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First time gardener looking for tips

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First time gardener looking for tips

Postby mva » May 10, 2008 9:24 pm

My husband and I bought our 1st home two years ago and decided not to do any gardening for a year or two. Well its time to start and neither of us really know what to do. We live just south of Barrie and the house faces north. I've attached pictures of the front yard. Yes it is truly sad and we need your help!!

Any advice?
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Postby Venice » May 10, 2008 10:37 pm

ahhh virgin yard whoohoo.

First a few things that will help people offer some help.

1. Rough budget
2. Style (country garden, English, Zen...)
3. Plant likes & Dislikes, colors.
4. Maintenance levels (how much time do you want to spend on upkeep)

And any other info you can offer. I'm sure you'll get lots of advice. Do you want some hardscaping, a nice path, or stepping stones????

Ven
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Postby Eeyore » May 10, 2008 11:36 pm

A few questions for starters. Which direction are you facing? How much sun do you get and what is the tree that is there?

Gardens are as individual as the person who owns them. As Ven asks, what do you like and what don't you like? It's important to figure out your "style" because your garden will not be a thing of pleasure if it doesn't suit you. Some people love unruly English cottage gardens and other people like more formal Japanese gardens. A good place to start is by looking at magazines and books that show different gardens and picking out what you like.
Lyn
AB, Zone 3A
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“Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.” ` James Arthur Baldwin"
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Postby MareE » May 11, 2008 6:56 am

And what species of tree is that the developer/town chose for your front yard, mva, and how big will it grow? Bro and SIL in Aurora are moving into new house in a development mid-July and can you believe they had no say in what tree would be planted but had to pay over $300 for it?

I'd start with annuals this season to brighten up your lovely new home and spend Fall/Winter deciding on a personal style as Ven and Lyn suggest.

Foremostly, get your SOIL/TILTH/DIRT in tiptop shape ASAP.

All the best!

MareE;o}


Last edited by MareE on May 11, 2008 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby kelly_m » May 11, 2008 8:59 am

Lyn...North facing...

I would start with a tall planter on the left side of the stairs...and hanging baskets on the rail.

The obvious choice would be to create a garden right in front of the porch...what type of plants do you like??? Flowers, shrubs, flowering shrubs????

K
Kelly
Zone 5a/b


OLD GARDENERS NEVER DIE. THEY JUST SPADE AWAY
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Postby Venice » May 11, 2008 9:45 am

ohhh and keep in mind all perrinals, trees, shurbs, etc. go on sale end of season, so that's a great time to pick them up.

Petunia's are great in full sun, Impatiens can take sun and shade. and coleus are amazing in the shade.

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Postby mva » May 11, 2008 5:08 pm

Thanks for your ideas. First I'll try to answer Ven's questions:

1. Rough budget - about $300 not much but its a start.
2. Style (country garden, English, Zen...) - anything low maintenance. I work late hours and may only have time on the weekends
3. Plant likes & Dislikes, colors. - I saw a picture of a Japanese Lace Leaf Maple and loved it. I don't want many different colours.
4. Maintenance levels (how much time do you want to spend on upkeep) - see #2

The tree in the front yard is an Elm tree. We had no say in it. I would have preferred a Japanese Maple. We get more shade than sun. Our neighbours across the street get full sunlight.

I'd like a focal area just to the right of the steps, maybe small shrubs and a miniature tree(s). I'd also like some flowers but I'm not sure what would work best with my maintenance level and where to put them.

Hope this helps.
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Postby Eeyore » May 12, 2008 10:28 am

Shrubs that like shade.....

Viburnums, Dodwoods and Hydrangeas.

Perennials for shade....

Astilbe, Ligularia (likes damp soil) Ferns, Hostas, Brunerra....

None of these should become unruly and don't need dividing for several years.

Definately make sure your soil is in good condition before you start planting.
Make your borders sinuous so that you get a smoother look. I would make a nice bed all along the front and part way down your neighbours drive. Put in some shrubs fronted by some perennial plants.
Lyn
AB, Zone 3A
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Postby Venice » May 12, 2008 5:22 pm

Japanese Lace Leaf Maple


Ohh ya those are amazing. Probably my favorite ornamental tree. Pricey though. Usually about $130 or so for a 3 1/5 to 4 foot twig ahahha, ok they're a bit bushy but the price is so much higher then a regular Japanese Maple. But they're soooo lovely.

I've been wanting one in my front planting area for years, I keep looking for one to go on discount some where!!!!

If I were you, I would buy a few annuals now, some nice baskets perhaps, or some annuals around your tree. And really focus on planning and getting some beds ready. Either by digging up your sod, and getting rid of it somehow. (sometimes this is the hardest part. ) or you can go the easy if not longer route of doing a lasenge bed. We did this idea a few years ago, by renting a tiller, we tilled up the grass where we wanted the beds, then we covered the area with newspaper, watered it well, then we addeded landscape fabric, but have discarded this as we had too many plants to make it worth while. it turned into swiss cheese. then we dumped a ton of compost and dirt on the new beds and planted up some petunia's. then when next spring came around the ground was able to be worked, and we had planted some shurbs and such in the fall.

The best way to figure out your beds is to get out your garden hose, and drape it round the yard, it's a nice way to visulize your beds.

I would probably do one against the house, another in the front, that would include the tree. and at some point put a nice path in, with a smaller planting on the left. Then I would so some hanging baskets, and perhaps some flower boxes on the railings. But that's because I'm a flower junkie.

If you want to spend your time enjoying your yard, I would put in some kind of automatic sprinklers, and make sure to have a hose handy for the pots, or better yet a drip line.

You can do your own auto sprinklers for really reasonable. What hubby did was bury a regular garden hose, and then at certain points in the lawn it'd cut it and attach a small sprinkler ($1.88 at XS Cargo). Then on to the next one. Then we added some soaker hoses in the beds. They all go on a splitter off the water spigot that has a timer. They can come on at 6 am every other day, or however you want. The main hose we found on the side of the road in someones garbage hhe. The most expensive part was the timer and splitter. It's amazing how easy it is, we're doing the same setup in the front garden this year. (too bad I accidentally sliced through the buried hose with the edger hahaha, I think it'll be the perfect place for a sprinkler)

Ven
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Postby Venice » May 12, 2008 6:50 pm

ok I felt like having fun with Photoshop.

This is what your yard could look like this year. With some mulch, petunia's and a few hostas, and of corse the hanging basket.

Image

Then perhaps in a few years, when you get more perennials added, like the clematis, Hydrangea, astilbe, and the Japanese Maple....

Ok I know I went over the top, and its very busy and too much, but well I got carried away. It's so much easier to add stuff then take it out ahhaha.

Image

Ven
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