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2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Posted by dizzytrist 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 18, 10 at 22:42

Hi! We have redone our front yard with two retaining walls, but we still have a way to go with landscaping (although we are thrilled to have some grass now!). On the upper wall, my husband wants something to sort of sit in front of the wall because he is obsessed with its imperfections. I was thinking of alternating a dwarfish tree with a shrub until the point where the wall gets shorter and then just put 2 or 3 of the shrubs in front of that part. I don't know what would look good. I think something evergreen and taller than the shrubbery would look good. As far as the bottom wall... any ideas? Maybe a landscape line that curves in and out from the wall?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

What it looked like before:
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The two walls kind of curve back into the land on the one side.

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 19, 10 at 6:58

Where on the planet do they design and site houses like that?


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Will think on this awhile. But, first thing that caught my eye is the fire hydrant. The usual rule is that nothing but mown grass is allowed within a certain number of feet around a hydrant. Check your fire code before planting.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

laag,

... in the mountains of East Tennessee!!


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by rhodium New England Z6 (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 19, 10 at 13:19

What's done is done, but was the impetus behind planning this wall? It doesn't seem you gained very little level ground out of it,except for a few extra feet near your front walk. A good touch would have been to place a stairway down to the street. Right now your Keep is hiding behind the castle walls, and it needs to be made to come out from behind the wall so to speak.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

I think I would have had the wall slope the other way so as to level it out a bit although looking at the grade below the bottom wall perhaps you can so that when you rebuild.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Yes well, let's get back to these walls. I can and will give you some planting ideas, but let me just also say that you're putting before us a situation that has a tendency to bring out the snark - oh dear.

People often post midway through a project instead of before it, and often the decisions that have been made aren't conducive to good design. It's much more fun to be consulted at the beginning before the wrong shrubs are ripped out, the beds put in the wrong place, or the walls built wrong, rather than being asked afterward how to design to mitigate the mistakes made. When that isn't done, it is irresistible to the people whose advice is being asked to comment on what should have been done differently/better. It's a little perk we allow ourselves to blow off steam.

Not that I'm sure your walls do constitute a mistake - in fact, I think they're nice, with great curves, and very nicely done. I'm curious, though, why they went just where they did and to the height they are - is there a chance, for example, of making the lower one higher? And what's the plan for the very bottom? A third wall? Because if not, I too wonder whether the whole composition will be sliding down the hill soon and will need to be rebuilt. How deep do the wall footings go?

As for planting suggestions, I'm going to say that what I think would look fabulous here is a garden of specialty dwarf-ish conifers. I don't know if you know what I mean, but if not, pop into the conifers forum. That may or may not be your cup of tea, but I sense you like a controlled style based on both the design of these walls and the plantings you have at the house, and it may suit you. I hope a conifers forum regular named Dsteg is still posting there, but search out some of his past threads for photos of his garden to get an idea of the style taken to an extreme. By the way these tend to be specialty plants that you can't get at every corner nursery, but if you just want to stick to what you can get at the local nursery, there too I would look into what slow-growing and special cultivar conifers they have. You can get several types of juniper, for example, that would tumble nicely over those walls.

KarinL


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

The reason why we built the walls is so that the front yard could actually be mowed and perhaps my husband will not break his ankles in the process. It was virtually impossible to mow before... although there wasn't much reason, as the hill was so steep and clay-ish that grass wouldn't grow anyway!

We completed these walls last spring... to include the caps on every block (which are missing from these photos). We've just waited on how to landscape because it's an expensive undertaking... and we just built the walls. Originally, we thought about just throwing a groundcover at the very bottom of the 2nd wall. Placing/height of the walls was somewhat affected by regulations. Some city regulation said a wall could only be "such and such" high or a professional engineer would have to check off on it, etc, etc; additionally, we didn't want one huge wall in the front anyway.

I have suggested the stair thing to my husband, but he's not too keen on it. But it'd be handy as many cars cannot get up our driveway and friends must park at the bottom.

And if you're wondering, we will NOT be buying another house on a hill in the future!

We did eventually get grass
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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Your most recent photo of the front of the house, the two sets of paralledl walls, the exposed house foundation, the view underneath your raised front porch, and fire hydrant in front of your door at the base of the hill do suggest not a design, but some aspects of the landscape that could be addressed in your final design.

I'm not fond of walls in general, but that's my bias. I have seen around my town how people have used stone walls as backdrops for very interesting gardens. For some strange coincidence having the bulk of the wall to the left does seem to provide some architectural balance to your house.

As far as more plantings, a tree to the left of the house would look nice.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

karinl, thank you for the ideas. Does anyone else have any ideas about how to plant around these walls?

I'm not looking for any more criticism of the walls, as we are pleased with them, and they aren't going anywhere.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

More snark: Frank Lloyd Wright said that the difference between an architect and a surgeon is that an architect always has the option to grow a vine over his mistakes.

O.K enough of that. It is possible to eliminate the grass and make it more interesting especially as I think the insistence on grass may be the cause of the problem. Something taller is needed at the back around that foundation apron but the area between the walls and down to the road could take a ground cover, cotoneaster or a look alike prostrate junipers but more expensive etc.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Personally, I think you did a *fantastic* job with the walls. If ever there was a place where terracing walls would be indicated, this was it! The changing lines and proportions of the two differing walls complement the house, turn the featureless mound into a pleasantly shaped slope, and tie everything well into the rest of the property. Also makes the front yard seem much larger.

More importantly, the house now seems nestled into a comfy place in the landscape. Before, it seemed to be 'perched awkwardly' on a muddy hill. Great job!!

