Ideas for Triangular space

Peterson50July 12, 2014

I have a small backyard which is triangular and looking for some ideas on how to make it look nice. It is about 18 ft wide at widest point and 7 ft wide at narrowest and about 35ft in length. There are a lot of roots underneath from trees on the streets so grass or plants don't grow too well. Looking for inexpensive ideas for either ground cover, very sturdy grass or cheap deck to cover the whole area or any type of idea is helpful. I need help

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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I don't live in NY, but that looks like a nice space for a little patio/deck with a pergola. Potted plants are always nice.

Google DIY pergola. Lots of instructions out there. A friend of mine made something out of PVC pipe and he stretched shade cloth over it for a nice shady area. A grape arbor would be nice too. There are a lot of grape varieties that don't mind cold winters.

I have buddies in fig forums who grow fig trees in pots in NY. They bring them into their basements in winter. I see some sun there, so you could even plant shade loving flowers in pots too.

We have a trailer park area for the elderly here in town, and many have put colored gravel in their front yards so they don't have to water or maintain it, but they put little bird baths and potted flowers around and it's very pleasant.

We solved a problem like yours by installing a putting green. It's fake grass, but you would never know it.

You could also build a deck out of pressure treated wood and that looks nice, but is pretty reasonable.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 2:20PM
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Groundcover and a deck do not serve the same purpose. How is the space going to be used?

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 17:22

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 2:25PM
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I sometimes wonder if there is anyone out there who simply doesn't use their yard for any purpose other than as an extension of the house and/or something that could be made pleasant just to look out over - which seems to be what the OP wants.

Could be wrong, but there's no information there regarding children, pets, a hoped for spot to barbeque or just sit. A modest investment in plants/shrubs from any Big Box garden center could tone down all those running feet of fencing in both the sunny and shady areas.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:47PM
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I also always want to know what the poster will use it for. I wish we could sticky a post that lays down some basic questions for posters to address; such as start with a good picture, what is your zone, what do you want to accomplish, what are the problems that need solutions.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 4:14PM
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Thanks for the response, This portion is the back end of my yard. There is a drive way in front of that picture and a small patio in front of that.

I have a nice garden on the side of my house, so what I am looking for in this portion of the yard is something that is extremely low to no maintenance, something I can set it and forget it. While the idea of some plants is nice or a deck, again something that I do not have to maintain week after week


    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:06PM
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"set it and forget it." well, really, you get what you pay for, in dollars or effort. For really no or low maintenance, there are only a few options, and there are trade offs.

Grass, which you have sort of growing there already. Needs to be mowed/weeded etc.

Hardscape of some kind is probably your best option for very little maintenance. However, not cheap. You could do gravel, but why is that better than what you have there? Pavers, concrete, etc. you will have to sweep, blow or rake.

Maybe some trees. You'd have to water and deal with leaves.

Here's my best suggestion: Staggered rows of plants in back such as large shrubs or small evergreens,which would disguise the awkward shape and add privacy. Mulch under those plants, and then put some kind of hardscape in the front. Maybe add a sculpture or some other kind of garden art, which would be no maintenance but interesting looking.

This post was edited by Violet.West on Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 14:48

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:27PM
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Truth be told - what you've got there already is the most effortless possible solution... assuming it gets a periodic mowing and a grass whipping along the fence.

Looks to be a couple of stacks of patio blocks against the back. Were they mine, I'd might use them to define planting beds at the corners - digging up enough turf to set the blocks flat to the ground for ease with mower wheels.

Churn up the grass to make the space plantable, put in a few hostas, a non-aggressive fern or two, a Stella d'Oro daylily or two and throw down a few bags of mulch. Use any left over blocks and build a plinth in each bed - top off the plinth (which is only a base to set something on) with urns since oftentimes architectural elements look good even when not filled with plants.

A small initial investment in sweat equity and plants - Big Box stores are great for the $ investment part and you're pretty much good to go with very little additional maintenance.

If nothing else, I'm practical.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 2:46PM
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I think the lowest maintenance would be a thick layer of mulch ... free from tree trimming companies. First, spray all the grass with roundup and kill it. Then cover with 3" of mulch. Alternatively, instead of herbicide, you could cover with cardboard first, then mulch. Every so often you would need to weed (by spraying or pulling roots and all) to keep it weed free. Once it has been wee-free for about a year, you could plant some low, spreading groundcover so that there became no need to top dress with additional mulch.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:08PM
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Not sure if the roots are really everywhere , or how much sun/shade the area gets. I think a few shrubs near the back (probably planted closer together than "usual") would help minimize a tunnel feeling if the area is plantable. They'd need to be watered while getting established though.

Although Limelights are hydrangeas, and hydrangeas have a reputation for being water-lovers, I have Limelights growing well and blooming in part shade where they get no supplemental water. If it's deep shade and you have a significant root issue (like maple/spruce), then that wouldn't work.

Another suggestion is browsing the big boxes for some tough little crabapples. I got five "Molten Lava" crabapples on clearance a few years ago for $5 each. They're growing well in quite a bit of shade and with some root competition. Something like that doesn't get too big, but would also give you some privacy from the houses nearby IF that's an issue for you. (Not sure if this is a view you see from a window in your house.)

Cheap, common hostas are cheap and common for a reason. They multiply well and are tough as nails. I second the suggestion to add some of those. Farmer's markets, if you have them, can be even cheaper than the big boxes sometimes.

A great groundcover for that situation would be geranium macrorrhizum. It grows aggressively but is easy to yank, and forms a nice tight weed-preventing mat in most situations.

I love free wood chips from tree trimmers too. I like the ones that aren't as finely chopped as others, since they last a lot longer, unless you decide you want to let them compost for later planting. I also like to get them in the winter. Without the green leaves shredded and mixed in, they don't decompose nearly as quickly. And if you find a trimmer who you can develop a bit of a rapport with, you can ask for hardwood chips for the same reason.

You can often find "ditch lilies" free on craigslist, especially if you'll dig them. They're aggressive spreaders, but will bloom for a good three weeks in summer. Stella Doro or Happy Returns are also tough, nicer looking, and usually relatively inexpensive.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:38AM
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