Please critique this design plan.... but go easy on me!

lindsrocApril 2, 2013

I do not pretend to be a gardener or landscape designer but i am trying to come up with a plan for my front yard. I posted yesterday and that post has a bunch of pics of what I am working with. My goal is to block the view of the street, mostly the street we are on the corner of, from the inside looking out.
On my drawing, on the left side of yard i am thinking a mix of evergreens to give height (emerald greens?) and some shrubs that will continue to give color or something pleasing in the winter (red twig dogwood? or similar). In the front we already have a row of hostas. The small bed on front right will be another evergreen and some perennials. In front of the house on the left we have an Eastern redbud that we planted last year and then i was thinking of planting some azaleas and maybe lilacs? In front of the walkway a mix of small shrubs and perennials.

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molie(z6 CT)

I had to look back at your original post to "see" what you have there. Those earlier photos give a great view of the situation in your yard. You said that you wanted to change that wall (eventually) and definitely block the view of the street from the inside.

Sadly --- I have to agree with Yardvaark's original comment that first the wall must go. I say "sadly" because stone work is either 1. backbreaking or 2. expensive. From your earlier post, it seems that you're willing to tackle wall building yourselves. Have you checked out the "Gardening with Stone" forum to see some DIY projects and to get advice?

I'd caution you before planting large evergreens in that corner because they could make navigating the road difficult for drivers. Arborvitae 'Emerald Green' can get mighty tall --- plus you could end up with a claustrophobic wall "view" from the inside.

How about a raised bed area on that side of the yard? By raising the ground level you'll get the visual interest from inside along with a higher planting level. Shrubs or evergreens that grow only 4/5 ft tall will appear a few feet taller in a raised bed. And this will also prevent any cutting through your yard (should you remove the stone wall). There are so many examples of wonderful raised bed/bermed gardens on this site.

So, first a decision has to be made about that stone wall. Then tackle the landscaping of the yard--- that's my advice.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:31AM
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What if we removed the wall altogether? And just planted some ground cover where it would slope down? And then do some raised beds on the corners using the stone?
I dont know- can you tell Im desperate? lol
I really do like the idea of the raised beds- and especially looking at some photos- very interesting.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:40AM
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"What if we removed the wall altogether? And just planted some ground cover where it would slope down? Of course, that's an option. One would need to weigh all factors and determine if it's the best option. To clarify, I didn't say earlier to get rid of the wall. I said--if you keep it-- you'd need to rebuild it to a higher standard in order for it to be an assett instead of a liability.

I cannot go too easy on your proposed plan lindsroc because there are several faults in it and I'll list them ...

first, remember that by landscaping you are making art. Instead of using plants and hardscape elements in a purely functional, engineering kind of way, your intent should be so make the scene attractive, too. In plan view there seems to be a decided lack of geometric cohesion within the scheme. The outside corners of the beds correspond to the lot (and the walk, street and drive) but the inside edges don't seem to go with anything else that's on the lot. An overall, thematic geometry should guide the shape of the beds and their connection to one another and their surroundings.

complete confinement by bed of the front walk. And in that bed it looks like an "alternating" planting scheme. Such a scheme usually jumps out in real life as a fairly amateurish look. It would be better to create a well-planted island at the entrance to the walk and then leave a portion of the walk open.

The large bed at the left half of the yard seems to have a scattering of plants (too much like "alternating" again) and the bed shape seems almost opposite what could help frame and create interest on the front of the house.

It seems strange to have large beds but continue to retain isolated clumps of plants (Hosta and tree) separately in the yard. It would be better to put everything in beds. Large specimens might be the only exceptions.

When I get a chance I'll give you some suggestions in graphic form.

One another subject, I'm not intrinsically opposed to raised beds (your yard is kind of like one now) but I think one should question every aspect of creating such a bed before they set out to do it. There are so many inferior looking materials available and so many inferior ways of assembling them. Many raised beds, rather than being an assert to a property, appear as junk or clutter. Unless one is going to use quality materials and install them with professional quality care, it would be far better to do without them, their expense and the effort it took to create them.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 11:23PM
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rosiew(8 GA)

Be sure you check with your city before planting. There are often rules established to assure line of sight is not interfered with - speaking of vehicles and safety. The ones where I am cover plant material as well as fence heights.

p.s. sorry for the awkward verbiage. Hope I got my point across.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 7:13AM
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Yardvaark, thank you for constructive criticism. I appreciate any feedback, I am completely new to this and I dont want to spend a lot of time and money doing something that is not going to look nice or achieve what I am trying to achieve. I will take all feedback...good or bad...and use it to help in my plan.

Rosie...thank you- we did check and there are no restrictions where we are.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 9:32AM
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molie(z6 CT)

Opps! I make a big mistake and am glad you picked up on it, Yardvaark! I meant to suggest a raised berm, NOT a raised bed. Two very different things.

I associate raised beds with contained vegetable/herb gardening and berms with landscaping elements. Both of these involved soil placed above the ground level. However, with a berm the outer edges of the soil gradually slope down to the ground level. In a raised bed the edges of the soil are contained with wood, stone or some other material.

In our small front yard we have two berms. The one at the top marks the corner of our property and separates our yard from our neighbor's driveway. The tallest plants in that berm are a dwarf Japanese maple, an 'Ivory Halo' red twig dogwood, miniature rhododendrons, and a 'Dorothy Wycoff' Andromeda.

The berm along the sidewalk softens the look of the sharp, narrow walkway with low-growing evergreens, hellebores, and ornamental grasses.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:24AM
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The ideas represent a general organizational scheme, not every blooming detail or possibility.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 9:58PM
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