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Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Posted by wannabeGardnr 7 Maryland (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 22, 14 at 1:04

I started from scratch for our backyard, and started planting the bones last fall. Now I need to decide what the final layout will be for the lawn and beds, so I can draw the lines and start more planting.

I want a flowing landscaped look that makes the yard look deeper instead of a shallow and wide rectangle. Also want to disguise the large house in front while keeping the open views.

I pulled arial map of the house and drew on it.
* Property boundary is in brown.
* I have marked the good views, and views to hide with black crosses and check marks.
* neighbor's trees and structures that affect my design are marked.
* I haven't decided whether to add a tree next to the deck. I am leaning towards it because house gets too hot in Summer. But want to keep the canopy small to be able to plant enough variety underneath. No large maples. I was thinking narrower Ginkgo, large crape myrtle, or other small trees. Want canopy to be high so I have clear view from lower floor. Also considered shading the deck with sail cloth, pergola, umbrella, but house would still be hot.
* The grey area I want to add a paved area to put a fire pit
* So far I have started the conifer bed and the two perennial beds. The hydrangeas and the Skylands is planted.
* I have drawn the bed line I was thinking of.

Help me draw the bed line, and where you would put taller trees, shorter trees, tall, short shrubs. The south-western side I can visualize as a curve, but I get lost on the east side. Where to bring the bed lines out into the lawn, where to curve back. I think it will look nice to keep a flowing lawn into the north east corner around the deck. I want an oval-ish open area in the center for lawn games and parties.

More pictures follow. Please help!

This post was edited by wannabeGardnr on Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 0:52


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Here is a composite view of the property, stitched together with pictures taken from the same spot.
Separate images are provided below, sequentially.

Highlights from left (east) to right (west)
1. Neighbor's deck visible from my deck. Nice to hide in Summer, but not urgent.
2. Considering a tree on the left side of deck for some shade
3. South east corner will have tree view. good.
4. Southeast neighbor's house will be mostly hidden once trees grow up. Can add some additional deciduous screen.
5. Only far view straight ahead. Keep this. If possible make this part of lawn look deeper.
6. Hide this big house on the south. Started evergreen screen.
7. Small tree view in southeast corner in winter when deck maple is leaf less.
8. Afternoon shade in southwest corner from neighbor's magnolia
9. Open sky view on west. Sunsets are nice.
10. Drainage swale / ditch parallel to west wall.
11. Considering adding small paved area behind the maple.

This post was edited by wannabeGardnr on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 21:11


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Looking left from the deck, east view

This post was edited by wannabeGardnr on Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 0:49


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Main view, looking straight south from the window.

This post was edited by wannabeGardnr on Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 0:47


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

view to the right of the deck, looking west

This post was edited by wannabeGardnr on Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 0:50


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Looking north east from the south west corner of property.

This post was edited by wannabeGardnr on Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 0:51


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Looking south west from the northeast corner. This captures the full backyard except the part to the right (west) of deck.

This post was edited by wannabeGardnr on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 17:25


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

My design


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Hi... could someone just take a sec and let me know what kind of softwar allows you to do this kind of thing?
sorry for interrupting....


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

roksee, the graphic work you see is done with a photo editor. A simple one to use is Microsoft Paint. Paint is limited in what can be done; there are much more powerful programs. If you don't have one, there is a free online editor with a full set of functions at pixlr.com


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Here is a tracing of the bare bones of the property. It would help others to offer ideas if some measurements were given to set the scale of the drawing.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

wannabeGardnr,

I suggest you start your planning with a look at grade and drainage. Use the graphic above to map how water flows across the area and where it leaves your yard.

The photos show a grading for the lawn area that might be esthetically improved and now is the time to make that decision.

In your first post you said:

"I want a flowing landscaped look that makes the yard look deeper instead of a shallow and wide rectangle."

