A question for the pros

marti8aApril 10, 2013

Do you measure out the entire yard and draw everything to scale on your design plan? If not, how do you figure how to place the smaller shrubs and perennials?

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The portion of the yard that is to be designed/constructed gets measured and drawn. To scale. Some small or insignificant things may not get drawn if they are unimportant, not needed, or have no affect on the work. It depends on what you mean by "everything." It sounds like you're concerned about something at your yard. Why not just say what it is?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:58PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

Really, for us it depends upon the project (commercial, residential or personal), the scope (major hardscape, grade changes, size of project area) and the timing/installation phase.

For our personal home landscapes, the short answer is âÂÂNoâÂÂ. My husband and I have been doing this together for over 35 years. The plans are all done mentally now, with an exception for large irrigation systems. The yard is planned in stages, beginning with the overall general use locations (such as patio there, fountains, barbeque, shade trees, focal points, problems). Then designed by sections, with the overall plan in mind. This works because we are doing the work ourselves, in stages. But it also allows for a fair amount of flexibility for changes, without adversely affecting the master plan.

When tackling a section, such as a patio, we design the shape and grade of the hardscape and beds (often using just paint or chalk lines on the ground). We know the tree, focal and problem screen plant locations, so the remainder of the bed(s) can be used for the smaller shrubs and perennials knowing the growing conditions that will exist. The shrub and perennial plant choices, number and placement are a mixture of habit, experience and flux; we have our favorites, our experiments, and freely exercise the ability to change out any, or all, of the smaller plant combinations when dissatisfied or bored.

Even though we donâÂÂt draw out a scaled plan, there is still the systematic order of planning. The small shrubs, perennials and color are placed after the more permanent items have been decided.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 3:35AM
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Yardvaark, I'm not concerned about any particular thing, just curious as I've always used to scale drawings inside the house before making changes and the outside would be a daunting task for me.

Gyr_Falcon, thank you, your step by step process makes perfect sense to me, and I would like to make a plan that can be carried out in stages.

I saw a post on this forum recently where someone had done a screen shot of the satellite photo of their property, and wondered if I could print one of those and see where to put the bigger things like sidewalks and trees.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:09PM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

I've done a lot of work with google maps photos of my house to help figure out how i'm going to lay it out. Screenshot of satellite photo, turn it translucent, print, then sketch overlay of what I'm wanting to do. Then looking at the sketch I can mark out the areas using spray paint or a hose. Things tend to change from how I have them sketched though, as lot topography greatly affects how things end up looking in real life.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 2:48PM
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I'm not sure how to turn it translucent, but that's a great idea. I'll see what I can do.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 4:45PM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

Save the map via "snipping" or a screen shot, then use a photo editor (even the one built into windows works fine) to either turn up the brightness/down the contrast or change it to translucent.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 5:37PM
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Thanks laurell, I'll work on that.

I had a post written out and lost it between preview and submit. Rather than write it out again, I'll just post this photo and my question with brief explanation.

Until I saw this photo, I never really noticed how big the rutted area is where the mail carrier drives off the road into our yard. He doesn't have a lot of choice because the mail box is set in so far. The edge of the road is marked with a red line. The blue line is the middle of the bar ditch.

Between the cars driving through and the water running through when it rains, there is almost no topsoil between the blue line and the road.

Is there any way to landscape an area like this?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 4:27AM
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Strange that your driveway doesn't go all the way to the street!
That's quite the problem.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 7:57AM
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Agreed, you should extend the drive and move the mailbox to the street. Add some topsoil back, plant and have a normal yard.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 10:16AM
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It is strange that the driveway doesn't go to the street, and it looks like all the driveways on our street are that way. Maybe they built the houses before they paved the street? A few houses have asphalt or gravel extending their drive to the road.

Here's a picture of a survey done 15 years ago beside the aerial photo.

I don't know if the surveyor just drew in lines based on the bare area in front of the drive or something else.

The only thing about moving the mailbox up from it's current position is that people regularly drive too fast and can't stay on the road at our curve. I'm surprised someone hasn't taken out our mailbox where it is now.

I have thought of moving the mailbox to the other side of the driveway. It's rutted there too because that's where the neighbor's mailbox is, but it's a shorter area, about 8 feet between our driveways. But it wouldn't be as convenient for us to stop as we pull into our driveway as we come in from the left side.

A couple of neighbors have put big rocks or railroad ties along the street in front of their yards to keep the mail carrier from driving through from one mail box to the next. I think that looks worse than the ruts.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 12:36PM
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Dh & I talked about it tonight and he thinks the road used to be wider and the county made it narrower every time they resurfaced it rather than fix the edges and pave out to there. He says road requirements are 30 feet and this street isn't.

I called the P.O. today to see if I could move the mailbox out and a supervisor is coming out next week.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 10:01PM
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Of course people would drive off the road if they weren't exactly sure the edge of it was and it looks, from the satellite image, that it's hard to tell where it is. Seems like if all the edges and boundaries were made distinct and clear, you would have no more trouble than any anyone on any curve anywhere. Even if ugly, a temporary barrier of some type might help you in getting some better landscaping established.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 11:13PM
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