Need help,not sure what to plant (pics included)

suz9601January 21, 2014

Hi guys. I am about to landscape down the side of my fence and am not sure what I should put there. I am fairly new to gardening (have a couple of years under my belt) but feel overwhelmed at the blank slate I have. I was wondering if you all have any ideas. The area is about 35-40 feet long. The middle part is about 3-4 deep and around the tree and at the other end, maybe 5-6 feet deep from fence. I am looking for shrubs and perennials mainly. Thanks for any ideas. I really appreciate any help. The area gets full sun. I hope you can make out the area I have marked with the extension cord in the pic.

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Close up of one end of garden area.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:42AM
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Close up of other end of garden area.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:53AM
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What are you going to use your back yard for?
The trees will provide much needed privacy in the spring and summer from your neighbors looking down into your yard.
Do you have a patio to sit out on?
Do you have kids or pets? BBQ parties?
Are you going to have an unbrella out there?
Do you want to grow veggies?
Are you thinking about putting in a pond mabey?
Do you want evergreen trees?
Flower beds?
More info needed.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 12:51PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


most shrubs... generically speaking.. will outgrow that space very fast ...

so you will be wanting to look for dwarf versions.. and even those will do the same.. but in many more years ...

shrubs is a rather common ... generic term ... including all sorts of things.. including conifers ...

conifers appropriate to your are would provide some nice back bones to your garden ... and provide year around color, shape and form ... visit the conifer forum and look for KC dave's posts ... as you can probably grow what he grows ....

i would also double the width of the bed.. and leave at least 2 feet at the fence ... almost straight across from that tree but for my hatred of straight lines.. lol .. so that you can weed from back there.. or paint the fence in the future ...

i would also use some bird netting.. and use some annual vines to breakup the boredom of the fence itself ...

all this said.. dont get confused and think you can go all retentive and plan out the perfect.. forever .. garden..

just buy whatever strikes your fancy.. and stick it in the ground.. and if it doesnt work out.. get rid of it ... just do it ...

i would start removing the grass.. and turning over the soil ... since it doesnt look frozen like mine is.. in MI ... prep ASAP ... and be ready for the buying season ...

also.. have a soil test done.. and if you can and want to amend the soil.. you can amend the whole bed at the get go .... what is your base soil type??? sand.. clay.. etc. ... describe it for us ...


ps: whats in the corner??? garbage cans or utilities .... if utilities.. have miss dig mark such ... and be careful .... when jumping on your shovel ...

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 1:19PM
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Thanks Ken and butterfly for your responses. I appreciate it. To answer some questions:

I do have a patio and deck, I sit out on both all summer. I have several other gardens in for wildlife. I am a huge birder, so have a lot of wildgardens and viburnums, etc.

I have clay soil here. It is awful, but I am using earthright to help out some.

Yes, there are utilities in the corner, I will call and have them located before digging. Thanks for the reminder

Butterfly, I do not have kids, just using the backyard as a relaxing place to be. I don't have any conifers in the back except for some junipers along the back fence.

I will try to expand the depth of the garden, my yard is not very big and I am concerned it will take up half of my yard. I will play with it some.

I'm trying to figure out my corner first and start there, not sure if I want a butterfly bush there, forsynthia or what.....hard to decide.

This post was edited by suz9601 on Fri, Jan 31, 14 at 12:50

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 12:48PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I think the little inlet of grass between the tree bed and the pre-existing bed on the right could become very annoying for whoever has to mow and edge it. I'd take it into the whole bed and join it all up to give greater cohesion and a less 'bitty' feel.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 2:10PM
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thanks floral...I wasn't sure if I should join it to the bed already there, or have it as its own bed. The one on the right is a corner bed, but maybe if I joined them, it would flow better.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 3:13PM
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