And then the snow melted....

ms.idaho(4B-5A)April 23, 2013

Hi fellow garden nuts! We bought this "fabulous" place in December of last year. We knew it was going to take a ton of TLC both inside and out, as it was a neglected short sale. After renovation all winter (and still are) we are about to delve in the realm of the outside. OY! We pretty much tapped our entire budget in the inside after discovering a few choice structural, electrical, other problems so the yard is all DIY. Which is fine, we like yardwork. Or last place we owner we built the house and the yard up from scratch so there wasn't much of fixing other people's screw ups/neglect. I am unsure what to do with this mess so I ask kindly for your help. The house sits on a corner lot, the front of the house facing due north. We are at 5500 feet altitude in Idaho, growing season 4b or 5 depending in who you ask

Plans in the works:
Remove many aspen trees and the suckers
Pray the sprinkler system isn't too far gone
Prune down the potentilla along the front porch
Dethatching fertilizing the lawn
Edging out and mulching tree wells

What we need some help on:
As you can see there is a pea gravel path leading from the road to the house. It extends along the front of the porch both directions. Maybe some flagstone instead?
The large flower bed is not defined, Is a mix of ornamental grasses, escaped yard grass, various bushes or flowers and two small trees, all of which I hope to ID soon. The mulch that's left in it is terrible and after digging around it seems like a thin layer of newspaper is serving as landscape fabric.

I'm open to all suggestions. I'm not sure the look we are after. I love a mix of manicured and edged beds and walks but also love the natural cottage gardeny look, if that makes sense. I have oodles of more photos but this will only let me post one so I did a panorama from my neighbors driveway.

Edited to add that I envision a very colorful landscape, railing and hanging baskets. Long term possible doing something else with all of that lawn since I am not huge in grass, and there is enough of it in the back for the kids to run around on. We need to start small since we are over budget and time is a factor since we are also chasing an infant and kid around. For the immediate, I'd like it to look nice and like someone loves it - which we do!

I found some tags buried in the mulch. So far there is hakonechloa macra, little princess spires, and crimson pigmy barberry.

I'm all ears! And thank you:)

This post was edited by ms.idaho on Tue, Apr 23, 13 at 16:56

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Closer look

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 4:20PM
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amanda_m(z7 MD)

Making the edge where the front path and the grass meet look cleaner and more defined would be a good start. I think the current edgeing (some sort of wood?) is too small to do the job.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 10:22AM
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This is not worked out in any proportion but is a general theme that might be useful to you. You need a new walk of a better material. Pavers might work well for your budget, a good look and as a do-able DIY project. The walk should be at least 4' wide. Flare each end so that it looks more inviting and is more useful. The walk near the house should be at least as wide as the porch opening. Create a large semicircle landscape planting bed which encapsulates and flanks the house ... based on where some of the major plantings now exist. Possibly, create a smaller semicircle planting bed around the walk near the street. (I'm not speaking of how the bed should be planted, but just its overall shape.) The geometry would need to be worked out if the scheme appeals to you.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:13AM
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Thanks to you both so far. Yardaavark I like the look of the flaring path for sure. We will be looking at materials in a few weeks and seeing what is available and budget friendly.

I am thinking of possible replacing the potentiallas instead of trimming them. I love the look of knockout roses but since it's mostly shaded doubt they'd work. Any ideas on what might work there? Definitely needs some color. We do plan on replacing the green steel front door with a nice wooden one so this might make a difference in our design.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 10:24AM
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Here are some shrubs for shade from IL extension. They are probably zone 5 so you might want to double check the hardiness of the shrubs listed. Also check on the soil ph. I imagine you have basic soil, so no acid loving plants like mountain laurel, but that is just a guess.

With that lovely house, I can just imagine a few annabelle hydrangeas out front. Last year I planted an annabelle hydrangea behind paprika yarrow and I loved the combo. Then off to the side I had chocolate eupatorium, white obedience plant and variegated lysimachia. One of my better summer arrangements so far.

I would buy a couple bags of topsoil and establish a small 'nursery bed' off to the side. Buy (or trade or beg :) from other gardeners) small perennials as you can and nurse them along in the nursery bed. Let them grow to the point where you get a few divisions. Then when you are able to improve the soil and establish beds you will have clumps to divide and make a bigger impact. Also, I would start digging kitchen compost waste directly into the ground in areas where you want beds to eventually be. If you aren't ready to buy a lot of soil amendments, this is an easy way to slowly build up your soil. Also, nab neighbors leaves in the fall and mulch the site of future beds.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:39PM
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Can't see potentillas. Can only see pitch black shadow.

Check the local paver distributor's liquidation yard for budget friendly "seconds." You can probably get for 1/2 of regular price. Pickings will be limited, but for a walk, it would be pretty easy to make something out of limited. I suggest regular brick shape as an edge and same or half-brick as a field. Avoid complicated shapes or unusual thicknesses. Stick to basic.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 8:44PM
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