Any ideas or advice for my almost-blank slate?

editornj(7 Coastal NJ)March 29, 2011

There is now a pear tree at the outermost part of the bed (looking at the second picture, it would be in front of the satellite dish, which is not in use).

I would like some privacy for the cement patio.

And I absolutely love climbers... just don't want to ruin the porch.


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OK,I post the pics here for encouraging other ideas.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 2:13PM
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Bonsai tree are expensive,maybe cedar replace it.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 2:33PM
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Quick questions to narrow things down:
- How much sun does this area get?
- How much maintenance do you want to do (hours/week)?
- Any allergies or concerns about bees? (I see kid toys, bee balm may not be a good choice if your kids are bee-chasers)
- Is this area visible as people drive up, or is it in a more private area of the yard where it's just you & your family (do you need to make a great first impression with this bed?)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 7:17AM
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Wow, that is cool. Both look good. Is there design software for that, or you just doing photoshop? Sorry if it is obvious to everyone else. I'm a noob.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 10:47AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

bdrusse, if you look closely at designshare's photoshops, you'll see that s/he has merely pasted plants in front of the severe grade change that dominates the area in question.

None of the fantasy plantings are actually located in the area you asked about; none of them deal with the grade change. From the front of the house (your current first photo), the view of that corner has not changed, and there's nothing that provides privacy to the patio from the front.

Unfortunately, it's all smoke and mirrors.


I think you would get get more responses if you could post photos taken from farther away:

= A better view of the patio.

= A long view taken from in front of the corner where the house meets the patio. This should also show the area to the left beyond the patio.

(Since you didn't show us the left-hand side of the patio, I have to assume it was privacy from the street that you were concerned about. If it's the next-door neighbors being able to see the patio that bothers you, a photo from the same location, aimed toward the property line closest to the patio, would also help. Or you could stand on the patio with your back against the house and take the photo.)

= A similar long view of that entire bed, taken from in front of the corner of the front porch.

To pam29011's request for more information, I add a request that you also let us know how far from the side of the house the property line is.

I'm not a pro, but I believe you're going to need more than just a few landscape timbers supporting the soil at the corner.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 12:50PM
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I input the photos in CAD system,get arc,wide,long,height data.then import cad pics into 3dsmax,change 2ds pics into 3ds mock up.
import 3dsmax system file into maya soft ware,improve 3ds small leafs,small flower... is important that many friends need to feel designer' suggests before,some people often misunderstand a same tree different size,different distance decide it.
import maya file into photoshop,
there is a wrong about photoshop,think it can do everything.photoshop is just 2ds software than 3ds.I master it.but I only use it to improve everything color and light.creating mock up,leaf,flower shape,install don't work well.
missing:they aren't some photoshop pics,don't comment something you don't know well.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 4:22PM
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CAD - is it Designshare?

humm, how do you compensate for proportion and relative size with the program you use? Sometimes broccoli is taller than shrubs and occasionally weeping cherry is shorter than a 4 foot high deck? Asters as tall as rhododendrons...its a really interesting mock up.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 5:01PM
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at designshare

"they aren't some photoshop pics,don't comment something you don't know well."

Holy crap this is a tough forum. I liked how you did it. I have been wanting something like that for a while to try to put into place an area for my house, but never knew how. I did not assume it was photo shop, I was asking.

My word, people here are sensitive.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 6:41PM
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ddrtvgrl:our eyes are sphere,I mean broccoli space more big than a shrub or a tree in our eye sphere sometime.because the shrub (or the tree) is enough far than the broccoli.a 3ds pic isn't 2ds pic,very different.
bdrusse:yes,I am sure people(INCLUDE ME) here are sensitive.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 9:05PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Coming back to the design question, EditorNJ, it seems to me that you have a mismatch between your house and the bed you've made. Your house has a certain formality and mass, while your bed looks like it belongs beside a rustic log cabin in terms of its shape, size, and edging. Not that there's anything wrong with that, except that if you are looking for a certain outcome, that is to suit the house, you've put yourself behind the starting gate. Plus I totally agree with MTO that there is something off about how that bed meets the patio corner, and wonder if you'd like to rethink that.

