Need help with shady side yard (pics)

enrightApril 22, 2012

We had one side of our side yard professionally landscaped several years ago. Now I want to landscape the other side. The three issues I would like to address are:

(1) eliminate patches under Catalpa tree where grass will not grow because of shade from house, tree, hedge;

(2) optimize the view from the window which looks out on this side yard -- the table where we eat has a window that overlooks the side yard;

(3) want to keep some grass but add low maintenance plants that are drought and shade tolerant.

We added a bench and small cherub statue several years ago and put some mulch around the tree to cover up some of the bare ground, but the end result was not satisfactory because it did not deal with all of the bare ground. We thought about putting a flagstone path along one side or both sides, but we really like symmetry and can't figure out how to achieve it. Any ideas? I have added pictures of the space before we weeded, mulched, did anything.

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Add a fire pit and a small seating area for sipping coffee

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 2:43AM
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Need pictures not so close up. Could you add a picture taken from the street that shows curb, lower part of tree canopy and some of house? Also, one from the opposite direction... 40' past tree shooting back toward street?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 3:05AM
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    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 3:20AM
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Wow! The patio design idea is so cool but it may be more work than I can do this year. (Cool hobbit feature by arbor!) I have attached more pics of the trees. The catalpa blooms late and gets rid of its leaves early so right now it does not cast as much shade as it will in a month. We live in a victorian house, so I like the flagstone theme, but this is a DIY project. I have attached pictures showing the path leading from the front into the back yard (see mulch and steppers). I have also attached pictures of the landscaped area closest to the house. We wanted to put in a walkway or walkways through the side yard. Any more ideas?

Tree Pic 1
Tree Pic 2
Front View

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Hate to complain, but your pictures are not good. They are too small, odd angles, don't show enough and some are sideways. The one needed is like this:

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 3:05PM
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You are right, the pictures were bad. I took some new ones and it has taken me hours to transfer them from my phone to my computer and then to this site. Hope these are better. As I mentioned, the Catalpa tree is not yet in bloom. I was trying to figure out how to lay out the walkway and beds, hence the hose in the pictures. I can't figure out how to lay out the beds and walk/ walkways so that they look "right" and hide the shabby area behind the tree. If the tree was not smack dab in the middle of the yard, I would put in a central patio area. But it would be odd to have a patio behind a tree, and not very useful either. But the area behind the tree is what we view from our window every day. Any help in designing the space so that we have beds that cover the shabby area and yet create an overall look that does not look awkward would be appreciated. The pictures are taken facing south, from the back of the house looking toward the front. The side yard is on the west side of our home. The driveway is behind the house.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:05PM
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Do you actually need a paved path that cuts through this side of the yard or are you just trying to use a path to solve another problem?

If a patio is not needed here, I would not put one in.

It looks like there are a fair amount of branches low on the Catalpa. Given the large size of tree and home, I would think you could easily lift the canopy and improve the view of the house and light conditions that reach the grass. It looks like it could be enough to allow you to grow good grass. If (or when) you cannot improve the growth of the grass, it would be time to convert to groundcover.

You could grow a perennial or groundcover around the base of the tree. It would be an improvement if it's a single plant. If a collection of different plants I don't think it would be an improvement. Hosta? Lily of the Valley?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:03AM
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Thank you yardvaark for your suggestions. We don't actually need the path, but were using it to fill in the bare grass.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 8:53AM
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