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front yard landscaping help

Posted by dinosaur1 5 (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 10, 12 at 12:29

https://picasaweb.google.com/pewaukeedp/March102012?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMbe0bnwsbP1WA&feat=directlink

When we bought our home over 5 yrs ago the previous owner landscaped the front yard in this way. It's a bit over 13 ft long and about 5 ft wide. The rocky soil in this area makes it really tough to grow anything. The tree soaks up all of the water so nothing will grow around it.

I need help minimizing this area. It's just too big. Should I make a ring around the lamppost and the tree and sod the area in the middle?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: front yard landscaping help

Planting Bladdernut maybe work.
Photobucket


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Looks ok, but I'm looking to change the design completely though.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

A photo from the street back toward the house showing the whole front yard and lamppost would help. The "creative department" got to your photo pretty fast.

I've got nothing against island beds, but sometimes where they're situated is the key. My bias runs towards trees bound by grass, not rings. If the grass in your photo hasn't been altered, looks like that does fine. I might be tempted to take out the bed and invest in a few rolls of sod. If you lean toward ringing things - perhaps a bed of some sort incorporating the lamp (I'm assuming this is your driveway entrance) would be more appealing.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

hmmm I wonder how I can post a pic using my iPhone?

Are you saying I should just puts ring around the lamppost and not Adium the tree? Also, why sod instead grass seed?


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RE: front yard landscaping help

I think 1000 per cent that this bed would look better divided into two separate round beds. The linear bed cutting across the yard at this angle goes with nothing around it (whereas the ends of the bed don't bother me at all.) A larger bed around the tree and a smaller one around the lamp post would make sense. I would not "ring" it with plants, but plant it solid. Edging that does not stand up higher than the grade (like the white rocks do) looks better... such as a "mowing strip."

Also, when you go to trim the tree would you rather cut off branches that are 1" diameter... or ones that are 8" diameter? I'd quickly figure out the end result you are trying to grow and begin trimming now, rather than waiting until it's difficult or costly. Surely you don't want big branches that are waist height... which is what this tree has in mind.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

I think it would be good to understand for sure what really prevents things from growing well, and what you might consider to be a "good" landscape. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "minimize."

There are plants that prefer poor rocky soil... is the grass really doing OK or is it a bit patchy?

Karin L


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RE: front yard landscaping help

https://picasaweb.google.com/pewaukeedp/March10201202?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCPH-9O-sutu14gE&feat=directlink

here is another angle from an older picture.
Yardvaark, I'm not sure what you mean by the edging and the white rocks. Sorry you completely lost me there.
But you are saying that I should make the diameter of the ring around the tree larger than the diameter of the ring around the lamppost?


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grass seed?

karinl
by minimize I mean this area is too large for what can grow in it...which is hardly anything. I want to minimize the landscaping are to focus on what "can" grow there.

Do I plant grass seed in the middle then?


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RE: front yard landscaping help

See those white paper bags wadded up and placed around the tree by the street? They don't look good. Oh, I'm sorry, those are white rocks! They still don't look good. (Take my sarcasm with a grain of salt. I'm just trying to make a point.) The edging that is presently around the bed in question does not look that bad. I'm just saying that the closer to flush with grade it is (as opposed to sticking up out of the ground) the better it tends to look.

The tree is a much larger object than the lamp post and deserves a larger bed than the lamp post. Also, the placement indicates the same.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Yardvaark check out my other pic. I have those white rocks all around my home. Are you saying I should get rid of the pavers completely?

When goes in between the tree and the lamppost then....grass seed?


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RE: front yard landscaping white rocks

between tree and lamp post, just grass.

I'm saying that the edging you currently have around the bed does not look bad (because it's set very low and because it's not glaring.) The white rocks on the other hand look like very carefully selected and placed litter to me. Not that there's not merit in that.


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You plan to change the bed shape.designers do it are defficult with 2d software.I try to do it with 3d software.but you must be clear your allover targets are curb appeal,some privacy and Sustainable Ecology.I add some rose,azaleas,sweet william,Acanthopanax...maybe they work.
Photobucket


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Yardvaark and anyone else who can help...
I added a bunch of more photos in the album. Pleae take a look at them.

Should I completely remove the white rocks around the house as well? They are white limestone rocks. That's going to be a pain in the you know what...unless someone can come haul them away.
What should I replace them with....the pavers that I have now?

Also, can anyone identify the red spring flower? I want to buy more of them, but I do not know what it is. The previous owner planted them.

So how much bigger of a circle should I make around the tree than around the lamppost?

designoline6
thanks for the picture, but all of that just looks too busy. Can you make me one with just the 2 rings aorund the tree and lamppost as Yardvaark described with no flowers or shrubs?

Here is a link that might be useful: Yard pics


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Personally, I think your yard would look better without the rocks but, of course, do as you like with them. I think the standard trench edge is far better looking. There is no material cost, just labor... where mulch meets grass in a clean line. Also good looking is the mowing strip made of brick or pavers as I've already shown.

A general guide to size of the beds... at tree, 6-8'; @ lamp post, 2-4'. Mark these variable on the ground in some way, view them from different perspectives and make your decision based on what you see in real life, not words or diagrams.