Your question is one of plant selection, but we are a design forum. Straight-up plant selection questions are usually best answered at your local nursery, where you can choose from plants that are actually available to you.

You've had bad luck here with Designshare, whose picture contributions usually put threads badly off track (your word contributions, designshare, are usually not bad!). If you decide you do want some overall design suggestions, then you might take photos as suggested by Missing the Obvious and both show and explain the overall design challenge, not just the foundation planting. Read a couple of other threads here maybe to get a feel for the type of discussions that might more productively engage contributors than the open-ended one you've asked. One such thread is linked below, and another one is here:

You do have an interesting issue with that open porch which I for one, with a skunk currently nesting under our garage, would prefer to close off before planting in front of it.


Here is a link that might be useful: Kiki's thread

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 1:25AM
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everyday,some friends hope get my pics suggests here.they tired wordy "designing".if have time,I always answer them.some people become new members here.those are really my contributions.I observe this forum's rules.but I tired other's police,Censorship.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 12:18PM
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If you thought about it, design, perhaps you would understand that "wordy" is a way of communicating ideas. Many people have computer design "tools" that can put together a collage of pretty plants that don't respect sites or hardiness zones or bloom times or sizes or...

The beauty of it all, design, is that you're hardly being censored - so far you've had free reign to take any posted picture and tart it up with thousand year old trees (never mind that those are difficult to find in garden centers here) and tidy patches of miniature bamboo, pathways and azaleas plopped over patios.

Likewise, forum members are at liberty to critique your work. And you don't always get a trophy just for participating.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 1:27PM
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Pictures are great - do you have pictures of actual real gardens or landscapes?

Because that is the issue I have with your mock ups - they are unrealistic and impossible to create. I think people who post here are looking for real answers to real problems.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 3:30PM
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"Other" police,censored mean some member always order me "you must do so...."
I have designed many time for some friends.some are greenhouse,landscapers.their clients need those pics as DETAIL,EXACTLY(their clients CAN feel before project) contract.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 8:00PM
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I guess some my pics work,or they don't touch me many time a year.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 8:13PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I always say "please" when I ask you to go away - that is NOT censorship. Living in China as you do, you should understand the difference. And I only do it because I can read and see that many people do NOT like your pictures. If people want to disagree with me and your other critics, and say that they love your pictures and want you to post more, they are welcome to do that.

It would be best, though, if you post your pictures on the gallery side, and just put some words here, with a link to your gallery post (since the gallery doesn't get much traffic otherwise). Or if people who want to see your pictures contact you privately for more, that seems like a just about perfect solution to me.

I hope we get back to the OP's problem at some point...


Here is a link that might be useful: link to gallery

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 8:52PM
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I will read this forum rules carefully again.I don't like some comment too,but I respect other people that like it.
greenhouse give me almost all tree,shrub,flower photos.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:46PM
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Hi EditorNJ,

I took another look at your photos and had some ideas (sparked by the conversations here).

The electrical service box should be screened without becoming in accessible. Someone will need access to it and when they need to get in there, they won't be careful about the plants. I would plan for that by putting in some discrete stepping stones to make a path. Then plant a soft-leaved, soft-limbed shrub to anchor that corner of the plantings. No thorns or spiny leaves (no roses or holly).
Someone else made a great point about the open porch - you do want to screen that. Ideally you'd use 1/2" hardware cloth to keep out all kinds of critters (even chipmunks can be a nuisance). Just bury it 3-6" in the ground and staple it to the inside edge of the rim joist on the porch. You can cover it with lattice if you like that look, or buy black hardware cloth and it will disappear like magic.
Someone also made a great point about holding back the earth at the corner. If you get heavy rains you might find that area washes out. Some DIY options for retaining walls include those locking blocks. You could look at Allan Block's website for some inspiration (I'm not affiliated, they just have some pretty pictures).
Lastly - your edging is a good example of recycling but will be a bear to maintain. You can edge a flower bed without any material at all except an edger and some time - it gives you a sharp cut line between the grass & mulch. A manual one will run you about $25 at the hardware store. The stones you have used will get weedy as the lawn tries to creep in and it will be hard to mow very close to it. So you'll have to use a string trimmer and your hands to keep that looking clean every week or so.
For privacy in the concrete area I'd suggest a vase-shaped shrub at the corner with some mounded shapes near it. Examples would be Rose of Sharon for the vase-shaped shrub (it's almost a tree, can reach 20' high & would be nice to see up close from the deck over that area). For mounding shrubs, maybe some dwarf evergreens that will stay 3-4' or shorter. Or if you are looking for a quicker solution, something you can prune at will to stay in that space. Boxwood (if you can deal with the smell), some yews, and privet can all be pruned pretty heavily.

