Novice Seeks Landscaping Advice

scotth1June 7, 2012

My wife and I have been living in our home for almost three years now, and during the majority of that time, one side of our house has just been a collection of weeds. About a month ago, we cleared all of the weeds out, and currently that side of the house has improved from weeds to dirt. Since both of us are pretty much clueless when it comes to landscaping, I was hoping for some advice about what we could plant on that side of the house. I'm thinking something low maintenance that won't grow out of control would be a good idea.

Also, I'm wondering if we should add some kind of soil (I'd probably like to have a bit of a raised bed against the house). Any advice on that would be appreciated as well. If it's helpful, our current soil is largely clay, and I'm wondering if I should mix in some peat moss or something like that.

Finally, my wife did spray the area with round up two weeks ago, so I'm wondering how long we should wait before we plant anything.

Thanks in advance, as your advice is greatly appreciated. Please let me know what other helpful information I could provide.

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karinl(BC Z8)

Landscaping is not just planting, it's arranging the area to suit your needs. Your question raises an interesting possibility: what if you have no needs of that particular area?

If that's the case, my first question would be why you want a raised bed against the house. Is that an integral part of your definition of "what looks nice?"

Do you use this area at all? Have any utility needs that it could fill? How is it viewed, by whom, at what season? Do you see it at all?

Can it do anything for you, like provide shade, or block a view?

The first landscaping question that I like to ask is (taken from the Joe Eck book): what do you want to achieve?

Karin L

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:20PM
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How much sun & water does the area get?

what zone are you in?

RoundUp is fairly short-lived, you should be fine by now.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:25PM
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PLEASE do some reading before constructing a raised bed against the house. Lots of issues to be considered.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 6:24AM
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Brad Edwards

I am good with clay, peat moss is honestly pretty overated for external use with heavy clay if your in the south. Now compost and manure will be like black gold, copost right away and manure later on. What I do for things like this is add a couple bags "20-40#'s" of compost and then go to a friends stable and get his horse manure and mix it in, 4 months later is ready for planting and stuff grows like weeds. You can get aged manure and its pretty good as well. You need to break up the soil before creating the raised bed to you don't have a hard surface. I topcoat with heavy pinestraw sense it doesn't wash away in the severe downpours we have in the south, granted it makes the soil slightly acidic, it also makes it 100x easier to weed because they get leggy and are insanely easy to pull.

If its a large area, look into getting a full truck load of topsoil, then see if its sandy, loam, or rich soil and then add manure. I really hope this helps, as you just found out its probably about 75% about the soil.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 12:45PM
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Thanks all for your responses. I've decided to keep things simple for this year and just try to get some grass going. I'll might still look into low maintenance planting options next year. This side of the house has fairly low visibility, as you can really only see it when pulling into the drive, and the neighbors have to see it when they low their lawn. It's a rather small strip of land along the side of our garage.

In terms of raised beds, I may not even have the proper terminology there. I was looking for consistency with some of the other parts of our landscaping, which have more dirt up by the house than out in the lawn.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 7:31AM
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