I Need to remodel this area! help!

emmybee93February 10, 2013

OK, so the area seen in this picture (a tree and some half dead shrubs)has always looked pretty bad! I need to completely re do this corner. I would like a tree that grows to roughly 3-5 meters, small shrubs for around it and perhaps some ground covers for the very edges and the driveway strip. My problem is, this ground is very very hard, almost solid, very infertile and I live in Australia, so it's a warm climate, with frost in winter. I don't mind doing a fair bit of work to get this area up and running I just have no inspiration and no ideas. My rough theme is pinks, purples and dark greens (I have lavender, pink roses and dark green native Australian shrubs already in this area). I would prefer something that wont take too long to grow as this area is a bit of a sore spot for me and I'm pretty keen to fix it. I am also able to install some kind of sprinkler/timed hose to keep it moist. Please please please help!! Thank you, Em.

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Em, I suggest that you post a different picture (and right-side up.) Landscaping is about placing plants in such a way that enhances your home and property. It wouldn't be possible to know what to do here because much of your home is either out of view or blacked out by strong shadow. You should start with a wider, more overall view of the area. Then add more (well exposed) pictures that explain things better, as needed.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Thanks, heres that one:

This post was edited by emmybee93 on Thu, Feb 14, 13 at 20:31

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:22PM
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And this:

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:25PM
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And a view of the whole area:

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:27PM
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I am quite unfamiliar with dry arid climates I live in southeast USA. However it sounds like herbs would do well in your dry soil and clime. You already have lavendar so could you add other herbs like rosemary, sages. It seems spiky plants would look good like yucca? I love your house and porch and railings/architecture. The big shrub with red flowers looks too big for that spot. Can you prune it in depth or maybe some sort of espalier form? Or can you come out with another layer of plantings/tier/groundcover in front. It wouldn't necessarily have to be inside of a planter but just dig a trench in front of the new planting to delineate it. I hope the others respond who are much more informed than I am.
Laurie in Mississippi USA

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:05AM
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Thanks, that all sounds great! Its a rose bush and I couldn't agree more, I just cant bring myself to cut off the flowers! I may move it though. I love growing herbs so thats great! Thank you so much.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 2:42AM
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The house seems quite attractive so I would not try to hide parts of it. Just make the foreground a pleasing, fairly plain "floor" to set the house on and add a couple of decorative plants. A tree 3-5 meters, is best made of what we usually term large (but not too large!) "shrubs." IMO, the multi-trunk "tree" has much more personality and oomph to it as compared to the single trunk, but either would work. I would aim for a 5 meter height tree. Is your climate humid or dry, in general? Do you have a rainy season and does it come in summer or winter? Do you know your climate zone information. Does the soil run acid or alkaline? What plant choice options do you have for a "lawn" that looks good?\\

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 4:28AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

It is probably worth knowing what part of Australia you live in, whether your region currently has water rationing as much of Australia does, and whether it is important to you to design your new improved landscape with drought tolerant plants in general, or mostly Australian natives, or whether these aren't concerns. I'd also want to know what the tree is next to the house, and what exactly those raised lumps of soil are, they almost look like termite mounds in the photo. I'm guessing that the tree might be something like a Carrotwood tree, or another species that may have very dense shade and aggressive roots that make it hard to garden below it. Can you regrade the are to remove those mounds, and add topsoil or compost to improve soil conditions before you add new plants? If you can soak the area thoroughly and deeply with a soaker hose before attempting to regrade/amend the soil, it makes it much easier to add amendments and dig. It also looks like you may use that front half-dead looking lawn area as parking, and whether that is part of the area you would like to relandscape with some non-turf plantings or not would be helpful.

As Australia is such a large country with vastly different climatic conditions, knowing your location would definitely help. Planting recommendations will vary greatly depending on whether you are somewhere like Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth or tropical top end of the country. Some indication of how cold you get in winter, and how hot in summer, and how many months of rain at which season would also be helpful to give more specific advice.

And from the photo, that flowering shrub at the front of the house looks more like a Lagerstroemia indica than a rose, but I'm sure you would know the difference between the two...

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 6:11PM
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Thank you everyone!! I live in North Victoria, so warm summers, cool winters, which flood every few year (my house doesnt get flooded but a creek floods around 20 metres from our house). We have no water rationing at the moment but we have in the past and could again in a few years if its dry.

They arent termite mounds, the lady that used to live in the house used to just dump all her left over soil their. But yes I plan to level this. What kind of ground cover would be green all year round? I dont need something flowering, just something to cover the soil.
I suspect youre right about the tree, It will be difficult once I get rid of it to also get rid of enough root mass to garden there.
The lawn is temporary parking space but in a few months we are having turf put down.

yardvaark, that mock up looks great! What kind of tree could I get? Its occasionally humid here but more often it is dry, and as far as I know the soil is more alkaline.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 12:36AM
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"What kind of tree could I get?" Do crape myrtles grow well there? If so, I'd put it on the short list. Close to the house like that, my preference would be for annual pollarding since it give a nicely shaped head smothered in flowers as well as provides a way to easily control the overall size of the plant. If you wanted evergreen, you might consider something like a tea olive (if they grow there) for ultra delicious scent during the cool season.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:58AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

How about a macadamia? Beautiful flowers, fabulous nutritious nuts, and a nice slow growing shade tree. The macadamia rewards you for your efforts!

I do love the design from yaardvark. Good luck with your project!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:56PM
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