Need help desiging two yard areas!

karezzMay 22, 2010

I have two areas in my back yard that have posed problems for years. I have landscaped these numerous times - it either didn't look right, became quickly overgrown, or required too much maintenance.

I would love some advice for a general design for each. I live in NJ and have a lot of deer. Any suggestions would be helpful as I can always find a deer resistant type of plant similar to any that may be suggested to me.

The first area is to the left of the entry to my backyard. It's a corner area that leads to my deck. I have had perennials here, but I really need low-maintenance. I also have 2 air conditioning units and a basement window that should be camouflaged. I would keep the spirea and a few of the low lying plants that are there, but everything else can go. Here are some pics:

The second area is on the other side of the yard/deck. It is an "island" to the left of the fenced in pool area. The goal here is to camouflage the pool equipment. As you will see this mulched area extends from the actual pool area. My first thought here is to separate the two with grass wide enough for the mower to get thru. The plants here need to stay and so does the slate stepping stones. Here are some pics (taken a year ago - the evergreen is somewhat larger now):

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

A couple of thoughts about the pool equipment area:

First, the shape of the bed is essentially rectangular, and that can't help but look artificial -- besides being more difficult to mow around. Consider some way to make the bed a more organic (non-straight line) shape. Symmetry is probably a bad idea also.

Second, you mention making this an island rather than a peninsula. The stone path, being straight, already cuts the peninsula off from the pool area: though still connected, it's already an island.

I'd curve the path and add shrubs to hide the path so you can't see across the entire path. [Sorry, that's not explained well.] For instance, make the path V- (or U-) shaped so the bottom of the V gives access to the equipment. Tallish evergreens would be planted outside the V. Other tallish evergreens would be planted inside the V.

Re. the triangular area, it would help to know what the exposure is. It would probably be a good idea to have some foundation plantings to conceal the odd foundation height.

For low maintenance, I'd plant the areas closer to the walk with a good evergreen groundcover. I know nothing about deer-resistant plantings, so I won't try to suggest anything.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 11:19AM
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Thanks for the feedback. Both areas get full sun. The area by the house is the first to shade over in the mid-late afternoon.

I agree that the pool equipment area needs to be an island rather than a peninsula. The stepping stones are there so that we don't have to step on/stand on mulch (usually with bare feet) when doing something with the equipment.

I think the area near the house needs to be planted with a variety of heights, though I don't know where to start with this. I was thinking a small tree would be nice in the area to the left of the barrel that there now. But I don't want something that will grow large and be sorry in a few years.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 1:16PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I agree that the pool equipment area needs to be an island rather than a peninsula.

Sorry for the confusion. I didn't mean to suggest that it should be an island, merely that the location and shape of the path, plus the lack of plantings on that side, give the effect that it already is an island.

Part of that, of course, is that you haven't completed the design and haven't planted the area fully.

I believe on the previous thread there was quite a bit of discussion as to whether the area would look better as an island or a peninsula. It is my opinion that it currently is an island (disguised as a peninsula). I think it would probably work better as a peninsula, though I'm sure the pros could come up with island designs that would look good.

I went looking for the previous thread in case there were photos showing the island/peninsula from other vantage points, but the software is seriously unstable and unhelpful at the moment. Maybe later....

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 2:28PM
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