Large front garden with pond

VCastelloMarch 11, 2013

Hi All,

(ZONE 5, House faces South)

I have a large front garden which consists of a pond and lawn. I'd love to get rid of some of the grass and put together some kind of design for curb appeal.

If anyone can Photoshop or describe some ideas, I would be very grateful.

The left side of the drive is a dual septic drain field and I cannot plant trees there.

This post was edited by VCastello on Mon, Mar 11, 13 at 15:24

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VCastello

I have a few spruce planted on a berm.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 1:01PM
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VCastello

Drive

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 1:04PM
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VCastello

Front. There is 100 feet between the road and the front edge of the pond. The pond is 200 feet long.

The property is 300' x 500'.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 1:08PM
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VCastello

Looking toward the road.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 1:14PM
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VCastello

Right side today.

This post was edited by VCastello on Mon, Mar 11, 13 at 15:16

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 3:15PM
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yardvaark

Given the size of the property you might try to pinpoint the septic drain field area a little tighter. You could mark up a photo showing its perimeter in MS Paint or describe its dimensions and distances relative to landmarks that show up in a picture. You might need a closer picture for it.

While it's fine to hash some ideas out on a forum, for such a large, nice property, you probably already know you'd be doing yourself a favor to get some professional advice. Is your visit here a preliminary to that ... or do you expect to be hammering out the planting design and plan yourself?

Areas I think you might focus on are the auto entrance and road, drive approach, back and sides of house, and pond. Seems like all of these areas could be enhanced, leaving the view to the house front fairly open. The pond could use some selective plantings, not enclosure. A windbreak to the north and west seems like it could be useful in a couple of ways ... to make the winter more tolerable and to provide a backdrop to the view and to give a sense of "protection" for the house. The house seems too open and "unprotected" to me. You might explain how the Spruce by the road are arranged, how many, and what areas they cover.

Is there anything in particular with which you envision replacing some of the grass ... groundcover ... mulch ...?? My own taste leans away from large mulched areas. I don't find them all that attractive, thinking that "things green" look better. Mulch requires maintenance (replenishment) too. I'm sure you don't want to be doing acres of weeding. Mulches are fine as a temporary cover or for limited uses.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 10:47PM
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VCastello

Here goes a try. Yes, we are talking about getting a professional plan, but we need some ideas. I am planning on doing a Norway Spruce windbreak on the NW corner. We do have some small oaks growing there.

We've had a lot of plantings die on us. We have done some planting, but everything is so small it seems like we've not really done anything.

We have one weeping willow on the east side of the pond. I've been indecisive about planting trees around the whole pond.

We have a vegetable garden on the NE side.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:04AM
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yardvaark

The plan drawing makes the location of the septic field clear, but I wonder where the information about its size originates. Here, a typical one-family septic drain field measures about 25' x 40'. Many of them are installed on grade and then covered by a low, rectangular mound of earth that measure about 45' x 60'. They're homely, actually, but easy to measure. It looks like 4 or 5 of our typical one-family septic drain fields would fit inside the footprint of your house. Yet 4 of your houses would fit inside your septic drain field. That's a difference of a factor of 16 or 20 times. This seems grossly out of sync, even if your house is very large, presuming that only a single family lives in it, even if they're large in number.

Nice, clearly drawn plan, by the way.

Covering it up with plantings wouldn't be the best way to enhance the views of, and to, the pond. But a few trees such as weeping willows could help screen neighbor's buildings and give a protected feel to portions of it. It seems that you have plantings where I think some should be, but since your plan shows the plants in elevation view, it looks like their placement is symbolic. I'll try to give you some ideas as soon as I get a little more time.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:04PM
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VCastello

See Red edges outlying dual drain fields.

Because of the number of bedrooms we were required to put in two gravity feed drain fields. Each one is used every other year with a manual switch box in the center.

This post was edited by VCastello on Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 13:24

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:40PM
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yardvaark

Okay, that looks and sounds authoritative so I'm done questioning your septic system.

Here's a stab at a planting scheme that is very general and open to whatever changes suit conditions and needs. It's just to get you started thinking, but you really need someone to help you incorporate your needs and desires into the scheme. I have not dealt with any smaller plants.

If you've lost many plants, it's probably from them getting too dry during the first two years. That's they usual cause.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:22PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

I would plant some very large, attractive trees at some distance behind the house, and cover the front moors with heather. No fighting nature.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:12PM
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VCastello

Thank you Yardvaark! I've been debating about the front for sometime, but I think that is the right idea. On the side, we have one weeping willow on the east bank, are you saying go with three for a bigger statement?

Catkim, The heather is something I hadn't really considered. Were you referring to the 100 foot between the road and pond, or the dual drain fields?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:06PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

VCastello,
Call me a romantic, but the views of your massive nearly gothic home placed on this flat and windy plain bring to mind Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and the heather on the moors. Depending on your soil and precise local climate, a field of more natural plantings over the drain fields and anywhere else you are not wanting to mow might be a pleasant solution, needing a trim only once or twice a year. Very large spreading, curving drifts of color with footpaths through them to your trees might really set off your home. For small-scale inspiration, check this link. Even if these particular plants are not suitable, something native may work; you'll just have to do some research.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heaths and Heathers

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:05PM
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yardvaark

"On the side, we have one weeping willow on the east bank, are you saying go with three for a bigger statement? Unless it is a large specimen, rarely does a single plant make a sufficient statement in a large, open landscape. It usually takes groups of like plants combining to make large elements in order to fit the scale. Three connected (eventually) weeping willow would be a better size for your large yard and house.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:31PM
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