The most important view location is from the deck and the longest line you have control over to achieve your goal is that line from deck to the southeast corner. You may want to use that to your advantage by arranging the lawn area to run toward that corner and create a focal point at the end of the grass corridor. In the drawing below I show a proposal. Note the red lines show part of the lawn edge angled to trick the eye for extra depth when seen from the deck.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Pls8xx, this is perfect. I was thinking whether to take the lawn into that southeast corner as well, but was not certain.
What I was trying to do is elongate in the direction of the other blue line straight south. There is a nice far view down that line. If I have out curves at both these lines, then I would need an incurve along where you have one of the red lines. Would that be okay?. There is a drainage swale(?) parallel to the east wall, drawn in gray. The south and west properties are lower, so it naturally drains without any aid.. The lawn is mostly flat except along the last 12 feet on the east where it gently slopes down, shown in grey. Water flow is shown with blue arrow. New trees, and large shrubs are shown as green dots.

This post was edited by wannabeGardnr on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 8:38


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

pis8xx ... thanks very much.
roksee


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

This picture drawn on top of the previous one shows the modified water flow I with a dry creek bed, to go around the tree, plus a possible paved area for a fire pit/ additional seating. If I have out curves to the south, as well was the south east corner, then how does the rest of the lawn line look like. I attempted two lines on the west side, did not even attempt on the north. How does one complement the lines on one side with the other. The other complication for me is I am drawing the lines looking from the top, but nobody sees this view. We mostly see from windows behind the deck, all year.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

As time gets tight, I get less likely to jump in and help if the OP makes helping into too much work. The first birds-eye photos are fuzzy and difficult to understand. Pls8xx drawing is easy to grasp. In spite of the fact the bird's-eye view is one no one ever sees the property from, it is the view that best explains where everything is and how things relate, spatially, to other things in the yard (since we cannot be there to see for ourselves.) The plan view is what makes it understandable. All the major elements -- house, deck, trees, fence, walls, etc. -- should show up in this view. It seems there might be a large tree in the back right corner (as viewed from deck) that is not yet showing up on the plan. Or possibly, I still don't understand the existing conditions. In addition to the plan, the most helpful information is photographs that show the TOTALITY of the yard ... not just pieces here and there. If a photograph cannot be taken of the overall yard (which is usually the case) the best thing is to stand in one spot (here, it would be just outside the center of the patio door since the deck will be the predominant viewpoint) and take a series of BARELY overlapping photos that pan the entire yard. (One would be trying to squeeze the most view into the fewest photographs ... not trying to produce a large number of photographs.) The fifth photo from top of the thread looks like the perfect starting photo ... but it is not followed up with successive photos that "explain," in sequence, the rest of the yard. (OK, there is one additional facing south, but it is piecemeal, not in sequence so is not so helpful in consolidating the existing conditions.) Sorry to sound picky, but the information must be conveyed somehow. And it must be not too much work to understand.)

As it is now, the planning looks as if it's heading toward development of pointlessly wavy bed lines. Looping lines that exist for no other reason than to have looping lines. In general, I think a "flowing" landscape has simpler looking bedlines. At the heart of the reason for planning is development of a property that, first and foremost, functions smoothly, without inconvenience and annoyance, including the maintenance thereof. And, secondly, to develop a strong overall artistic statement that appeals visually. This second goal is in danger of being short-changed on account of the wavy bed line look. Additionally, a goal of landscape should be to appeal to the other senses -- hearing, touch, smell and, possibly, taste -- wherever and however it can be done in a positive way? A nice design MUST conquer the first and second goal. It should conquer the third as much as is possible.

Regarding, "I want a flowing landscaped look that MAKES THE YARD LOOK DEEPER instead of a shallow and wide rectangle." There is only so much that one can do to make something appear other than it really is. It might be better to accept that what you have is what you have and the best you can do with it is to make it into something good and pleasing so that any viewer will be enchanted with it and not thinking about one of its dimensions as being a shortcoming. I have seen all shapes and sizes of gardens and know that ANY can be made into something that evokes positive feelings from observers. Focusing on the overall layout, first, will be more helpful than focusing on the individual things that should be in it.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Yarkvaark,

I stitched together all the images to make a composite one. It's not smooth so don't know how helpful it will be. I deleted some posts.

The outcurves are along the two lines on pls8xx's drawing. One line is along the deepest distance available, and the other one straight ahead is to help increase the shortest distance and borrow the far view.

