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Help me come up with a plan...

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Help me come up with a plan...

Postby tulips76 » Apr 15, 2011 11:29 am

We moved into our 1970's bungalow last year, and if you can believe it in the last 40 years not one person has put in a garden.- until now. I am not new to gardening but I have never had an opportunity to plan a space, and I am overwhelmed.

The yard faces south east and we live in south western ontario- kitchener area. There is a walk out from the kitchen that comes out to some wooden steps. The previous owners built a wooden deck pad (8* 10), that we currently have at the bottom of our stairs, but can be moved elsewhere. Along the back of the house there is nothing but dirt- previously there had been landscape cloth, and mulch- but I took that up. We also found an assortment of flat stones in the backyard that we could likely use to make some sort of path or patio.

I would appreciate any ideas!
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Re: Help me come up with a plan...

Postby B_BQ » Apr 15, 2011 12:09 pm

That is certainly going to keep you busy for the next year ..... or two ....... or three!!!!!! :lol:

Depending on your lifestyle, I think you will need a really nice area for sitting, relaxing, eating, etc. Next get the rest of your hard landscaping thought out. Do you want raised beds? Do you want any grass at all? Maybe you might like to disguise the garden shed in some way. There are some lovely bamboo screens around these days!

Lot's of talented people on this forum and hopefully they'll guide and inspire you with some great ideas.

I'm very partial to Goldens! :)

~BBQ
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Re: Help me come up with a plan...

Postby tulips76 » Apr 15, 2011 1:18 pm

Thanks... I know it is a multi year project. Last summer I put a bed along the fence line on the left hand side where it is sunny.

What I was thinking is to add plants along the fence line all the way around. I as they fill out I would expand the beds (in years to come). I would like to keep the grass where it is, for the dogs and our daughter. In the area on the right hand side between the trees I was thinking of creating a second sitting area- either with a small deck or the flagstone.

What you can't see is the area right next to the house. We have a small deck and a lot of open dirt area. That is where we sit and BBQ. The deck is movable -so I might move it to the shade area in the back.

We are big back yard people... we do a lot of living in our yard. I also want to think about creating a space that our daughter will enjoy as she gets older.
I could definately use some suggestions for plants... specifically covering that back fence... would virgina creeper be okay?
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Re: Help me come up with a plan...

Postby kelly_m » Apr 15, 2011 3:08 pm

Virginia creeper can get invasive...but it sure is pretty. Other options could be grape or Porcelain vine. I would definitely add hostas and ferns to the fence line too...adds depth and texture. you can get so many different varieties of both to add "colour" as well. Not to mention very hardy with the dog and your daughter! Kinda would be a nice backdrop to the seating area too.
Kelly
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Re: Help me come up with a plan...

Postby countrychic » Apr 16, 2011 10:30 am

How about this plan? I would say shape your garden first before planting, deciding the curves of the beds and where the grass will grow. Then you will have an idea of how big the beds will be, even if you can't fill them in in one season. At least you will be able to put in the big shrubs first, and do the little perennials next spring.

Around the tree you could make it a raised bed, using short wooden poles, and filling it in with soil, burying the roots of the tree, and plant hostas and ferns and other shade loving plants like bleeding heart.

At the back fence, something with height, like cedars or junipers (for shade). Maybe a flowering shrub or small tree in the far left corner. Add a bench by the tree, and fill in those beds around the fence.

I'll post some pics of the raised tree bed.
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Re: Help me come up with a plan...

Postby countrychic » Apr 16, 2011 10:41 am

Or this?
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Re: Help me come up with a plan...

Postby Scrapinthehat » Apr 18, 2011 10:53 am

countrychic...wow...some great ideas there with pics to go with them!

tulips76...I'm so glad you realize that a garden takes several years to develop. I'm guilty of watching too many makeover shows and thinking if they can do it, well then so can I....NOT! Although I don't have any garden layouts to share, I do have a few thoughts. Start with some gardening books and mags to see what you like and what you don't. Decide all of the functions the yard must perform (ie. play, relax, dog run, storage, etc) and then create zones for those functions. If you think you may ever need electrical run to the yard, do it before it's all planted up. Mostly.....start small and expand as you go. Good luck. We'd love to see pics of your progress!
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Re: Help me come up with a plan...

Postby tulips76 » Apr 18, 2011 11:58 am

Thanks everyone... i like the plan of going with beds that border the yard.
So now I want to ask for plant suggestions. I see the yard has having 3 areas.

the left hand bed on the fence-
i was thinking shasta, cone flower, black eyed susan

the left hand back corner-
something larger like a shrub- lilac, burning bush, or butterfly bush?

the right hand side (shade)
hosta, fern, solomon's seal, lily of the valley

any other suggestions? Also what about growning a vine of some sort in these areas.... i thought virginia creeper for the back corner (which are horrible sad fences)- but is it too invasive? even in the shade?
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Re: Help me come up with a plan...

Postby Scrapinthehat » Apr 20, 2011 3:21 pm

tulips76....seems like you're off to a good start. Just a reminder that some plants (ie. lily of the vally) are quite poisonous so keep that in mind if kids and/or pets will be using the space. Having said that, I have kids and pets and several poisonous plants (Monkshood, Iris, Hellebores). My kids are teens and the dog is not a chewer (and I am outside with her most of the time). I'm sure there are lots of poisonous plant lists in cyper space...I just don't know of them.

Virginia Creeper is supposedly quite invasive but I can't speak from personal experience. Hydrangea or Honeysuckle vines will grow in part-shade and there are a few varieties of each to choose from. Kiwi vine also grows in part-shade I think. Some Clematis (especially the Viticella varieties) will tolerate a fair amount of shade.

There are many approaches to planning a garden. Some start with function (play vs. relax vs, storage, feed the family, etc), some with a color (garden focuses on a certain color or colors), some with hardscaping (a stone patio, arbor, sidewalks, etc), some with a favorite flower (one from their childhood or wedding bouquet), garden style (plan on matching the style of their house, ie. formal, cottage, asian, etc )...I'm sure there are other ways to start.

Also, when it comes time to actually start planting some say to pick one small area, plant it up and move on only when you're done. Others say to plant trees first (as they take the longest to get growing), followed by bushes, large perennials, then small fillers. I believe in a blend of these ideas... putting in trees throughout the yard first then tackle a smaller area more completely. I can't wrap my head around planning a whole yard at once. Good luck.
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Re: Help me come up with a plan...

Postby tulips76 » Jan 31, 2012 4:33 pm

I wanted to attach some new pics and get some more feedback.
These pictures were taken last fall. Unfortunately i don't have one from the same angle - but you get the idea. A few trees came down in a storm last year- which threw off my plans a bit. I have definately made some headway. I created a border all around the yard of plants, and my husband built me some raised beds for veggies. I also created a little rock garden.

Here are my challenges for this year-
develop zones- i would like an area for eating/entertaining
an area for our daughters toys (and potentially a play house)
some privacy from our neighbours on the right (considering planting a lilac hedge)
we had a small pond last year and my husband would like to move it to the back left hand corner of the yard and make it bigger.
We also need a section of open space for the kids and dogs to run about.
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areaback left corner - where we are thinking of putting the pond/dining area
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view of the house from in front of the shed
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new sitting/rock garden
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