Red flower is tulip. They are bulbs planted in the fall. Usually, they do not last over the long term and must be re-planted.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

yardvaark

Thanks. Now my only other concern is how it will look in the middle between the rings after the grass seed is placed. Not sure if I should hire a pro to seed it properly. The grass on our yard now is considered Sod....so wouldn't that look weird? Sod for th entire yard and grass seed between the rings?

I also found free rings that you can buy. Good idea?


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Seed is grass that hasn't been born. Sod is the same grass already growing and therefor is an "instant" result. Neither term specifies the species of grass it is. Depending on your location, there can be several species to choose from. Match the species you already have. Get local advice if not sure since it'll be difficult to identify from the picture.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Dino, I can't open your album at all now for some reason.

What you do here depends as much on personal style as it does on what will grow. For example, one thing you could do is get rid of the grass entirely in this area and make a spread of gravel or river rock with some larger boulders and just a few accent plants of the sort that like those arid growing conditions. I do not know what plants those are that are hardy for zone 5, mind you, but I'm sure there are some.

Here are some examples to give you the general idea of what I mean (from a Google image search for "gravel bed".
http://www.portersgarden.hampshire.org.uk/news.html
http://www.blooming-good-gardens.co.uk/index_files/monoliths.htm
http://www.onlinegravel.co.uk/gravel-gallery.htm

Another option would be to carpet the whole area with low-growing junipers - again, no grass. (Not the spiky or arching junipers, the really low ones). The base for the junipers could be either gravel or mulch. Eventually, they will form a solid carpet.

Here are just a couple of images from a Google image search for "carpet of junpiers."
http://www.sungardensinc.com/Southwest-Vines-and-Ground-Covers.html
http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2006/06/index.html

Both of these ideas could be done with enough consideration for the trees they that they would survive.

You could begin your planning by asking for advice about this kind of growing condition at your local nursery. They might advise you about what plant options you have to work with. That might give you some ideas. But I would bet junipers are one option. I think it would be my personal favourite. But that's partly because I don't like rings around things - lanterns, trees, houses - at all.

With either of these options, stone edging (separating it from the grass part of your yard) would look quite natural. In this case it would have to be high enough to keep gravel out of the grass.

Edging material, if you use it, is a matter of taste. The distance view, the near view, cost, ease of installation, and the ease of mowing around them all have to be considered. Not everyone likes mowing strips, and the tree rings may look tacky after a while. The option that perhaps almost everyone likes is bricks laid in the ground flush with the grass, but that is a bit of work.

I strongly agree with Yardvaark that you should begin to shape that tree now. Depending on what kind it is, it may be best to do this in fall, but start thinking about what eventual shape you want it to have.

Karin L
PS you have to consider falling leaves in your planning. They'd have to be blown off, probably, in either case. If you do gravel, it should be larger river rock without landscape fabric underneath, so that bits of leaves can fall through and decompose.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

karinl try the link again, works for me..

By shaping the tree do you mean cutting the branches completely off towards the bottom and trimming towards the middle?

So if I have 2 rings your saying put river rock in the middle instead of sod?


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Tree circles.
Sit down, Dinosaur. This may come as a shocking revelation.
Tree circles in human yards are part of an alien scheme ...

Don Engebretson, a national speaker, landscape designer and plantsman, tends to put things in his own way. His website is RenegadeGardener.com. Lots of cool stuff there for everyone, but especially for northern gardeners. I don't agree with everything he says, but it's a great resource.

And he does have very definite opinions about tree circles. The article I've linked is very sarcastic, wickedly pointed, and very clear about his basic objections to the usual outcome when people decide to put "tutus" around their trees.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Astonishing Truth Behind Tree Circles


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RE: front yard landscaping help

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 12, 12 at 3:09

I've never understood the appeal of such tree rings myself, I prefer the look of a one foot clear ring of simple mulch without the stone or flush masonry.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

"designoline6
thanks for the picture, but all of that just looks too busy. Can you make me one with just the 2 rings aorund the tree and lamppost as Yardvaark described with no flowers or shrubs?"
Yardvaark can help you.He posted many pics I like.
I perfer some busy plants.it give me flourish and Sustainable Ecology and privacy feeling.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Maybe you inadvertently changed your privacy settings - I still can't open your page. Fortunately others have posted your pictures directly - perhaps you could try that.

No, a tree ring was not part of my ideas. Whatever you do can be done up to, or close to, the tree and lantern.

Regarding the tree, I can't see it that well, but my concern would be what Yardvaark said - no big branches at face level, and if it is developing twin leaders, I wonder if one should be removed. If you don't know what to do, it shouldn't cost too much to get an arborist to do it for you.

Karin L


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Since the article about "tree circles" was referenced, it occurs to me that part of this conversation might involve loose terminology. I don't think I've ever seen a tree "ring" that I liked. However, I don't consider a solid bed of anything surrounding a tree to be a "ring" or "circle." Looking at the 2 photos below, I think they are day and night difference in what they are, how they look and what they communicate. I think that anything resembling the configuration on the left is unsightly and not worth doing. I have no issue with the planting on the right. By the same token, edging just about anything with a skinny little line (which is as common as water) looks bad. While planting a solid bed of just about anything generally looks good. (Or much better, given the two choices.) I will say that when creating a solid bed, it usually looks better if it's in some kind of decently proportionate scale with what it's framing or supporting. If too small, it tends to look cheaper.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

So I guess I'm confused. Is the decision to keep the design that I have and plant bladdernut's? Or change the design entirely?


