Please help with suggestions- with link to landscape plan

JoonBApril 18, 2011

We are completely redoing the landscaping to our house as it was extremely ugly when we purchased our house. We hired a landscape architect to help with our plans. We are going to start the hardscaping in about a week.

I am attaching plans and I was wondering about receiving some input as to what sort of plants to put in the short 30-inch wall area in our backyard. Our backyard is situated in a SE direction. We are building a wall almost the length of the backyard (back fence is 80 feet wide). The wall will be built approximately 8 feet from the back face and is currently slightly upwarded sloping.

We would definitely want to plant citrus trees. We currently have a very beautiful peach tree which is the center tree in the yard per the picture. We can plant several more trees- thinking about lime, lemon, maybe a kumquat.

What can I plant underneath to provide more interest and color?

On the very left of the plans, we are going to be having raised planters to have a garden. The plans show some bushes/hedges in front to hide the garden. What kinds of bushes/hedges would be good for screening this area?

What would you all suggest to put by the master bedroom (some green shrub, etc).

Thanks for your input!

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)
    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 8:38PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

You hired a landscape architect to help with your plans, why aren't you asking him/her these questions?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 2:17AM
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I like more than one opinion. Is that a problem? It's a very large investment and I wanted other's opinions.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 9:24AM
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I have to say- Like you, I am a professional that offers advice and that's how I make my living. I join forums that pertain to my line of work. When someone on a forum that pertains to my business asks me advice, I don't provide the snark like you did. Why join a forum and not offer advice? Are you here because you just want new business? I don't live in the Bay Area- so I would never hire you anyway.

Do you blindly go by one's financial consultant's advice, doctor's advice, legal advice that is an important decision that you have to make before perhaps running it by someone with knowledge that may have a different opinion?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 9:38AM
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What you perceive as snark induces a nasty knee jerk response that is guaranteed to limit the response you are likely to get here where Bahia is a respected long time contributor. Incidentally I agree that the advice of a LA with onsite knowledge is going to be way more informed than anything you may receive here.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 9:57AM
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Well unfortunately when that is the first response I get and i can read only the text and not interpret the meaning, my first reaction is that he/she doesn't want to help me. So, I apologize if I am sensitive to his/her resonse.

I mentioned I hired a LA, what's wrong with getting more opinions? I posted this in the CA forum and have received no responses- surely someone that is familiar to CA would have direct knowledge as well.

I see lots of people here getting help- and I am not someone that just relies on one opinion. My nature is to get a host of opinions. I was hoping people would be helpful here. There appears to be many LAs here from California- so I was hoping to get more opinions.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 10:12AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

There are probably two things generating discomfort.

One is that you posted your LA's work, which may or may not have been with their permission, and in doing so more or less set it up for critique by random members of the public in a setting where they can't defend themselves. Because the LA likely has reasons for everything that's in the plan and I don't know them all, I'm always a little reluctant to step into that situation.

The other is that in gathering a host of opinions, you are asking one LA and then a bunch of random members of the public (only a few of whom are LAs). I similarly always cast a wide net for information (and usually exhaust myself and family in the process) but this is different. Again, it's that you have one opinion of one type (hired professional) and are seeking others of another type. I'm currently buying a suit for my son, and this would strike me a bit like trying on a suit at one store and asking at the other store, and anyone we meet in between, what they think of it?

The LAs here have certain limitations on how they participate, one being that they aren't here to give their work away, another likely being that they aren't here to slag or prop up the work of their fellow professionals.

But finally, the lack of response is likely because your question is fundamentally one of plant selection, which is the part of landscape design that is hardest to do from a different climate without having seen the space or knowing what is available locally. Those questions are often best asked at a local nursery, or, as Bahia says, of your own LA.

And if you feel constrained from asking your LA, that, as I think Bahia suggested, may be what your actual problem is.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 11:08AM
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I don't feel constrained by my LA. I just want more opinions. I view LA as artists, and everyone has a different opinion about art. I want to seek other opinions. I see so much advice given- I thought people here would be helpful here, even if they are LA or not.

No disrespect, but buying a suit for a son versus paying many many thousands of dollars in landscaping is a lot different. I am apprehensive about this. I am a novice to landscaping. Again, I post on forums related to my profession that provide advice and I don't feel like I am "giving anything away". I post on my forums that is my specialty with no regrets. I wouldn't be a member of a forum if I felt i was giving away free advice and it bothered me. I guess this place is different.

