Landscape ideas needed!!

sandz22August 29, 2013

I have this area alongside my driveway which is in need of attention. It faces east and has sun in the morning and some sun in the afternoon. Right now it is a haven for weeds or strange mushrooms. I had rose bushes along the whole thing that weren't looking too good so those were removed. Should I plant some large shrubs like we have along the back? Perhaps some little evergreen trees lining the whole fence? Ornamental grass? Maybe just put grass seed down over the whole thing so I don't have to deal with all the weeds and maintenance. I would consider removing the whole fence too since is is kind of a pain to work around and it is just a decoration. Any suggestions are appreciated - I feel like this looks sloppy right now.

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I couldn't figure out how to add two pictures to one message so here is another picture featuring the whole fenced area. The fence ends just to the left of the picture. The area to the right of the fence is the spot we are tying to fix. I also need to find a way to get rid of the vine thing swallowing the arbor but that is another issue. The fence makes it hard to trim the bushes. The red maple to the right of the fence is on the neighbors property.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 11:03AM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Many folks, me included, like the idea of 'hiding' the open garage doors. Keep the fence. Besides, it might help keep the basketball on the drive!

Now, lets work on what you have. Why the rocks in only part of the area? Those things harbor weed seeds. Get rid of them. Create a dug border as an edging, it will help to keep the grass from invading into the bed.

Maintenance is always a concern, so let's begin with weed problems. Weeds hate trying to get through barriers. Lay about 5-6 sheets of newspaper and cover with mulch (shredded leaves from out back?). The worms love that stuff and it will help your soil.

Whatever those bushes are, they need to be pruned. Generally one can do that in the spring, and they will do OK for the rest of the year. Color! That's what you need in that area. It appears that the house is in shades of pink, so something in that color family would work.

You might consider a Lilac at the end, nice spring fragrance and it will grow for years and years with pruning only after bloom time. Summer blooms might work in that area, too. Something like oriental or hybrid lilies, not much work on them - 15 minutes per year total.

Cinquefoil would work well as a ground cover and it requires darned little maintenance. It would take a couple of years to completely fill in, but it spreads nicely.

And, of course my stand-by, spring bulbs. Some folks don't like the dying foliage, but I really like spring shows! A few bearded iris along the fence would be nice, they don't like to be too wet, so the drainage would be good (but they might not get enough sun for that spot).

Others will add their thoughts. Think a bit. You can begin the process now, but working the soil with the suppression of weeds. Then you can work on the rest.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 11:16AM
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pinksand(7a MD)

I personally like the fence, it seems to be in good condition and is a nice structural backdrop for your plants. Like Jim said, layering some newspaper with mulch on top would help cut back the weeds. I did that in a weedy garden this spring and it worked beautifully to keep the weeds down! Just don't try to do it on a breezy day ;)

I like the idea of a dwarf lilac like a 'miss kim.' The fence creates a cottage feel so going with plants in that style seems fitting. One of my favorite small shrubs is abelia. They don't require pruning if you like their arching natural form, which I personally love. Though their flowers aren't super showy, their leaves are a show in themselves and a variety like 'kaleidoscope' would add color.

Alliums are one of my favorite bulbs and I find them to be underused in my area. I think their deep purple would be striking against the white fence. Planting bulbs among latter summer bloomers like cone flowers would help hide the dying foliage of your spring bulbs.

I'm currently fighting a battle with Cinquefoil that is taking over both my lawn and garden so I personally wouldn't recommend it. I love woolly thyme as a ground cover and have been happy with various sedums and creeping phlox.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 3:10PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Pinksand is correct with Cinquefoil, it can overrun a spot or two (it self-sows), but if you are seeking something that will cover and that would not be a problem, with lots of maintenance, then it will work. You just need to be vigilant with how far they go. I have never tried Wooly Thyme, but have seen it. I don't know if you will have enough sun in that spot.

You'll get other advice. Do some research and also see what your local garden center has (or will have in the spring).

Work on prepping the bed for now. Get rid of the weeds and all will work well in the spring.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 4:24PM
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