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Dino, you see that not everyone offering advice in this thread is urging you to go in the same direction. After evaluating the various arguments in favor of this or that, the decision on which way to go is yours. If you like the design you have, you probably wouldn't have created the thread. So, based on suggestions received, you can try and visualize how they might look in real life. If I were you, I'd mark out some of the ideas on the ground and appraise them from various positions, trying to get a feel for how they might actually look. It should help give you a sense of the direction you should go. If you don't understand something specific about a suggestion or run into snags along the way in trying to implement it (them), you could ask for clarification. But you have to make the call on what direction you take.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Honestly...I do not like the fact this a huge space where nothing can grow. I have 3 flower carpet roses that grow in he middle, but they are so weak because the tree takes all of the water. I have knockout roses around the lamppost. I also have sall hostas growing around the edges.

Since I don't have that much knowledge to know how to fix this problem I would rather make this area smaller and look more attractive with what CAN grow there. Just need some help and ideas.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Dino, we can only help to the extent that you answer questions and give some response to what people suggest. To be honest, on all your threads you are always a bit indirect, you don't answer direct questions or respond to ideas, and you don't tell us much about the look or the amount of work you are interested in. It is kind of hard to give you a clear answer without clear information. There is no single right answer, there are many answers that could be right, depending on who you are as a gardener and homeowner. That is what we need to learn in your threads, as well as about the conditions.

I do not yet know, for example, whether any grass grows well anywhere in this area or not, or if you are just talking about IN the flowerbed. In addition, I still can't see your photos so am relying on the one that yardvaark posted. I have seen your album before so I know there is not a problem with my computer.

So I can only tell you what I would do if it were my yard based on the limited amount I know now. I would shape the bed based on wherever your grass does not grow well. I would try to make it an attractive shape, which the current one is NOT.

And if I were you I think I would grow junipers. Flat, carpet junipers, probably all one kind. Mulch for now to kill the grass, and let the junipers eventually cover the mulch.

And if that is too boring, I would add a couple of really good-sized boulders. It would be fairly easy to get one really big one or a few smaller delivered to this area.

Flowers could be added with some annuals in summer in the ground or in containers. Containers could be nice focal points instead of boulders.

Karin L


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Shape

karinl

Sorry I can only respond with the little knowledge that I do have. What shape would you recommend?


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Ok I want to start doing this project and I want to do it right, what should be the first thing that I do? I have the white limestone rocks all around my house and along the 11 blue spruce trees in my backyard that face a busy street. Since everyone is saying these are ugly...should I get rid of these 1st? What should I put in their place? Nothing at all?


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Can you draw a plan view of your lot showing approximately where the grass grows well and where it does not?

Once I know that, I or someone else can better recommend a shape.

I think you have shown a satellite view of your lot before. If that is in your album, can you check your album settings and link to allow me to get access to it? If you can draw on that, or describe the grass growth pattern, that would help.

I remember the limestone around the back, and I kind of like it and you must too, or you wouldn't have it. Sometimes it would look better just arranged differently. Let's see if you can make your pictures accessible, and see where we go from there.

Karin


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RE: front yard landscaping help

karinl

the grass grows just fine everywhere.

try this link.

Here is a link that might be useful: pics


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pictures

karinl, try this one

Here is a link that might be useful: yard


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RE: front yard landscaping help

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 18, 12 at 4:23

It does look like the first photo of that long bed centered on the tree and lampost seems to shoe that the existing grass does grow well enough in close proximity to the trunk, so the bed could shrink or go away entirely and be switched back to grass. My personal opinion on flower beds is that they make more visual sense if the border the house or pavement edges such as the drive sway or entry walk. Located away from the tree's roots and presumed deep shade may also be easier to get shrubs and/or flowering perennials grow better.

As the advice you'll get on line will vary greatly, it is your ultimate decision to evaluate the replies and select a solution that makes the most sense for you.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

The answer to the question about the grass does indeed allow the option of making the whole area grass - removing the bed altogether - to be put on the table. Skip the tree circles, which are kind of tacky, and you could just let grass grow right up to the trunk and to the lantern.

But also, if grass grows outside of where the bed is now, it means other plants might too. I think I would make a squarish bed that matches the shape of that part of the front yard. What you've done so far with bed shapes is to assume that the two items - the tree and the lamp - have to basically define the shape, but I think you have to free yourself up and the let the bed shape be something completely different - an approximate triangle or square.

It is a lot easier to let a bed like that come right to the sidewalk or driveway, as that becomes your edging, but it might look nicer to leave an apron of grass around the outside.

I would not edge this big a bed with limestone. I think it looks nice where you have it so far, but for a bigger bed it would be too much. If you do need an edge, try a trench edge that you cut with a flat spade.