I added measurements on pls8xx's drawing.

I am approaching this as:
1. keep a pleasing open feel
2. hide the bad views, and keep the good views
3. have some open grassy space for play
4. add a small paved area for secondary seating/ firepit

This post was edited by wannabeGardnr on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 21:16


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

It looks like you had the necessary photos, but they were out of sequence and/or us not informed that they were sequential. I didn't think they linked together. Sorry. (The single images are preferable to the composite panorama -- as there can be serious distortion -- but it must be known that they are linked.)

I am seeing bad views to screen, but not seeing good views to maintain (so much as some less offensive views that don't need intensive, complete screening.) The illustration shows 2 ways to screen houses beyond your yard. One way is a stiffer, more formal looking wall of conifers, and the other is with deciduous trees that are limbed up to the fence height. (You can imagine that this could be done with single trunk trees as well, though I don't think they give the same oomph to the scheme.) These could be arranged in double row, or triangular layout if only 3 plants involved.

Where I show the red "X" I think you will have trouble developing a screen to block the house beyond, if this large limb and tree (this is the one I don't think is on the plan) hangs over that space and produces too much shade. It would be better to remove lower limbs and allow more light to come in below. You don't want to produce a left-leaning screen.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

I suggest you smooth out the bed line to something more like this ... however, there are many details that you need to figure out ... like how the bed will be around the house & deck, etc.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Thank you, Yaardvark. There is just one tree, the Japanese maple.

What you drew is what I had in mind initially, clean, works with my plot, and easy for me to execute. Then botann on the conifer forum suggested that I can have the bed line come towards me where I want to block the views and push it back where I want people's eyes to go. That makes sense to me too, but with the curvy lines, I struggle to get the lines looking good on all sides of the lawn. I also like pls8xx's design, which is along the lines of what botann was saying, except I think I would want out curves along both blue lines on pls8xx's drawing.

I realize there is no one best way. Would be interesting to see what other designs are possible if anyone else is willing.

This post was edited by wannabeGardnr on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 21:10


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Whatever you do ... whatever lines you make, you must make some simple, clean artistic geometry out of them. If you want more lawn on the west side, you can do it ... but adjust the lines to reflect simplicity, s m o o t h n e s s and the boundaries of nearby objects. In general, it is better to round out the corners of the yard.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Yardvaark, can you suggest any books or websites where I can learn more? I prefer picture heavy examples. Easier for me to understand.

I don't want more lawn. In fact over time, I want to get rid of the lawn in front of the house on the east side too.

How would you ideally plant on the east side of the deck. Hide some of the view with mid sized plantings, keep it fully open with plants shorter than the deck rails, or keep it open but have a sense of enclosure with some tall trees for view under the canopy?


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Take a look at picture ideas on Houzz.com, or anywhere on the web you can find them. You'll need to evaluate if each idea is good, or not. Google Images is a good place to search for specific ideas, though sometimes tricky to find the right search terms.

For planting around the deck, keep the canopy of any trees entirely overhead and out of one's face so as to permit unobstructed view. There is no point to cover the railing. Keep it unobstructed, and any plantings around it low, barely exceeding the height of decking itself in order to maintain views. Do screening of undesirable views close to the yard perimeter, so that the yard remains connected with an open feel.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Thanks.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Yardvaark said "Whatever you do ... whatever lines you make, you must make some simple, clean artistic geometry out of them. If you want more lawn on the west side, you can do it ... but adjust the lines to reflect simplicity, s m o o t h n e s s and the boundaries of nearby objects."

I concur. Yard and bed edges that are squiggly remind me of group of people all talking over each other with no one saying anything of importance. It's confusing, distracting, and generally unpleasant.

There is also the element of scale, the balance of area size for plants to that allotted for yard. I like to size the plant area to something no less than half the area of the sum of lawn and any hardscape devoted to people. And the plant area should not be more than twice the 'people' area.

The size of landscape elements should be compatible with the overall size. For large areas use at least some larger shrubs, trees, walks. and decks. For smaller areas, scale down everything.