Hopefully this gets your thread back on track :)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 7:54AM
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Job no. 1: block off crawl space under porch

Job no, 2: have something other than soil against the house that is soil stained, check overflow of rain guttering while you are at it.

Job no. 3: Build a low retaining wall at bottom of slope.

Job no. 4: If you seriously want to have plants growing in the area that is now dirt with a broken tooth edge then have it seriously designed and constructed. If the objective is 'hide the foundation planting' hiding it with something even more ugly is perverse logic.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 8:50AM
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I have the perfect solultion for anybody who doesn't like Designshare's contributions: summon some maturity and kindness, ignore the photo, and scroll down to something you do like. Honestly! I've been lurking on this forum for a while but haven't posted comments, in part due to the snarky behavior on many threads. I teach 9th grade and I've seen more snarkiness here than I would see in a year of teaching - and 9th grade girls are the queens of mean! Consider the fact that Designshare has as much right to post on this forum as anybody else. Unless you somehow own the rights to GardenWeb, you shouldn't be asking someone to curb or change their contributions. Yes, you do have a right to your opinions, but that doesn't always mean you should voice them. Kindness and tolerance are not old fashioned, and they should be exercised in the online world even though anonymity may make some feel they can say anything.

Designshare, I think that it's impressive that you continue to contribute despite the comments of people who seem to believe they are the authority on everything. I'm sure that many people have enjoyed your pictures, including the original poster on this thread.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 8:21PM
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brettn_10(4-5 Northern UT)

Being in residential design I know that the top programs all have the ability to construct 3D landscapes quickly and easily. Even to the extent of full raytrace renderings to determine accurate shadows from trees and other structures after specifying you exact location. And for that matter, I can actually specify the age of the trees in some programs to do a quick time lapse of 5-10 years.

Unfortunately, I don't really have the time to do work like that for free and people generally aren't willing to spend that kind of $ on landscape design, but rather on the design of the home instead. But I will say that for those who are somewhat computer literate and don't want to spend thousands on a good design program, Google Sketchup is surprisingly capable with a little experience. You would even be able to import photos of the house and convert them to 3D quite quickly along with terrain. From there, you can access plant libraries from literally thousands of sketchup users. It isn't as easy as some of the more powerful programs, but for speed, it really can't be beat as a visualization tool.

Sorry, don't mean to hijack the thread, just wanted to offer some help in terms of visualizing what can be done with a "blank slate" like this.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 9:31PM
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Thank you very much.I enjoy tolerance caritas, freedom,egalitarian here.I will rigid obey rules here.I have accepted someone opinion:limit my post pics(about 3).I wish this forum is more internationalism as other forum.hope it has more new members.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 9:38PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Cedarglen, I'm sure you mean well, but you are mistaken as to who the bully is here. You might notice that the OP on this thread has never reappeared. That is quite common when the first response is one of Designshare's concoctions. If someone were coming into your classroom and scaring your children away, and you faced an empty classroom every day, you might not regard them any more tolerantly than we regard designshare.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 10:31PM
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Here, this thread is ignored long time,the thread will disappear.someone always don't agree I post pics first.I wait,wait.don't reply on time,make the thread (and other same) very disappoint.finally I post pics first here,get other comments too.this is really my contributions.
someone is trying to make PS pics,but it not work well.don't worry,don't need jealousy,we help each other,as other forum.I am member of some other forum.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 10:33AM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

Hi, Tony-
What are you up to in Garden Canada?
Please email me.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 8:13PM
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