As to the right things to grow in such a bed, that will change over time as the tree grows. You might get enough sun now for some things, but that may change in a few years. Siberian cypress, also called Microbiota, might do well now and continue to do OK once the tree grows up. Junipers might do well for quite a while too depending on the sun direction and the shape of the tree canopy (they tend to need more sun). Plant these shrubs further away from the tree trunk to give their roots a better chance to get established, and let them spread toward the tree.

Other than that you are looking for shrubs or perennials that are somewhat drought tolerant and like part sun - not full sun, not full shade. One of the toughest plants for these kinds of conditions are hellebores, and also, many ferns in the Dryopteris family. Many hostas are also amazingly tough, but not all of them. Go to a nursery where the staff know their plants, and talk to people there.

By the way I can see your pictures again, and that helped, thank you.


Karin L


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Karinl. I have 4 knockout roses around the lamppost so I would want to leave those there. Would it be better to hire a pro to grow the grass there for me? My entire lawn is sod. That's what the previous owner did.

As far as the design it sounds like I should make something towards the driveway.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Karinl. What should I do with the white rocks around my home and in my front yard? Remove all of them from my front yard and place them in the back? Or I can try and sell them....but for how much? I could take another pic of the house in the front.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

More pictures would be good, looking at the house and looking from the house at the yard, but what would also be useful is a plan view of your property, with a scale outline of the lot, including the shape of the driveway and the house. This will allow you to scribble out different options for bed design, and also allow others to make suggestions for bed shapes.

I did not say you should get rid of the white rocks. Do you like them?

Regarding the sod, are you saying you want a change from grass, or that you want more of it but don't know how to grow it?

Karin L


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RE: front yard landscaping help

I like the white rocks. Although others posted that my yard would look better without them.

As far as the sod I would want to make the are smaller and put down sod or grass seed around the tree, etc..... The original owner put sod down for the entire yard.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

The point of your landscaping is that you should be happy with it. People often ask questions on the forum if they don't know how to achieve a certain look, or need some ideas, or what might look good to outside people, but no one can tell you what is right or wrong. If you like the rocks, you should keep them. I think they look particularly good with the spruces, since the area under trees like that is often ill-defined and dark and dull and looks messy.

Also, there is nothing wrong with your plan to just make smaller beds around the lamp and the tree, except that the closer you are to the tree, the harder it is going to be to grow things, always. There is no logical reason to put a planting bed at that tree at all - or at the lantern for that matter. It is just what most people do because they can't think of anything else.

Maybe if you want more garden you can make a bed somewhere else in the yard. If you don't want more garden space, then just making it all grass is OK. If you make the bed close to the tree, whether it is round or square, it will always be hard to grow things.

Make that plan view diagram, and post it, and perhaps other people will offer some other ideas.

Karin L


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Sod is quick - but you do have to water it until it really takes (and beyond) just as you would seed. The usual venues - garden centers, seasonal garden centers that crop up in parking lots, etc. usually have sod cut in 2'x5' rolls. (Professionals who sod yards deal in bigger rolls.) But these are easy to handle and not expensive and you certainly don't need a pro to lay a few rolls of sod - even with a little piecing here and there.

Whether you sod or seed you'll have to take up the edging on that front bed. I don't know what bothers me about that other than the maxi-pad shape. So many things are personal preferences - if you like the rings, keep the rings. But to be a bit of a contrarian, I can't for the life of me see the use for the little ring around the tree in the boulevard. It's just one more thing to grass whip or hand clip around.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

duluthinbloomz4

Your right about the maxi pad. Lol. What shape would you recommend ? That's where I need help.


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Yard

here are some more front yard pics. Should I totally get rid of the white rocks....? What shape should I make the bed? I used to have it look sort of like a doggy bone in way with half circles around the tree and lamppost and then it was extended out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Front Yard pics


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Here is a tracing I did of your lot from the overhead photo, this is what I meant by a plan view. I hope the lines show up. I haven't drawn anything on it yet, this way it is a template for anyone else who wants to give it a shot. Is this about right?

I think if I had this yard I would put a bed in the open area of your yard on the side of the tree away from the driveway, where you have lots of open space and the soil might be better, extending as far into the side yard as you like. It depends on how much stuff you want to grow. Or does that part get used for soccer?

The curve of your sidewalk is nice and you could maybe replicate that in larger, or something to that effect. But I would not do a stone or paver edge on this one, since the bed shape need not be emphasized... if you put a nice selection of shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous, the plant material will get the attention.

Karin L

Photobucket


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RE: front yard landscaping help

I live in a development in Austin, and everyone re-mulches around their trees in the sping with the mulch almost a foot high. I understand the mulching, but why so much? I've let grass grow around the trees, and all survived the drought w/o the pile of mulch. My thinking is, if a tree is established, is it necessary to mulch, especially to such a degree? Just my 2 cents, but I don't care for 'tree borders' either.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

I have made a decision.
I would like landscape geared towards low maintenance through liberal use of stone products.


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RE: front yard landscaping help


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RE: front yard landscaping help

I just did an image search for "boulders in gardens" and what strikes me about those pictures is that a variety of sizes of rock are always used. Also, the distribution tends to be more random. The place I think your rocks are not looking good is where they are spaced apart regularly, nearest the front door for instance.

