Help with landscaping a small hill and patio pictures included

lee53011(5)March 31, 2010

I built this patio with a sitting wall last fall, and now need to transition the surrounding area to match it. This particular area is on the south side of the house, in full sun, and the first picture was taken from the west. The next from the south. I intend to keep the low growing evergreen that surrounds the area. I plan on taking out the bushes that are in the area, and replacing them with something. I was thinking maybe knockout roses but have never grown them, so not sure if it would be a good fit or not? I would also like to change the wooden landscape timber retaining wall, but I am not sure exactly what to change it too? Also right now the area is full of gravel as a mulch, and I am not too sure about that either! I do have a sprinkler system, and I have my own water source, so watering is not an issue. Thanks for any help!!

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You could incorporate planter areas with natural stone walls or segmental retainer wall blocks. Maybe some stairs. Check out my site for some ideas and good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: All Terra Landscape Services LLC

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 12:55PM
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I was hoping to do it fairly cheap after spending a fortune on the patio! Any help on planting ideas, color and/or type of mulch? If I really wanted to spend more money, I thought I could dig out the area, put in retaining walls, and put my hot tub there! I think my wife would have a fit if I told her I was going to spend another few grand on concrete. Hard enough to get her to agree on patio furniture!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 6:33PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Yeah, ignore the spammer.

Your question is really just one of plant selection, not so much design - the design is done. And it's good, by the way, and looks nicely constructed. Plant selection depends so much on your local conditions, your taste in plants, and your interest in gardening that I personally find it impossible to do for someone else. For example, I can't abide the kind of roses you suggest. To me that would make your garden look like a gas station garden. But they might look great there to someone else, or with a mix of other plants. Check the plant tag or look them up on line to ascertain whether your conditions match their needs.

As for the gravel mulch, well, you can see it is suppressing the weeds quite well. However, again, to me it looks industrial. Also, I think it likely reflects heat and I think you said in another thread you started that this is south and west? Yah. So I'd tend to do something softer, darker for next to a home patio. Like shredded wood from a tree cutting company.

Planting up those boxes is a matter of going to the local nursery and buying a bunch of plants that like sun in your climate, arranging them nicely, and taking care of them. Piece of cake. What I'd maybe pay more attention to design-wise is the other three sides of your new patio, what you want in the way of shading trees or surroundings to look at or step into for garden enjoyment, or view corridors/privacy.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 8:46PM
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I had a slope in my yard that I am landscaping, and one consideration is what type of focal point to put on the slope. Currently you seem to have two or three of them (hanging pot silohetted? against the sky, the iron sculpture, and that peaked shrub with the telephone pole behind it). You need to decide if you want to keep the view on/in that slope or to go beyond it (i.e the sky silohetted focal points (sorry about the spelling).

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 8:55PM
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After tearing out the bushes today, I still cannot make up my mind! I was thinking I could maybe put a water feature there with a waterfall, and put the hot tub on the patio below it. I only want to do this area once, so I really need to make a decision. I have made ponds before, but at this house I already have a trout stream that runs through the yard, so I hadn't planned on adding more water. I really hate the wooden landscape timbers there, and they are starting to fall apart. As for mulch I use wood chips everywhere else I can, but since I have 2 acres, hauling wood chips around every spring is a major chore!!
Any other ideas that I can consider?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 11:33PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Well, what you hate is an important thing to tune into. It also looks as if the house in the background can look onto your patio quite nicely. Start by replacing the timbers with something you like. The process of picking the material and designing and building will lead you somewhere, and inspiration may come from there.

The only type of garden that is even remotely "do once" is a conifer garden, though even that will have a life span and will need regular mulching. It would work with the exposure you have; most conifers like sun. Pop into the conifers forum and see if you like the dwarf/specialty conifer look. A variation is the Japanese garden look. It's too hot for any Japanese maples though, I imagine.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 11:44PM
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I've come to understand that organic mulch -- shredded wood chips etc. has more than one function ...

I inherited beds mulched with gravel. It's gone in one main area. It's "buried" in others. I've let it be in my iris bed because they like the heat reflection and drainage it -- the gravel -- has given to the basically clay soil of my yard. I wouldn't have done it that way, and the gravel, although still sort of looking like a "mulch" permits plenty of weeds to do their thing.

Rocks, gravel, whatever have their own maintenance issues, not least of which is that weeds soon take up residence. Laying landscape cloth ... ask just about anyone here who has gardened for 10 years or more ... won't prevent weeds for long and becomes an immediate hassle when trying to plant something into the area. It doesn't take long for enough soil to be added on top of the gravel layer to make it possible for weeds to grow. And, trust me on this, weeding out of a gravel mulch bed v an organic one takes longer and is far rougher on the hands that weed the cradle ... I mean the flower bed.

When you mulch by renewing an organic mulch ...

1. You are freshening your weed suppressant layer.
2. You are reducing your watering chore in a way that more sun reflectant, heat absorbent materials, like gravel, won't do. The organic mulches provide shade and moisture protection for plants.
3. You are actually improving the tilthe or structure of your soil.

If you aren't growing any plants in your gravel that you like, then you can, of course, use weed killers.

And there are some instances when gravel makes sense. Maybe this is such a case.
In fact, I hear ya' on getting beds mulched each year. It's just that it wouldn't be true to give the impression to others reading here that gravel is a magical eternal weed barrier.

it isn't. And, it has it's own negatives. Not least of which is the artificial or industrial look of it.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 11:55PM
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