun beside the koi pond to mostly shade nearer the house.
The oldest of the patios (above) is closest to the house, and it is in need of a bit of rehabilitation that it is not likely to get. A globose blue spruce (Picea pungens ‘Globosa nana’) has encroached far over one side of the bluestone patio, and with many lower branches dead it would be best to remove it rather than attempting to carve out the dead. But, it backs up to a conical boxwood and to a holly, and if the spruce went away there would be significant gaps where the three grow together. Such is the problem with an older garden, so the better solution is to pretend that the dead branches aren’t so bad after all.
On the opposite side from the spruce, a green leafed Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Viridis’, above) has spread several feet over the edge of the round patio. With tall Ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) also overhanging, the usable space is no more than half the patio’s area. But, that’s not much of a problem as far as I’m concerned. The two wooden chairs are ancient, I wouldn’t dare sit on one. I assume it would crash to the ground, so they’re just ornaments, and the patio has become a walkway leading down to other areas to sit.
Least worrisome, several bluestones on the lower end have slipped over the years, now with a wider gaps that invite weeds, and the ornamental inset (interlocking lizards, I think) has settled. If this garden was neatly maintained each of these items would require correction, but here, neatness is not required.