I think you could get some bigger rocks to add to those spaced ones, and create some really nice stone arrangements in those beds near the house, and maybe get rid of the maxi-pad bed altogether, just grass it over. It simply doesn't fit with anything, and it has no discernible purpose, especially if you can't find plants that will do well there.

If you want to add a bed anywhere, I don't know if you could do it in that huge blank area opposite the driveway (the soccer net on the side of the house suggests you might have soccer players who use that area?).

It is hard to use stone artistically on flat ground. Adding the word "flat" to the image search brought up this website with some good pictures of the use of rock: http://www.stevesnedeker.com/category/rocksboulders

But even though I prefer Yardvaark's picture to what you have now, I would just leave the tree to just grow out of grass, it will look best that way I think - and that will be the easiest to maintain, especially in the long run.

Karin L

Here is a link that might be useful: Google image search


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Here's an image from the blog I posted above. It's quite entertaining and informative if you like rocks - and I have to admit I do. Note the different sizes of rock, and also the varying shapes (in this and other images).

Mind you in my climate this would be hard to maintain if trees are around, because our fallen leaves are almost always wet (sigh). But with dry days and a good shop vac, in a drier climate it wouldn't be so bad.

Karin L

Photobucket


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Karin L

I am actually to remove all of the white limestone rocks all together. I started to do that already. I may just do what your suggesting. Remove the front yard landscaping and just add grass seed....or should I add sod. The previous owner added sod 7 yrs ago so I don't know how the grass will look ultimately. I can move the knockout and flower carpet roses in a different area of our home. on the side or on the back.


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roses?

If I choose to completely remove the front yard landscaping is it safe to dig out and replant the knockout and flower carpet roses now? Our temps have been in the 70's lately but they will be going down to the 50's and 60's during the day and 40's at night. Should I wait until April?


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pavers

I also have the nice looking brown pavers. After I remove this area of my front yard where would be the best place to add these pavers? I don't want to completely get rid of them.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

I do not have an opinion on sod vs seed as I don't know your needs. It can be hard to get small quantities of sod - often it can only be bought by the pallet. But if you can get just the few rolls you need, why not. On the other hand, seed is certainly easier to buy and haul home. You can overseed sod, if that is what your question is wondering.

No idea what plant removal advice to give in your climate, sorry. And maybe you could use the pavers to edge a different bed where you are removing your limestone. If they are next to grass, if you sink them in a little they would serve as a mowing strip, where the mower wheel can ride on.

Karin L


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RE: front yard landscaping help

I removed all of the white rocks in my front yard as well from around the house. I have to say I like it like this much better.

I am still working on ideas on what to do with the area by my lamppost and tree. As you will see in the picture the hostas that grow around the perimetere are starting to come up. I also have 3 knockout roses around the lamppost and 3 flower carpet roses in the middle.

Anyhow I am trying to figure out how to arrange the pavers here so it looks better. I may or may not have to put some grass seed down afterwards.

Here is a link that might be useful: new pic


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RE: front yard landscaping help

@Yardvaark would you recommend I plant grass seed here in the middle between the rings? What size ring around the tree vs around the lamppost? Should I buy tree rings at the big box store to place underneath as assistance?


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RE: front yard landscaping help

@Yardvaark how should I trim the trees? Eliminate the branches from the bottom completely?


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RE: front yard landscaping help

The April 28 post includes a link for "new picture," however, the link doesn't show it. It's always better to put the pictures directly into the thread.

In an earlier picture I made, the planting below the post looks to me to be about 4' dia. and around the tree, at least 6' dia. Either could grow a little larger so long as the overall front yard picture looks balanced. If by "ring" you mean edging that sticks up above grade (as like from a big box store,) I'd say don't do it. A simple, precise circle trench edge would look better. If you mean something like a brick mowing strip installed flush with the lawn, that seems fine. Things that stick up above grade are prone to adding a junky quality to the picture.

The goal in adding grass back between the tree and lamp post is to MATCH what is already there as closely as possible. If it's available in sod, that would be the fastest, best match. If it can be seeded that's acceptable, but it should be same type of grass.

Since trees are in front yard and one presumes you wish your house to be appreciated by passersby, then create a view to it below the tree canopy. If the trees are not large enough to create it now, as it seems is the case, then begin working toward it now. It's different from scene to scene, but let's say in a hypothetical example, to complete a scene without low-hanging foliage obstructing the house requires that no foliage exist in the first 9' above grade. Let's say the tree is only 10' ht. Obviously, one could not remove 9' of branches and allow the uppermost foot of them to remain. The general rule I offer is to remove foliage/branches (entirely) to 50% of the trees ht., in this case 5'. In fact, removing this foliage boosts growth at the top of the tree as well. If one does this before the Spring flush of growth, the vast majority of it will be returned (to somewhere else on the tree) almost immediately (a few weeks.) It's likely that by summer's end, there would be branches between 4' and 13' ht. (A reasonable height a 10' tree might reach after a summer's growth.) This is because the lower branches get heavier and hang lower as they grow. What seemed in the Spring to be a drastic pruning, at end of summer seems to have created a perfectly-normal-clear-trunk to overall-tree-ht. relationship. Next year (if it's 13' height) the tree would be limbed up to 6.5' clear trunk. Possibly the following year, the 9' clear trunk goal may be reached.... without needing to remove any large, overgrown limbs in the process (which is usually how it goes for those who wait too long before doing this work.)


