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Solutions for my poor neglected garden?

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Solutions for my poor neglected garden?

Postby Chihiro » May 05, 2009 8:52 pm

I live in Vancouver, and am a majorly novice gardener. I need to do something with my neglected back garden - I have been procrastinating for three years. It is south facing, small, lightly sloped and heavily shaded by a huge Bing cherry tree (which I could not possibly cut down….) Much of the rest of the yard is taken up by a big detached garage structure, and a large deck. The grass is largely scrubby and weedy and I would HUGELY appreciate any design ideas for my challenging space. Should I get a few yards of soil, spread it out, and then put some mulch and river rock under the tree? Or put pots with shade perennials in the ‘baldy’ areas under the tree, and try to turf the small grass area? I have a three year old, so anything too delicate is probably impractical.

Two larger plants, an old azalea and a mock orange just upped and died over the winter and left two big bald spots in the side bed. Another complication is that the cedar roots make it difficult to plant, so I was considering raising/ amending the side beds, since my soil is quite poor as well. Not sure if I should attempt correcting the slope of the yard by buying topsoil? I would be extremely appreciative of ANY ideas!
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garden 1_0109.jpg
patchy little yard....
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Re: Solutions for my poor neglected garden?

Postby B_BQ » May 07, 2009 10:52 pm

Bump!
Zone 5b
South/Central Ontario

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Re: Solutions for my poor neglected garden?

Postby Eeyore » May 07, 2009 11:59 pm

How badly do you want lawn? Personally I'd be tempted to look at doing something else with the area. It doesn't appear to be a large space and it looks like a sandbox in the one corner. Have you considered putting in pathways with raised gardens and some seating areas?
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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Re: Solutions for my poor neglected garden?

Postby Chihiro » May 08, 2009 4:05 am

Thanks Eeyore... No, I'm not really attached to grass...but I wondered about what a small child might do to another type of ground cover. The thing is, grass won't grow properly under the cherry tree, so I thought mulch would be good, but I'm not sure if the small or large type would be practical for all the late summer cherry mess.

Yes, there is a sandbox, but we don't consider it a permanent fixture.

We do have a lot of seating areas on a big deck (not shown) I do like the idea about raised pathways, do you mean timber decks, or stone. Do you know hoe much I could add to the topsoil (inches -wise ) without disturbing the tree roots? I was thinking to order 3-5 yards, but I really have no idea. Thanks so much...
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Re: Solutions for my poor neglected garden?

Postby Eeyore » May 08, 2009 2:17 pm

You could go with timber or stone, depending on what you like. In that space I could see timber pathways to a stone patio in the back corner with a small seating area. and a garden on either side of the path. Can you get a photo looking straight into the area towards the back fence?

If the cherry tree has roots at the surface then I wouldn't cover them with more than an inch or 2 of soil. The roots will move up to the surface eventally anyway.
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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Re: Solutions for my poor neglected garden?

Postby Chihiro » May 09, 2009 4:07 am

Oh, those are lovely ideas... I'll try to get a photo from that angle. I really don't know if the grass is worth re-seeding or not....
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Re: Solutions for my poor neglected garden?

Postby Eeyore » May 09, 2009 1:44 pm

Your grass looks to be in pretty rough shape with quite a few weeds. If you want to keep it as lawn I think you will need to kill off the weeds and then put down some top soil and then either seed or sod.
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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Re: Solutions for my poor neglected garden?

Postby Edison » Jun 05, 2009 3:16 am

designing a small space garden is really a challenge. but applying some tactics you can easily maintain it.Some grass choices for your garden are Miscanthus, reed grass, different varieties of flax, wheat grass or even pampas grass.Choose just one type of grass and repeat it around your tree or in the front of your garden bed that will really look nice.
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Re: Solutions for my poor neglected garden?

Postby Aigle » Jun 05, 2009 8:52 pm

I just got some Japenese forest grass after seeing it mentioned in our hosts website. Never saw it until this year, but I think it's popularity is making it more available and affordable.

Personally I am not a parent, but I recall my parents garden as a very small kid (I was hooked early on, I guess) they had a dry riverbed that was certainly not child friendly. My initial feeling is beds raise with wood for lush plantin and do a lawn in the base for your little one to toddle on.

Just first thought on seeing the space. I remember the grass lwan and looking for four leafed clovers for house... I may have been around three or four. :)
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