To begin this discussion I selected a single objective you gave, that of making "the yard look deeper instead of a shallow and wide rectangle". There are an infinite number of desirable arrangements you might choose. In the end you may want to discard this idea in favor of developing some other idea. I admit I had my own motive in selecting that one goal for review.

Landscaping is a blend of science and art. Years ago on this forum there were regular participants that made their living doing landscape design along with a host of others that had long studied the academic principles involved. I miss those discussions we had. The implementation of "making the yard look deeper instead of a shallow and wide rectangle" could have led to such a discussion even though it may of had limited benefit to the homeowner.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

The analogy of "people all talking over each other" (relative to squiggly bed lines) fits. When everything demands attention, the overall picture becomes lost.

"I miss those discussions we had." ... while I can't speak to discussions that came before my arrival, I can say that there is nothing that can stop intelligent analytic discussions other than people's refusal to discuss. From time to time, I've seen absurd claims postulated here (accompanied with some pretty profound attempts at character assassination) that what some people say is the cause of others inability to speak! As we all know, that is physically impossible on an open forum. My perception of those claims is that some folks cannot tolerate opposition to their beliefs and ideas, so demand "political correctness" and would prefer to walk off in a huff, blaming others as they leave, when opposing ideas show up. If my suspicions are correct, some of those people may have had ulterior motives (involving marketing schemes that skirt the rules) to want others silenced. When a clique of intolerant people attempt to dominate what is supposed to be an open forum, it can only be better that they are gone. Sometimes it takes time for the natural order to sort itself out and run smoothly, but inevitably, it will happen if not stopped.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Yarvaark said "My perception of those claims is that some folks cannot tolerate opposition to their beliefs and ideas, so demand "political correctness" and would prefer to walk off in a huff, blaming others as they leave, when opposing ideas show up."

While that may be true of some of the GW forums today, but I don't think it applies to the long past history of this forum. What I remember of those discussions included a lot of divergent ideas and competing concepts. I don't remember personal attacks or people that left in a huff. Many of those threads are long gone, but here is an example from 2007 ...

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/design/msg082057084534.html


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Wannabe I think you should get some grid paper and take measurements so you can draw it all to scale. Then experiment filling it in with plants and grass. Even if you don't think you are creative this will help. If you find one you like you can post it for comments. It helped me a lot when I wanted a new look for the entry way.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

Thanks. I will try that. My initial idea was the oval that Yardvaark suggested - it does look nice and clean. Since he suggested the same thing, I know that will be a good plan. But then I also liked the design with curves suggested by pls8xx. I see so many pictures of nice gardens with curves. But I can't get curves to look good on all sides of the yard, at least on paper. They end up looking squiggly and meaningless. Maybe gentler curves will look better. I started by drawing curves along the two blue lines that pls8xx drew. But then what happens on the other sides? Stuck.
I need to go buy some grid paper this weekend.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

One thing I noticed on my still unfinished project is that a foot of soil my be abundant on paper yet when I see it in reality I think "How can this be a whole foot?"(it was a foot, I measured it)


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

:)

forum wouldn't let me post just a smiley, I had to add this text!!


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

You can design your own grid paper at ....

http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/multiwidth/

The graph will be downloadable in PDF format. Print the grid or convert it to jpg and upload it to the free online photo editor at pixlr.com to do the drawing. If you use the online editor be sure to save the drawing back to your computer.


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RE: Please help me draw the lawn / bed Iines for backyard

"I need to go buy some grid paper this weekend." Yes!! Layout, to scale, all of those things that exist and will be permanent. Then with tracing paper over it you can go crazy trying out all manner of ideas for bed lines ... with no fear of failing. Or erasing. Keep the tracing paper coming. It's just brainstorming. Something will gel. Establish function first: traffic paths, views to preserve and obliterate, access, etc.

"I don't remember personal attacks or people that left in a huff." I guess I must have arrived during the period of intolerance peak then. Regarding the example you offered ("What is a focal point?") it was definitely started for the purpose of being a discussion, not a plea for design help as most of the threads are. One could always test the waters from time to time with such posts. If the subject matter is generally interesting, I think voices will chime in.


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