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@Yardvaark the main reason I'm concerned about grass seed or sod is because my young son constantly plays with his friends close to this area. Balls bouncing here, kids running around, etc.... I really would like to do the tree circles, but I also do not want a big patch if soil in the middle until I figure out what to do.


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Either will work.


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@yardvaark will kids constantly running on it?


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@Yardvaark

What about this idea?
Maybe some sort of mulch path between the edgers? With a contrasting look to the mulch around the tree/lamp?


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I vote no. It will look busy and junky and be added maintenance.


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@Yardvaark river rock instead of sod between the tree and lamppost? Edgers and mulch around the tree by the street?


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I think we're starting to re-hash things that I've long ago counseled against. Please review my earlier posts.


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Closeups


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closeup

1 more


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@Yardvaark

I like the idea of 2 rings and river rock in the middle. I just need an idea of how to design the area where the river rock will be. Plus I need to add some type of edging around it. What do you think?


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@Yardvaark Here is why I'm opposed to grass between the beds. Placing sod may or may not work and may or may not look like the grass that I have now. If it doesn't work I will have to use grass seed which takes a long time to grow. I need something faster because kids are constantly running around this area. That is why I thought river rock or mississippi rock would look good between the two round beds instead. I just need to know how wide to make it and the design.


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[IMG]http://i1327.photobucket.com/albums/u666/dplav1/LandscapeRiverRock_zpsa1b1c01b.jpg[/IMG]
I really like this design. All I would have to do it move in the pavers in the middle. What do you think @Yardvaark?


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There's a way to make links clickable by entering them below where you enter your message, or better yet, post the picture directly into the thread. The link you posted doesn't work. Aside from that, if you like something and that's what you want to do, then go ahead and do it. You don't need anyone's approval. If what you do is not in good taste, then don't tell about or show it here, and you won't have to suffer the castigation.


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Here we go


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@Yardvaark

All I'm saying is that instead.of playing the risk game with sod why not lay down river rock in the middle? Just thinking how wide to make it.


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Risk ... with sod ... ? That's what professional sports fields are made of and they seem to take it pretty well. Children are not going to be playing in anything like the above. In my mind, the tree and the lamp post do not justify being connected into a large island yard ornament as in the above photo. But by all means, if you like it, go ahead and do it. I can't help you figure out the width or shape of something that--at least to me--does not belong.


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If you don't know the type of grass you have then dig a small piece out that would look like a small piece of sod and bring it when shopping for sod that way they can tell you what you have.

I agree with Yardvaark that it would look best with grass there.

If your kids are playing in that area then sod really would be the best option. River rocks are hard to walk/run on, will make a ball bounce further and unpredictable. Also would look weird.

This post was edited by lyfia on Fri, Jun 7, 13 at 9:56


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@lyfia I agree, but I never played down sod and don't know how to prep the area for it.


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Lots of info on that if you google.

In my area not much seems to be done other than lay it out.


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Before laying it out you don't prep the soil at all?


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@lyfia do you know what would look even more weird? A big patch of grass in my front lawn that isn't growing right.


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Well do as I suggested and google it. Seems like then you can decide what you need to do better.

Around here as long as people water they seem to have grass growing and we are in the deep south where it is hot and often very dry. I've never laid sod or grown grass other than dig some up with a showel under it and put it down in another location. Guess kind of like sod. I just watered and it grew. I did no prep either.

A pile of rocks that doesn't have any other point of reference or fitting in a landscape with any other rocks would look weird compared to a patch of grass that isn't growing right. Looks from your pic that you already have a little round brown spot that isn't growing right either if you want to be picky. Growing anything takes some time and water.


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@lyfia this is what I was thinking, and in between the rings I would add river rock...


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here how the existing bed looks towards our home.


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I think it would look really odd, but as long as you like it I guess that is all that matters. Not my cup of tea.


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@lyfia the other idea that I had was to make the lamppost semi circle much smaller, make the middle narrower and leave the tree semi circle as is.


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I think I like the idea of one continuous bed like I have, but, perhaps with a little more of dramatic curvature to it. The current bed looks a little like a race track oval. Maybe a little more of a kidney bean shape would be more attractive?


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RE: front yard landscaping help

@Yardvaark from your earlier statement, "The linear bed cutting across the yard at this angle goes with nothing around it (whereas the ends of the bed don't bother me at all.)"

I posted a new pic above towards the house. Does that change anything on our original statement?


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@karinl
"one thing you could do is get rid of the grass entirely in this area and make a spread of gravel or river rock with some larger boulders and just a few accent plants of the sort that like those arid growing conditions"

sod is my first choice, but I never laid it down....not knowing the outcome afterwards. After looking at some pics I am opposed to river rock in the middle.


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The recent photo doesn't change my opinion about what should be done. Since the thread is more than a year old and the bed is for all practical purposes, unchanged, maybe it's time to make your best call and turn it into action ... or decide to do nothing and let it go.


