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help for bumpy shady wet back yard

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help for bumpy shady wet back yard

Postby nsaeolian » May 18, 2008 6:12 am

Good morning.
I am new to this forum, so here goes. :D
I need heeeelllp. I don't know much about landscaping or gardening, to start. Our back yard is a wet, mossy, bumpy ( sink holes around rocks beneath? )and very shady place. We don't want to get rid of our trees as they provide much needed privacy. Any hints on what to do with this mess? I was thinking of ripping up the whole mossy "lawn"( and I use the term loosely ) and putting in lots of hostas, ferns and some kind of ground cover but so many how-to mags don't really tell you how to do it. Just ideas, with no guidance, which is what my hubby and I really need!
Also, any recommendations for good gardening or landscaping books or other resources? I thought this website would be a good start.

I live just outside of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and our soil is very clay like. That I do know, ha ha! Happy Victoria Day tomorrow, by the way. I hope it doesn't rain. It poured here yesterday. Thanks!
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Postby Venice » May 18, 2008 3:07 pm

ahhhh good luck hahaha. Sounds like a great project. Getting some pictures posted would be great to give a better idea. Also size would help, and style.

If it's a reasonably sized yard and I wanted it to be maintenance free. I would do the following steps.

1. Rent a tiller and till up all the grass.
2. Spread newspaper over all the grass and wet down well with hose.
3. put landscape fabric over the entire area.
4. Get some hoses and spray paint, and mark out a pathway, or seating area, and perhaps use some rock, flagstone. or heavy bark chips.
5. Then I would decide what shade plants I want. Set them out around the area. Then cut a big X in the fabric and dig a hole, fill with good soil and plant. Then when your done cover the area with mulch.

If the yard is small this will work great, and you should have little to no weeding. On a larger scale I would rent a sod remover. It slices off the grass, and then you'll have to dispose of them somehow.

If your soils really tough and full of clay I would rent a tiller as well and mix in some compost and topsoil. Then I would do my plantings.

There are lots of plants that do well in shade, annuals as well. And you can have lots of nice colors. I think I would be tempted to do an 'Evening Garden' with lots of silver and verigated foliage and some nice white flowers, such as Bleeding heart, impatiens, begonias. Coleus do a great job in the shade and have a huge impact.
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Postby Lindamct » May 18, 2008 3:24 pm

:lol: Well done Ven. No wonder your yard looks absolutely gorgeous! :)
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Postby Venice » May 18, 2008 3:43 pm

ahhh thanks. We learned the hard way ahhaha.

Here's a few pictures I googled 'shade garden' under Images on Google. There's a lot of really lovely gardens to give you a few ideas. here's some that are like I discribed.

Image


These people did a nice blog on the making of their garden. The back is sun, but the front and side are lovely in the shade.

Image
http://ky-dan.com/garden2002.html

Image


a great little seating area, really makes the garden inviting.

Image

Ven

Disclaimer: None of these are from my yard.
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Postby Venice » May 18, 2008 3:46 pm

since you have a lot of trees. Something like this would work with a nice bench or some kind of seating area at the end. Perhaps a water feature as well.

Image

Ven
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Postby Northpine » May 19, 2008 11:33 pm

nsaeolian,
Perhaps you would like to check out the post about lasagna gardening. If you went that route, you could tackle one area at a time. That way it's not so overwhelming. But make an overall plan first, even if you don't intend to get it all done at once.
Hostas and ferns are a very good idea for a shady garden and can be very attractive. I enjoy my shade garden more than any other area of my yard. It's cool, and easier to maintain.

I would disagree about putting landscape cloth everywhere as suggested. I only would use it in areas under mulch where you don't want anything to grow. Using it in a flowerbed prevents the amending of the soil and makes it very difficult to move plants around, IMO.
Good luck and enjoy the process.
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a wet backyard.

Postby Puff10 » May 20, 2008 12:03 pm

Hello Nova Scotian,

I understand what you mean. All this rain we have been getting. However, there are some plants that love to have their feet wet.Hostas and ferns are a sure good start. Throw in some astilbes(various colours), some native plants,... add philipendulums. You could add a pond also. Get water gardening plants, brightly coloured irises (Yellow)
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wet grounds

Postby Puff10 » May 20, 2008 12:06 pm

picrture of a wet spot.
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business 114.jpg
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Postby Katherine » May 21, 2008 1:25 am

If its bumpy, that usually means tree roots near the surface, and sink holes usually mean that the materials are failing due to waterlogging. this can actually be to your advantage. The lasagna method I describe (with a nod to sharon b ) is great for this type of situation, just make your beds as deep as you can, and plant hostas and foxgloves, astilbe, rhodo's, fothergilla, bleeding heart, ozmorhiza, columbine, impatiens, tiger lilies, the list of shade loving moisture loving plants is endless, but watch out for slugs! Because of the roots, you will always have to add to your soil..but you will have a very private, peaceful garden from this site....post some pictures when you get a chance.
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Postby nsaeolian » May 22, 2008 4:24 am

Wow thanks everyone. I just got around to reading the replies this am. Now to decide what to do..... Thanks again. :D
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