Backyard Landscaping Emergency

sguginDecember 26, 2012

We recently purchased a foreclosed home with an ugly backyard. We are looking to renovate the house and yard and sell the property as an investment. My funds are limited but I am looking to do something with the backyard to make it look more presentable. We live in a wooded area with A LOT of leaves and shade. And the soil is very sandy. And we do have a limited sprinkler system in the backyard.

If you have any ideas please help! Thanks.

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Why do you consider this yard not "presentable"? Do you think that planting a few sticks of green stuff here and there on a limited budget will improve it? Heck, there are those who would be thrilled to purchase a blank slate which has the beginnings of a moss garden and an area shaded by a tree line which also provides summer privacy. Consider stacking the woodpile neatly, adding several 'woodsy' birdhouses on the trees and letting new owners make their own decisions as to what land use best suits their needs.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 3:23PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

As it has been said before, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I find this photo of your back yard restful and serene.

There is not too much you could do on a limited budget that would make a meaningful impact but as Nandina wisely notes, you can stack the woodpile neatly and perhaps add a few low buck sculptural elements.

To my minds eye I could see an investment of 3 or 4 brightly colored Adirondack style chairs set around the fire pit with a couple of simple side tables to suggest the idea that one could further enhance the area to their own idea of wooded paradise.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Gotta agree with the above suggestions. To me, that's a beautiful natural area, and will improve again when the trees leaf up with the warmer weather in spring. I like the idea of chairs around the fire-pit...and yes, don't forget the woodpile!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 9:40PM
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The least attractive feature in the picture is the bare dirt. Neither the mediocre grass nor the leaf-mulched areas are the "horrors." I agree with Nandina that "sticking some green stuff here and there" is not the solution. What would improve the picture is adjusting the mulch vs turf areas to be better defined and distinct, in such a way that a strong geometry becomes apparent in the design. (And tidying up or getting rid of the log pile.) A line could be created that separates lawn from mulch and eliminates the bare dirt areas. The goals could be incorporating most of the trees into the mulch in order to minimize mowing, and to grow grass where sufficient light exists. Then, improving the grass alone would make a big difference.

You might want to limb up some of the forward placed trees in order that one's view could penetrate farther into the wooded area. I think it would be better to see into it than it would to have one's view stopped at the front of it.

The attached illustration is to help explain the renovation scheme that I'm talking about: the trees stay the same, but the grass and mulch areas are re-defined and the dirt areas are eliminated.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 10:32PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

I like that idea Yardvaark!

I also like the quiet restfulness that this space has. A bit of clean up, a bit of mulch and chairs. You can't get much lower of a budget :-)

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 4:34PM
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Fori is not pleased

A flagstone path might be nice. Keep it woodsy--it's appealing!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 5:21PM
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Oh, wow, that has such possibilities! With very little effort or expense you could have a "woodland" garden with native species (grow from seed or buy from native plant sales), some quiet paths, and benches, maybe a kid's hideout tucked in the bushes.

Stop before you spend any money and bury any plants and figure out how you want to use the area.

Where is that in relation to the house - is the firepit conveniently located? And am I correct that your land ends where I see grass through the trees?

I would wait one full year before messing with the tree area - taking pictures and noting what sprouts when spring comes, what blooms, and where the poison ivy grows.

Where you can grow grass you can grow vegetables ... consider replacing some of the grass with a vegetable garden, starting with a lasagna bed heavily mulched with the leaves.

Pave the entertainment area - the firepit area and the path to it - with flat local rocks so you can enjoy it even in the mud season.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Hi sgugin,

because you are going to flip the home and property I would not make much change to the back yard. It is not ugly to folks who like natural woodland settings and it would look funny with non native plantings and accoutrement. Cleaning it up will make a difference for sure. Add some grass (seeds would be easiest and cheapest). And if possible, construct a wood shed and if not then do clean up and stack that wood pile.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 1:00PM
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