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New House, New Yard! - Help Please!

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New House, New Yard! - Help Please!

Postby hunyluv_cda » Jun 03, 2011 7:23 pm

Hello everyone,

My name is Lori & I've joined this group in hopes of getting some ideas for my east facing front yard in Winnipeg, MB. I've just recently purchased a new home & am overwhelmed at the idea of coming up with a plan for my yard, even though it is quite small. It's currently full of hard clay & weeds but I'm on a fairly busy feeder route (complete with public transit passing by on a regular basis) so I'd like to get this project going sooner than later.

One thing I'm certain of is I do NOT want any grass whatsoever. I don't even want to own a lawnmower if I can help it! (The back yard will be one big patio!) I've seen some really cool looking rock gardens online but I'm not sure if it would be sustainable in the harsh climate here? I honestly have never done any gardening in my life and am at a loss for what to do or how to begin this project!

As for the front walk up to the steps, I just have a sheet of plywood down for now. I'd like to lay down some patio bricks (to match the backyard) but wondering if that would be advisable for a front path?

Here are some photos & any advice would be so GREATLY appreciated!! Thanks & I'm looking forward to learning a lot from the experienced gardeners in this group!

Front of House 1.JPG
Front of House 2.JPG
Front of House 3.JPG
Last edited by hunyluv_cda on Jun 03, 2011 8:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New House, New Yard! - Help Please!

Postby hunyluv_cda » Jun 03, 2011 7:25 pm

** Played with it a bit more & managed to figure it out...

Looks like I need some assistance with uploading photos as well... geez! lol
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Re: New House, New Yard! - Help Please!

Postby B_BQ » Jun 03, 2011 8:19 pm

You've done just fine with posting pics - a lot better than some of us when we first joined.
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Re: New House, New Yard! - Help Please!

Postby Scrapinthehat » Jun 03, 2011 11:22 pm

Oh I love the idea of not having grass!

IIf you want a more casual look then maybe go with a curved front path out of brick or even stepping stones with thyme or moss growing between them. If you want a more formal look, then maybe a straight sidewalk with urns on either side of the steps

Considering it is a high traffic location, you may want to either put a row of low-growing shrubs along the public sidewalk or even build large berm (ie. hill of dirt with plants in it) for added privacy.

Looking forward to everyone's responses.
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Re: New House, New Yard! - Help Please!

Postby kelly_m » Jun 04, 2011 6:48 pm

What a great house!!! I would definitely go with patio stones to the front steps, and like Scrap tend to go with a less than straight idea...but....follow what you do. if you walk across to the steps then put the path kitty corner. If you walk and turn at the plywood, keep it there.

But I would start with a taller shrub or short tree...flowering, in the left corner. not too close to the house, just our from the corner....I wouldn't obstruct that window. Maybe you can put something lower under the window.

Purple leaf sand cherry or Wegelia can get quite tall...some spireas come in dwarf or smaller varieties.You can get away with rock say it's facing east?? Then it will be rather sheltered and possibly a microclimate (meaning you can push the limits of your planting zone. Good snowfall helps to insulate the plants as well and bieing in Winterpeg, I am sure you get plenty!! Day lilies and irises should do well, sedums for ground cover. You don't want to go with some of the "fashion" plants...they tend to need a higher plant zone than what you have.

Best advice is to check out what your local Nursery carries...they usually only stock what will grow in your zone....

Hopefully we'll be able to see some after pics!!! :D
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Re: New House, New Yard! - Help Please!

Postby Elena Zimmerman » Jun 06, 2011 8:41 am

Rock garden is the best part of my yard in Calgary, Alberta. Looks like you have a bit of gravel there already, so you will need to add topsoil, sand, and pit to build up the soil that the rock plants love.

I would start with figuring out what soil you have. If you are lucky to live in an old established area, where the good soil is deep - greeat! If you are in a new subdivision, where the idea of soil is the clay dug out of your basement put directly on the bedrock and sprinkled with the pre-requisit 6" of topsoil and covered with the grass, it is better to start your garden with a couple of years of soil-building crops to be mowed and dug back in to build up the productive soil. Yeah, I know, you'd love to plant now, but seeing the yard doesn't have the beds or anything like that right now, you can spend a couple of years growing wheat and beans and clover. Unless you set aside the budget to bring in enough compost to build in a foot or so of the good soil....

Or you can have a clover lawn. The clovers grow to a particular height and do not require mowing if you don't mind your groundcover to be about half-foot tall.

Just dig your spade in, and you will know pretty fast if you'd won the soil lottery!

Which remonds me, gotta plant more beans in the beds for soil improvement (I am the new subdivision sufferer).
Gardening in Calgary, AB, Zone 3, Chinook conditions
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Re: New House, New Yard! - Help Please!

Postby Smitty » Jun 06, 2011 9:13 am

I'd go for the curvy path of stepping stones too!!
and yes to the rock garden. and yes small tree...maybe a weeping caragana

If you have access to old issues of Manitoba Gardener,,they featured a garden by Prairie Blossom landscapers in Portage la Prairie. If you're ever in plap take a drive down Crescent won't miss the garden I'm talking about!..sure wish I could find a pic online for you.
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Re: New House, New Yard! - Help Please!

Postby Eeyore » Jun 06, 2011 12:08 pm

I have jsut one question. Do you use the space between the houses to get from front to back? If so, you could extend your patio blocks down that side and make a nice curve around the corner and connect to your front walk. Weeping Caragana will grow ANYWHERE so soil type isn't a huge issue. With the limited space you have I would keep the plantings on the smaller side for proportion. Possibly a small seating area (ie bistro table and 2 chairs, keeping proportion in mind again) and a rock garden is a great idea. You can use pit run or sandy soil as your foundation for the berms and add rooks as you see fit. Google Rock gardens for some ideas. There are lots of sites available and then visit the local nursery and look at the plants.

BTW - Love the house! It totally suits a rock garden theme!
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Re: New House, New Yard! - Help Please!

Postby orchidguy » Jun 07, 2011 12:23 pm

Hi, and welcome

Do you want the garden to be the focus in the front, or are you looking for something to accentuate the modern lines of your home? If you want to play up the straight lines of the front facade of the house, then stick with square or rectangular stone, if you want to soften the lines, then use round, oval or irregular shaped stones or pavers.
Do you want the house to stand out, or are you looking for more of a recessed, set back look?
Are you open to plants in pots?
Rock gardens can be had in any climate, as long as the plants are chosen accordingly.
Which exposure is your front yard facing. If it is north, then it would have a totally different feel, then if it recieves full sun all day.
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