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@Yardvaark, would you lean more towards sod or grass seed,If grass seed what kind? I'm working on this today and I'll post pictures later of the changes.


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Yes, I would lean more towards sod or seed ... whatever works best for you, your capabilities, resources and desires. What kind? ... the kind that matches what you have. You'll need to figure out some things locally. Good luck.


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I understand the local part, but what I was asking is the company name of grass seed for example. I see that Scott's has a PatchMaster, etc...that has all in one.


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Picture 1


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@Yardvaark hope u like it...


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Pic 2


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Pic 3


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Dino - don't do things to please Yardvaark. Please yourself since you're the one living with and looking at your endeavors.

If that application has seed, just make sure to water, water, and water.


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I'm pleased anyway. That you finally did it and because it looks better. Well, it will look better as soon as the grass grows in. It would look even better if there was a single species of plant at each circle and there were more of them, but as DIB says, please yourself.


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How often should I water it. Sprinkler or no?


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Put some more topsoil around the pavers.


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Shouldn't be allowed to dry out - seeds and new sprouts should be kept moist (but not constantly sodden and puddled). Use your judgment, and the internet for tips on watering newly seeded areas.


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I am going to water it daily maybe around 2 times.


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I am going to water it daily maybe around 2 times.


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@Yardvaark I never do something because someone "told me so", but because I value the fact that they are trying to assist me in making my yard look better. Just like when you take your car in to a pro for service vs throwing parts at the engine hoping it will fix the issue.


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That is as I believed all along.


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Were supposed to get some strong storms with high winds tomorrow afternoon. I still have the straw over the grass seed. what to do if it all blows away?[


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The main point of the straw is to help conserve moisture. If you are watering twice a day like you said, you may not need it. Or go back and add some more straw if that makes you comfortable.


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How long should I wait until adding more grass seed in the bare spots? Originally I added seed everywhere, but its not filling in. It has only been 2 weeks though.


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More pics


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Wait at least another week. I see a green haze so it's coming.


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I wanted to post some results for the grass seed that I tried to add in this area. The grass grew for about 1 month and a half, but then stopped.....any help on what to do next is appreciated. I was thinking of adding EZ Seed and watering it daily, but it has been very dry in our area. Watering the original grass seed that I added proved unsuccessful.


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more pics


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The grass does not look dead, but "dormant" from being allowed to go too long between waterings. I would still give it daily water for at least two weeks. If it shows signs of greening, back off on the water to about every other day and keep it up for a couple more weeks. But then, don't go too long between waterings. It's still young, non-established grass.


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@Yardvaark how long should I water it. Once in a while I'll put my sprinkler there for 5-10 minutes. Other times I will just use the hose for 2-3 minutes. What about the bare spots? Should I add some Scott's EZ seed in those areas now or in the fall?


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watering

@Yardvaark how long should I water it. Once in a while I'll put my sprinkler there for 5-10 minutes. Other times I will just use the hose for 2-3 minutes. What about the bare spots? Should I add some Scott's EZ seed in those areas now or in the fall?


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There's a fair amount of difference in how much water various implements put out. Rather than measuring time, you should water until you're sure it's drenched. If you were to dig down 6", all the soil should be moist. If you check it a time or two, then you'll know how long to apply the water. To bring it back to green and get it to establish, you need to give it much more water than it would ordinarily receive. Once it greens, still be generous with water and don't let it get too dry between waterings.


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@Yardvaark. Believe me I drenched this area for a month straight. Something else is going on. I will water it twice daily and go from there. If that fails is EZ seed in the fall my next step?


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I wish believing you were that easy, but I'm frequently faced with people who claim they did such-and-such, when upon finer examination, it is apparent they are not doing as they think. That's why I said to dig down and check to make certain that you are doing as you think. We can see that grass once grew. It is SOOOOOOO common for homeowners to start new grass, get it up and running (green) ... and then start taking care of it like the rest of their lawn because it looks the same. In fact, the rest of the lawn is established with deep roots. But the new grass is a tender baby without any deep roots. It will die quickly if it goes too long without water while the grass surrounding it will look fine. If here and now, the new grass actually died, it will not come back and will need to be re-started from new seed. If it NEARLY died -- just brown, but not 100% croaked -- then there is the possibility that regular waterings applied immediately and consistently might save it's little infant life. If it can return to green, then it would STILL need babying with extra water until the winter comes.


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@Yardvaark. Scroll all the way up and check out when I originally started this thread. There's no reason that I would lie about something I worked so hard to achieve.


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Whoever has suggested you're lying?? Not me!! But when amateurs describe things and draw conclusions, often they are not correct, or inadequate. So you may think your grass is getting wet to its roots ... but if you don't DIG DOWN AND CHECK, you will not know for certain. You'll just be guessing. And if you knew for certain, you would not need to ask how much time to water. I am not accusing you of anything. Just suggesting you need to check your own work to make certain.


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@Yatdvaark

I normally am able to water at noon and 6pm. Good or bad?


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it is fine.


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@Yardvaark should I add Scott's EZ Seed and aerate in early Sept or pass on that and just keep on watering and wait until Spring to do all of that?


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Keep watering to find out what you can achieve by early Sept. and make the decision then. If it looks promising, keep what you have. If it looks not good, then move on to your next back-up plan.


