Help us move on from 'zero-scaped'
My family and I moved into a new home this spring with a "zero-scape" yard. I come to work each day a get to look at a different zero-scaped (though better executed) landscape and definitely want to do something different at home. Besides, I love plants. Any help towards making this happen will be greatly appreciated, so thanks for any advice and insight that you are able to offer.
My general plan of attack is to try and get some shade trees in this spring (which means it needs to happen soon) and do any hardscaping this summer/fall. Putting in the rest of the trees and other vegetation will happen in subsequent years. I do want a plan to guide all this (lesson learned from last house).
A bit of site info, we live in central Washington (USDA zone 5 was just recently changed zone 6, sunset zone 2b). In between the wind that tends to blow from the N/NW and dry climate (~9-12 inches) per year it is a challenging place for plants to grow up. Right now I am focusing on the front yard, which faces roughly N by NW.
Based on a bit of pursuing of this forum, I have done this brainstorming (based off conversations with my husband):
Establish objectives for your landscaping (front yard):
1. Keep our house from roasting. Shade house and yard from hot afternoon sun while still maintaining some openness / view to the west. Is shade needed in other areas of the front yard too because of all the gravel?
2. Pleasant view when looking out from living room / serene, naturalistic, informal feel
3. Provide balance and draw eye away from the massive attached garage
4. Make the front door more of a destination / given it more focus.
5. Four-season interest
6. Obscure view beyond the front yard
7. Low water use
8. Create a garden that allows me to indulge in a bit of plant lust without creating too much maintenance
9. Use materials available on-site
What existing elements already achieve objectives you have in mind?
� Lilac hedge - once the younger plants are taller it will be sufficient to meet objective 5. Also, right now older plants create a nice entrance that the existing path passes under.
� Rock gravel (as I am envisioning it right now, we would keep things mostly gravel / not do lawn).
� Existing concrete walkway? It would be convenient keep it, but changing it is on the table.
Here is what the place looks like. I now realize that this photo was taken pretty close-up, guess I was trying to spare you from the ugly fence that will be removed one of these days and the wagon wheels that are popular around here but not my style. It was taken at about 7/8 last night (I mention so that the shadows are placed in context). You can certainly see what I was talking about in objective 3! From Front Yard
Here is the first idea I was working on. Here I was concentrating on how to keep the existing walk-way (and expanding it) and shade tree placement (I think it is obvious, but those are the large green circles). I started to think about where to put some tall ornamental grasses (brown circles) and evergreen shrubs (solid green circles), but felt a bit stuck.
table style="width:auto;"> From Front Yard
Here is a second idea that was born out of feeling stuck with the first design. I put a "patio(?)" in front of the front door. When I did this, plant placement seemed to make more sense to me. I think the patio provides a bit of structure / geometry so I didn't feel like I just had a sea of gravel to work with. However, I am not sure that a patio makes sense (would it serve any function?) Also, how to tie in the patio with the front door? From Front Yard From Front Yard
When I showed these to my husband he was concerned that we weren't including enough shade trees in the front. I think since it faces NW, we aren't really missing out on much potential cooling, but I want to throw it out there. I think that larger trees should be to the front and side of the house (as shown) and any additional trees in the front should be smaller, more ornamental types.