Before I lose it I thought I'd ask for help! Please! Pics

megpie77May 23, 2010

My husband says he has it all planned out and now I'm freaking! I'm talking about the long dirt section between us and the neighbors. Neither of us has a clue about garden design and this scares me because it will cost lots of money and I don't want it to be wrong.

This is what we were both thinking: Tall slender evergreen trees (in a row from street to house) planted as far towards the neighbors side so we have room to plant something pretty closer to our driveway. I regret taking out the tall tree that was planted there because it shaded my son's room in the hot summer : (

My husbands plans: a large boulder with tall grass growing behind it and other little shrubs shaped like balls.

My plans: ground cover like cerastium (very pretty and stay green all year). That's as far as I got.

I like french country, as well as grecian (not sure if that is what you would call it but something like my inpspiration pic), and I actually love palms which do grow around here (small ones and some tall).

I like ivy, boxwoods, grasses, white flowers, perhaps some color like lavender-but not too much.

It was suggested to me to grow clematis up our pillars, add window planters to windows above garage and large front window, and get carriage style garage doors-simple panel style with windows up top (not X style or barn style which I love but wouldn't fit this house)

We would love and appreciate any and all suggestions and thank you in advance!

our gray house

not sure where to put this oakleaf hydrangea

just one example of what I like

The link below will take you to a site which shows many pretty gardens. I like the landscape of the two white/grayish houses with dark shutters

I know I am asking a lot-hopefully someone will have some ideas! Thanks again

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How wide is that area exactly?

Be aware that if you plant tall things all the way to the street you won't be able to see when the road is clear to pull the car out! Nor will your neighbors, and they may not take kindly to that.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 12:27PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Don't plant anything on their side of the property line, even if they have indicated approval of you planting all the way over to the edge of their drive (at the front) what if they change their minds later? Or somebody else moves in? If you don't know already, find out where your lot ends and always stay inside it.

You might best have your questions answered by hiring a garden consultant to come and discuss the site and plants with you, in person, on the site. Or maybe make use of a design service at a nearby independent garden center.

Seattle is in USDA Hardiness Zone 8, as is most of lowland western WA.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 12:29PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You might get something out of this.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Easy Garden

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 12:41PM
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cearbhaill-Of course we wouldn't go all the way to the road with the tall trees. I wasn't thinking when typing that. Probably just half way down the driveway.

bboy-you make a good point, however, there was already vegetation there so I guess what's the difference if it is newly planted or the old stuff that was there? The mayor lives a few houses down so I'll ask him how I'd go about finding it out.

But any advice?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 12:49PM
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I have one question--Why did you make the driveway so narrow when you have the extra room to make it wider? It could have gone to the corner of the house.

As to the planting--I wouldn't plant trees. you need to see backing out of the driveway. I would plant shrubs or flowers or roses . In fact it would make a perfect rose garden. Have a gander through the photos in the link

Here is a link that might be useful: Rose gardens

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 1:11PM
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oilpainter-the driveway is plenty wide. It is as wide as it always was. Our garage doors are 9' wide each just to give you an idea. I didn't want it to be all cement but my husband did. I feel like we need some sort of vegetation between houses for mild privacy. I love roses but we are looking for things that will be green all year...well at least we want most of the plants to be evergreens.

thanks again I sure appreciate it!

House before

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 2:13PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

On another thread recently, a regular poster here did a *:facepalm:* which perfectly expresses my feelings when I see "window boxes" in posts about landscaping. Honestly, spare yourself. How the heck would you water the things, and if you could they'd drip on your cars... Ditto for clematis up the posts. Very romantic - in summer - but have you ever seen clematis in winter? And they do grow INTO eaves; they do not naturally curve out and go over the roof. Ask me how I know.

Blank slates, big or small, are daunting until you start fleshing out the parameters and constraints you face, which can be best done by looking really hard at function. In this case, these include preservation of sight lines, shade and sun preferences, and property lines, both on the ground and in the air. So for example, you want shade on your son's room - so put a tree in spot A. But choose a tree that does not make an overwhelming mess nor spread or seed excessively (hint to my neighbours: not a Norway Maple). You want some screening probably just at a certain spot when people are looking from a certain height to a certain height. A wall of green may not be necessary to block this - perhaps three columnar evergreens, either upright or droopy or some of each.