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@Yardvaark here is how it looks after watering constantly a few days. As you can tell its very dry around here. Check out the surrounding lawn.


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It is only the evening of Aug 17 that you agreed to begin watering again 2 x day. The above picture is only 3 days later! Surely you cannot expect a turnaround result in that short of a time. Growth -- especially from less than happy conditions -- takes longer. I wouldn't expect to see the beginning of change for a couple of weeks and then you must continue (at a SLIGHTLY reduced rate) for some time (weeks) thereafter. If you see a little more green on September 2, then you can be reassured that the additional watering has helped. If you see more green and think that it's a good sign to stop watering, it indicates why the green grass would have turned brown in the first place.


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@YardVaark, the temps here are in the 70's mainly, but in a few weeks they are dipping down to the 50's. Should I add grass seed now and continue watering?

I see more green now.


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Good to hear that it's greening. If it is sparse and needs seed added, go ahead and add it according to rate stated on the label directions (or standard directions for that type grass.) With adding new seed, you will need to water and care for the area as you would for any newly seeded bed. Do not cut off the watering before the grass roots have established sufficiently to support the top of the plant. Even next year, this area will need some additional water, as compared to the established grass around it.


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Temps will be in the 80's next week looks like. In 2 weeks they will be in the 50's. How long do I water? Until the grass is established? Even in the 50's?


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Temps will be in the 80's next week looks like. In 2 weeks they will be in the 50's. How long do I water? Until the grass is established? Even in the 50's?


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No one can tell you how long because it depends on fluctuating factors. When cold temps come, it's likely water will not disappear from soil so quickly, lessening the job of watering. But if long time passes with no rain and soil does get dry, the human must step forward and add water. It means getting down on hands and knees, digging, and checking periodically. Close observation will offer tell-tale signs of when water is needed, so it's a matter of putting in more effort until more experience is gained. If the area doesn't suffer from water shortage when next year's hot weather comes, by the end of the summer it will become just like the rest of the lawn.


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@Yardvaark

What do you think? Would you like any closer pics? Should I double stack the brick pavers or leave them close to the ground like they are now?
http://i.imgur.com/0RbAmDx.jpg


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@Yardvaark

More pics.
http://i.imgur.com/HMCzFvD.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/PNSW7De.jpg


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That looks MUCH better than the hot dog shaped bed. You just need to grow those plants in the circle into something lush so it will look finished.

You REALLY need to remove some lower limbs on the tree.


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@Yardvaark

Please give me an idea of how many limbs to remove and how high. As far as the growth of the shrubs....that tree soaks up all of the water so it's VERY hard.


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You also have to remember here in WI things just started growing. We just got temps is the 60's a few weeks ago.


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I bought some Spirea shrubs tonight, should I try to plant them by the tree or leave what I have?


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I would use what you already have. Increase it. And make it happy.


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Ok....so I need to buy more hostas. What about the tree limbs?


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@Yardvaark

How high should I cut the limbs?


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Remove limbs up to, but not higher than, 50% of the tree's overall height. The goal should be to produce an overhead canopy, not an in-your-face wall raised off the ground. Waiting too long to remove branches only makes the job more difficult and increases the chances that the tree will have an artistically misshapen trunk structure.


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@Yardvaark.
I always thought that as long as I could walk underneath the tree all is well..


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Even if that were correct, you couldn't possibly walk under that tree unless you are only 40" tall.


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I'm 5'8 and I walk around it without an issue. 40'-wow you are way off.


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Not to dwell on it, but "around it" is different than below it. No claim can be proven on a forum without clear, indisputable evidence. ("Trust but verify") To demonstrate your point, submit a picture of an adult standing erect next to the tree with their head no farther than 6" away from the trunk. (Their face does not need to show.) When seen, it will believed.

Post the picture directly into the thread, not a link. Take it from the same vantage point as this picture.

If you don't want to trim the tree ... don't. There will be a consequence for no one but yourself.


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I will NOT post pics of people on here. Bottom line. I'll find a gardening tool that is as tall as me or taller and I'll post a pic of that.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

To use a tool of an unknown length would demonstrate nothing. If you cover your face, you would be unidentifiable. (Be covered elsewhere, too!) Or stand a standard brick, concrete block or gallon milk jug next to the trunk as these are items of known length.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

I'll do you one better. I'll post a pic of the tool next to a tape measure.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Yardvaark, I do thank you for your efforts in the past in making my yard look better. I owe you an apology. After reading your post the trunks are lower in the "middle" than when I walk around the tree. In all fairness though I still the tree looks just fine and I'm not about to prune some huge branches off of it I don't know what else that might do in the longrun to the tree. Maybe nothing, but I'm not an expert either....as you know.

PS- as far as hiding my face goes. Let's just put it this way. Been married 15 years and my wife hates that women still hit on me. Lol


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RE: front yard landscaping help

"and my wife hates that women still hit on me.

Tell her not to worry. I was hot once, too. It will come to an end.

As far as pruning off branches when they are young and small, as for any aging, the price will be paid later.


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RE: front yard landscaping help

Oh not to worry Yaardvark, beauty is from within...:)


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