I see many people post plans and not get the responses I got. I don't know how to delete posts, so I took down the picture as it seemed to bother so many people here. And yes I had permission per my contract.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 11:54AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

That came and went so fast I never even saw it. Can you post a photo or two of your garden? I think you just got off on the wrong foot here. Bahia's logical question was no reason to take offense.

All LAs have their strengths, and some focus more on big-picture design, organization and hardscape than on plants. If you've told your LA you plan to ask around, I see no harm in it. However, as an admitted novice, your ability to judge the value of the comments you receive will be limited.

In the most general terms, it's not usually advisable to plant underneath citrus. That's my free tip for the day. ;-)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 1:22PM
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Thanks for your kind response. I would post a pic of my backyard, but it is literally a blank slate, except for my peach tree. The previous owners did nothing except put up really ugly Queen Palms (in total 10 palms) and those huge Birds of Paradise trees, that I had to take them down as all the trees were too close to the house and messing up my foundation.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 2:54PM
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Actually as some of the responses indicate, it is part of the LD forum area of interest, as well as one of its strengths, in my experience, to help posters understand relationships with LA and/or LD professionals and how the fact that you feel uncertain about the plans may tell you something important about the situation already regardless of whether you get some specific plan advice here as well. And that the analogy of multiple opinions might be better if applied to multiple LA plans or bids or "tryouts" (which you may already have done in order to select the one you've got now) , most especially for a large or expensive project. That doesn't mean that you should not hope that you will get some very specific feedback on the plan or the plants or whatever in some additional posts, but that any one of several different and different types of responses you get might be the most important one, and as catkim said you might not realize which one that is.

I'm sure that has been true for me, meaning that at times I might or might not have understood or used the "best" advice.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 3:18PM
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I interviewed 2 LAs. Never received freebie mockups. I hired one and paid for my plan (with several go-arounds until the final plan was approved)and love it.

As catkim mentioned, I perceive my LA as having their strengths in hardscaping more than plant selection. I didn't think there would be so much drama in getting opinions, whether from a professional or not. Who is to say a LA has the best advice over an avid non-professional?

I guess I am just completely baffled by the responses regarding receiving more feedback and opinions, especially when I see people here on the forums offering lots of advice to others.

I am in a business of giving advice. I don't care if my client goes for a second opinion. Bring it on, as I would say. I WANT to hear different scenarios.

I welcome advice from those that are professionals to those that have landscaping as a passionate hobby. I don't think anyone has the "best" advice.

Sorry for all the drama created. I just thought I'd get some helpful and friendly advice, but I guess that will not happen :(

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 3:43PM
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Unless the reader saw the plan that was posted for a day - there is nothing to offer advice on. Not even a good description of the site.

Say you give tax advice. Someone comes to you and says "I need tax advice. I pay taxes so I need advice." What do you say? You have to ask questions to find out more specifically what the persons tax situation is. I perceive Bahia's comment as a question starting the process of finding out what kind of advice you are looking for in this situation.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 4:24PM
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Here's a real world example that may highlight why there's a little trepidation: I recently completed a master plan for a client. It incorporated everything we had talked about, we had done a preliminary review meeting to make sure spaces and flow were right for them, and they loved it. But, they wanted to change a few things that they realized they should have told me. Ok, easy enough, done. Now they totally love it! Except that sure is a lot of money, so now they're second-guessing themselves and the husband and wife have both asked their respective parents to come offer opinions on the plan.

I cap my included revision time at a set number of hours. They're just about there, so as we move into designing by committee it's going to get expensive. And that's with the opinions of four people who know them, love them, and understand how they'll live in the space. Throw a few dozen internet randoms into the mix? Good Lord. I'd already have a great B&B booked so my wife and I could take a vacation and spend my revision money.

So, be happy that bahia asked one simple but critical question. That could save you a load of money and save your relationship with your LA.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 8:43PM
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I appreciate your post, Marcinde.

Again, I don't want to beat a dead horse and I wish I never found, joined and posted on this forum- but bahia's question was perceived by me as sarcasm as opposed to being helpful. I don't know Bahia as you all have- so instead of everyone chastising me, I wish people would see it from my perspective.

Bahia didn't ask more background- bahia just asked why I didn't ask my LA. I just wanted more opinions- let me deal with changing some plantings my LA suggested and paying more hourly fees for making those changes. In the long run, I better make the changes now than having to remove them later. I am paying a lot of money for this plan, which I love. The big issue was the hardscape, and I am totally excited about it. Some other plant suggestions was all I was asking.

I really don't intend to post on this thread anymore, so peace out

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 9:52PM
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