The property line looks like it is a huge issue to me. It looks to me as if your neighbour will want to have walkable space next to that boat, and will step on your plants if they don't have it. Having had my fill of neighbour issues, I personally would either leave that area for them to do something with, or do it in flagstone with ground cover or in brick - end of story. Then it's space you can use to weed or prune your plants too. Legal issues aside, it just has to work on a day to day basis.

Now, the next step is debatable depending on whether you DIY or are having this done for you. You see, a designer always has to do a plan in advance and then get approval and work to it, because the designer then goes away. If you are DIY, you have the luxury of feeling your way through this, because you're always going to be there. And plants can be moved. In other words, the designer has to get it right first time. In contrast, you get to make a few mistakes, and change your mind. Yes, it can cost an extra few dollars, but if you get it mostly right, not that much.

First maybe you address a boulder(s). If your husband is a rock person, I'd go along with this, because I am one and I know that when you need rocks, you need rocks. If you don't get your rock, you suffer from rock envy, which can make a person grumpy. Go rock shopping together (or watch craigslist or your local construction sites for free ones).

Next, you go plant shopping. You get a few plants. You may find tall slender evergreens among them - there are some great junipers in this category (also some great ground-hugging junipers for the front end of the driveway) and some amazing drooping spruces. You argue about where to put them, and then you go back to the nursery a few weeks later and get a few more (lots of new stock coming in through the season, don' t just go once).

Then you plant and live with it. Move it around if something isn't right (in the fall, not in the summer). (It is already actually a little late to plant without being sure of watering adequately this first summer - be aware of that). You might find yourself picking up a few new plants as the weeks or months, or years, go by.

In a way, though, all my advice is only going to lead you to one key realization: what you and your husband each want is not incompatible. There's plenty of room on that strip for both of you.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 3:35PM
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holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

Your inspiration pic is quite formal. And, unlike most here, I would plant it all. If, later, someone comes in and takes 'their' part back, then let them have it.

This is what I would do:
I would want something large in back, to hide the boat, and something smaller in front, for sight line access.
Put some large shrubs in the back (perhaps some red barberrys like you already have). Then in the front, I would line it with boxwoods like in your inspiration pic. That would also give you the evergreens you want.

In the middle, I would go with easy care roses, some interesting and beautiful shrubs (go shopping), and of course, add in some boulders. Three large boulders placed around should make your husband happy, and give some added interest. IMHO, you can have it all! :)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 6:11PM
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I would advise against the row of tall, slender trees. They are never as slender as you hope they will be, to get privacy you have to crowd them, and then they get sick and die on you.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 10:13AM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

About the boulder...make certain it is placed so that people turning their car around in your driveway can see it...and are unlikey to back into it. Same with your neighbor's driveway.

First maybe you address a boulder(s). If your husband is a rock person, I'd go along with this, because I am one and I know that when you need rocks, you need rocks. If you don't get your rock, you suffer from rock envy, which can make a person grumpy. Go rock shopping together (or watch craigslist or your local construction sites for free ones).

hee hee hee Rock envy. I know it. I understand it. But I'd still be careful of bumpers. Of course...I've taught to teenagers how to drive...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 1:19PM
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From a safety standpoint, I'd also test out heights of stuff so you can see kids on bikes, dogs, toddlers, etc. going by when you are backing out of your driveway. I'm paranoid about that one...

(I have to say, I love the idea of rock envy!)

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 4:39PM
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Your neighborhood is beautiful with the exception of that eyesore next door (the boat). A hedge of evergreens would be nice but there are the problems that have already been mentioned.
what if you did a section of fencing and then brought it down lower as you neared the street? It could be placed on the lot line, obliterating the view of the boat, giving you less maintenance and also a beautiful backdrop to plant along. Where you need it to be solid it could be and then getting lower and more open as you move toward the street.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 5:17PM
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