Need help, not sure what to plant (pics included)

suz9601February 4, 2014

Hi guys. I am about to landscape down the side of my fence and am not sure what I should put there. I am fairly new to gardening (have a couple of years under my belt) but feel overwhelmed at the blank slate I have. I was wondering if you all have any ideas. The area is about 35-40 feet long. The middle part is about 3-4 deep and around the tree and at the other end, maybe 5-6 feet deep from fence. I am looking for shrubs and perennials mainly. Thanks for any ideas. I really appreciate any help. The area gets full sun. I hope you can make out the area I have marked with the extension cord in the pic.

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Close up of garden area

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 1:03PM
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Other end of garden area

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 1:04PM
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What are your goals? Are you looking for privacy that goes above the fence line or just small shrubs? 3-4ft is a relatively narrow space, so that would limit your choices if you are not looking for upright growth. Any chance that space could be expanded?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 5:05PM
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A bed line similar to this would be more realistic, unless you just want to plant a row of annuals or something narrow. When you share your goals it will be possible to make suggestions.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 2:15AM
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I can expand the space. The yard isn't very large that is why I had such a narrow space, but I guess it would be fine to enlarge it. My goals are just to have something nice to look at and maybe feed some wildlife (birds) in process. I already have a wildgarden and butterfly garden in the yard, so looking for something that looks nice now.

I really appreciate the responses. I am just overwhelmed on where to begin. I could do something like what Yardvaark suggested, Is it okay to have all the fence lined with shrubs/flowers? Just didn't know if that would make my yard look weird if I did all along the fence on all 4 sides? Thanks again for your help.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:41PM
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Winter Berry Holly is a great choice for birds and adds much needed color to the garden during the cold months. Other trees that might work are Serviceberry and Dogwood.

I'm more familiar with trees and shrubs, so others can chime in on what the best flowers would be. The area represented by white flowers could display some tall flowers. Idea: Oriental Lily.

Maybe mix in some perennial grasses and other flowers/shrubs that attract birds. Adding some sort of rock or hard scape wouldn't look bad either

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 10:46PM
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I would put in the hardscape first.
Where you have a gate into the yard, I would put in some cement blocks as a small walkway.
You can make smaller "rooms" sort of speaking in the yard, it is big enough, and will look even bigger with "rooms".
Mabey even just a couple different spaces, seperating the spaces by using a nice arbor, and growing a nice vine on it, and planting some bushes on each side of it, creating seperation between the rooms.
Rose of sharon is a great shrub to use for this, it flowers and grows well, it takes triming well, hollys are ever green, mabey some of them, or small evergreens that stay real green in the winter.
Arborvitae (I have emerald green), stays real green all winter, it grows slow so it won't take over your whole yard.
Do you have a patio right in back of your house?
If not, you should put something close to the house as a patio, mabey using either stone or cement block, and a nice big patio unbrella would provide shade and privacy from above.
Don't forget some nice big pots, they are wonderful filled with any nice plants that will bloom all summer. Half barrels are attractive filled with petunias, and have you thought of a water feature?
A small fountain, or pond, would be a focal point, in which all the plants and shrubs would be planted around it.
Good Luck.
It's a lot of work, do it slow, you can add a little every year.
Sometimes if you do it too fast, you will change your mind and have to change everything, and that is even more work. LOL!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 11:06PM
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Suz9601, you may want to check out the conifer forum here on GW. Take your time and snoop around,there are many gardens to check out(you may have to go back a few pages for the best pictures). Also look for nursery reviews on the conifer forum. Don't forget about Japanese maples! To me the great thing about the right conifers is they are maintenance free after a few years of TLC. When planning the outline of your beds think about mowing,nice long sweeping curves as opposed to mowing yourself into a corner. Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 1:01AM
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Most plantings will easily outgrow a 3' depth bed, so in that size space end up looking pinched and are constantly growing out of bounds. It's better to give them some decent room so they look comfortable, not strangled.

It won't look strange to plant all the way around the yard, but all the plants don't need to be big and bushy (as if you're trying to hide the fence.) You might place taller material at the ends of the bed (corners of the yard) and medium material elsewhere. Under the trees, you might place short material ("groundcover" height.) Add hardscape elements if you need/want them, not because you think you should have them. I'd avoid edgings that stick up above the grade, as they can easily look junky.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 2:26AM
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SC77- The pic you did looks great. Can you give me some of the names of the plants so I can get an idea. I alerady have a serviceberry there, so I am good there. Thanks so much for the pic. It helps me to get ideas of what things will look like. Is there a specific software I can buy or download similar to the one you used? Thanks again for the names of the plants if you have them. It would help a lot.

Butter4u- I do have a patio and have implemented many of the ideas you mention such as petunias in barrels, fountain, etc.
By rooms, do you mean seperate garden areas?
You are right, I should go slow, that would prevent me from redoing as much as I normally have to. Thanks for your help.

Yardvaark-Thanks for the ideas. I want varying heights, so that would be the way to go. I have decided to enlarge the bed some, make it wider than the 3 ft. So that will give me more room.

hungrymind- I will check out the conifers forum. That will help me with that area, thanks for the tip on that and the mowing.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 11:46AM
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