Suggestions (and mock up!) for (salt) waterfront home

moneypitzelaApril 20, 2010

Hi all. I'm in the midst of spiffing up our oceanfront home, and need some help with the front garden. Lots of salt air, hard clay like soil and no sprinklers make it tricky. What's pictured here (day lillies and peonies that are wild and overgrown, short lived and then leave behind lots of green, stemmy mess) was taken after many hours spent weeding out and down the jungle that clogs the garden. With the exception of the rose bushes, I'm ready to pull everything out and start over. Would like to keep it simple and in keeping w/ the coastal feel of the house. I'd love to also put something in to the left and right underneath each triangle (see second picture) as well. The Disneyesque "blob" used to have birds' nests in it, which is why we kept it around, but now I can put this bush out of its misery. Given that I am not a gardener (afraid of big bugs), I'm hoping someone might have mercy, creative ambition and mock up skills! I'd love to see your ideas, and basically hand them off to a local landscaper to plant before summer arrives. Anyone out there looking to see their work happen? I promise to post when it's all planted. Thanks in advance.

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bahia(SF Bay Area)

It makes me wonder when someone with an ocean front home is seeking a free turnkey design over the internet rather than hire a landscape designer to consult. I guess that is one way to afford the location... No doubt someone will rise to the bait, but it just seems wrong to me on several levels.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 8:21PM
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but bahia, it'd be a chance to see my work happen!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 8:35PM
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Bahia: I so resent your comment, which is SO wrong on SO many levels. I'm not "baiting" anyone here in lieu of hiring a consultant anymore than you're likely looking for leads for new customers. I'm done addressing you go eat some worms!

Everyone else, I welcome your suggestions, and/or any mock ups if you're feeling the love. Why else are you here??

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 8:54PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

People unfamiliar with this forum often do misunderstand what we tend to do here and why. The people who answer questions on this forum are a motley crew (well, I'm motley anyway) of keen gardeners, DIYers, and professional designers who share an interest in (a) problem solving, (b) design principles, and (c) gardening, among other things, and who are also diverse and have things we don't share. You will pretty much never get a design on request or mockup from any of the regulars here (mind you someone who wants to do that may come along at any second). What most of us try to do is address the stumbling blocks for people who are trying to make their own thing happen. We get innumerable blank slate requests and I've never seen one get an answer that really made the OP happy.

I did not get a bad vibe from your original question (partly because I love your screen name) and because you did take the time to craft an entertaining question. You were also far too disarmingly frank for me to take offense, but I'm just one person.

That said, I also don't know a thing about seaside gardening. I do think, however, that before you put in a garden that someone designs for you, you need to be clear on what kind of a maintenance task you want to have before you.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 11:06PM
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Since we have several professionals here who ...
a. Have never sought clients through this board.
b. Give tons of "free" advice on a regular basis.

I'm not quite sure how to respond.

You expressed a notion of "landscaper" above that reduced their expertise to digging holes and plopping in plants. Sure, there are the mow -n- blow guys who call themselves "landscape services", but landscape design can include site analysis, scale drawings, assessment of needs, resolution of drainage issues, soil prep, grade work, coordination of specialized construction, driveways, terraces, stairways, paths, patios, special features ... and a working knowledge of suitable plants for each application.

For many it also meant 4 years of college, other professional certifications, and years of professional development.

The fact that the pros here give us the level of information that they do, constantly amazes me.

And, when asked, they almost always offer something.

So, how about wondering for a minute what it was in your original post that pushed two of them to come back with pretty pointed comments.

My guess is that it sort of steps on toes when, in a tight economy, someone who doesn't appear to want to put in any effort, asks others to give time and effort to your yard.

I have a yard. I have plenty of projects calling to me now ... even in the dark.

It's not quite the same as changing the paint color on your walls like they do on some home decorating forums. You are asking us to go and check our research on coastal plants ... I don't know a thing about them myself. Then offer up a changed photo for you to review with a list of plant suggestions.

Sorry, if you don't have the time to research the possibilities, I'm afraid I don't eather. Besides, since soil amendment doesn't seem to be a part of the plan, new plants will probably do about as well as the ones your ripping out.

But, since it's apparently so simple, don't worry. Just do it. Your home doesn't really need any "design" work ... Just rip out this and plant that. Voila!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 11:37PM
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I'll bite. Git rid of everything except the peonies and daylilies. Roses have bugs. The rose has to go.

Think ornamental grasses like miscanthus, pennisetum and muhlenbergia. A lttle research and you'll find plenty more in all sizes and colors. Think beach morning glory if there is one native to where ever you are, generally an Ipomea species. If there isn't a native beach morning glory use sweet potato vine as a groundcover. Your only there for the summer anyway. As floral filler use Black-Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta or Gaillardia, Blanket Flower which may be more salt tolerant, seen it growing wild along the Florida coast.

Use the same plant theme under you triangles. Simple, seaside theme and low maintenance, a once a year haircut in the spring.

Now define your beds. Mock that up yourself so you can hand it off to your landscaper so he can mulch the beds and plant it before you get there.

Then be sure to post lots of pictures of my work because nothing would be better than to see my work at such a prestigious place as GardenWeb's landscape design forum.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 7:49AM
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Amili: Thanks for the input, sort of. I'm sorry that you felt you had to be so sarcastic in an otherwise useful post. Why do you speculate that I don't live in this house year round? I do -- but why should this matter?

Whereas I sincerely appreciate the input of design "professionals," I'm feeling a bit bullied here, and see by other posts elsewhere on this forum that some of you take sport in it. Why bother responding if it makes you feel so put out, used, or angry? No offense intended, but if it's all about being a professional, and that's the only reason you're here, perhaps you all should consider a more exclusive association for electronic banter such as APLD or ASLA.
My intention here was not to agitate anyone. Only friendly, knowledgeable gardeners need apply: no research, elevations, etc. necessary!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 6:00PM
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Ah, but you will get friendly and unfriendly unknowledgeable replies as well. Also you've not given much information that a designer would use to come up with a design. Many responses are completely in the weeds, so to speak, so buyer beware.

It matters a lot whether you live there year-round or nopt and when you are there, since that influences choices that affect maintenance and season(s) of interest. So one might speculate, or ask questions, or offer advice based on assumptions that are hidden and therefore the advice may be wrong, and so on. Some data percolate to the top after awhile, in any event.

I'm not seaside-worthy, either, in terms of gardening experience, so am more focused on the process of how you might get more of what you want out of your landscape.Look up some of the older posts that have gone into great detail on what to be thinking about as you plan a landscape and that will help you along in your process.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 7:49PM
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