Now, what to plant.... If it were me, I would do plantings primarily at the bases of the walls, rather than on top. And I would think 'variety'. Partly to soften the lines even a bit more, and partly to visually tie the front area into that *lovely* woodland area to the back. (I envy you that...)

I would do a combination of shrubs and perennials that would have different heights and textures. I would try to choose things that did not get too huge. You want some things that will overtop the walls, but you don't want to hide the walls. You want to let the walls stay fairly visible in some areas, and at least peep thru in others. Sort of 'naturalistic', as if they were growing against a natural rock outcropping in that lovely backlot of yours.

Can't be specific, because I don't know what is easily available in your area, and I don't know the orientation of the house. Is the front partially shaded in the late afternoon? Anyways, I would do a few scattered evergreen shrubs, and deciduous shrubs, ditto. Place the deciduous ones so that different ones are flowering at different places along the walls at different times.

Then in between, I would look at perennials. Different heights and textures, placed so there are patches of color and texture along the walls through the seasons.

Mulch well under the below-the-walls plantings, and mowing should also be easy. In fact, the top of the wall creates a natural mowing edge.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 20, 10 at 20:17

I don't think you did a bad job aesthetically with what you had to work with (my biggest criticism is the siting of the actual house).
I like that you dropped the grade toward driveway in order to allow surface water to escape.

A few strategically placed trees, perhaps the help of fencing to add a little horizontal bottom close to the house (level top, sloped bottom extended as far to the driveway as possible), and some more depth with some greenery along the wall bottoms (not the top).

Height is relative. The house needs some competition from some trees to the sides (not directly in front)which will add depth (push the house back) as well. Secondarily, the trees to the left make the neighboring house much less significant in your landscape.

This is just a conceptual abstract by smearing some plantings from other photos to give a hint without spending much time. I apologise for my lack of skill in this media which I seldom use.

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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

This has been a busy week here. Your design possibilties came to mind often. My first thought was the same as Lagg's; a fence along the steps and upper wall. You need it for safety and also to add that 'third' parallel line to the plan. The fence should be fairly open, with a sustantial look. It could also be an open, black, wrought iron type.

So many new home owners panic when they see open space and feel compelled to fill it up. Not necessary in this situation unless you really want to garden. A few low evergreens where your husband dislikes the wall construction could complete the job. Take a mintute to run your curser from left side of Lagg's picture, up to roof peak and down to driveway on right side. Do you see it? Do you see the triangles formed? Do you see how Lagg's tree placement fits the triangle? This is good design. Whatever you decide to do, think of plant placement as complimenting and working with this triangular pattern.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Dizzytrist you will have to forgive some of these flatlanders who may not get out much to other parts of the country where the topography is different than a preconceived flat grid, suburban mindset. I will be working in a neighborhood of million dollar homes glued to the side of a mountain this week, the siting of which could quite possibly cause laag to have a stroke. These homes make your house look like it is sitting on the petite little hill that it is. There are more than enough places in California, Hawaii, the Rocky Mountain west and Appalachia with homes sited like yours. Lord the city of San Francisco has houses on hills more gnarly than yours. They did not like the siting of my cabin or my dry stack stone walls either.

It was obvious from the before picture why the walls were built. That hill was unmowable and unusable. I think you and your husband did a great job working with the natural lay of the land to find a balance of taming the slope without creating some monolithic structure that overpowered the house and site.

Snark completed, laags conceptual design is most excellent and seems to be what you are after. The real question is are you are gardener or did you just want something that looks nice and is easy to maintain? A gardener would eliminate all or most of the grass.

I can see creating beds for plants at the base of both walls and leaving a grass path for access to the beds at the top of the lower wall and at the street edge. It could just be grass between the entry walk and upper wall.

Laags placement of the trees in the design looks nice, but I see the utility lines run through there on the left. Be very careful about choosing and placing trees there. Small trees like redbud, dogwood, Fringe tree, the upright small Japanese maples or holly would fit in that tight space better. You could also consider a grouping of large shrubs like rhododendron for this space instead of trees.

For shrubs in front of the walls, just think dwarfs. There is a huge selection of dwarf shrubs these days like hollies, azaleas, conifers of all kinds like junipers, pines and spruce, spirea, nandina and hydrangea.

If you want some flowers, both Blackeyed Susan and Shasta Daisy make durable groundcovers. Sedums would also work planted in large drifts. These would be a blank space in the winter though, but would work with a mix of a few evergreen shrubs.

All the plants mentioned will grow in East Tennessee depending on the actual site and soil conditions you have. It looks to be mostly a full sun exposure if you can grow grass.

amili


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 22, 10 at 7:23

It is not that I can't handle a hill. I used to work in Idaho and more often than not had projects with multi-tiered retaining walls. We often do here as well believe it or not.

It is the fact that these houses are poorly sited on the hill. Wrong house on wrong lot with no care to integrate them in a logical way. My beef is that no one made an effort to work with the house and the lot to get the best out of a bad situation. It is not what the OP did, it is the fact that they were forced to do it. I site buildings in my day job more than I design landscapes.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

How would the fence work? Would it rise from the back of that top wall?? Would it fit in that 1 ft area between the house and the sidewalk? Would putting some sort of trellis against the house (and maybe some plant to grow on it) have the same effect?

Thanks for all these fabulous suggestions!


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

The fence should be functional in purpose - not just for curb appeal - put the fence where it will to stop someone falling down the slope when they slip on the ice and start stumbling.

I agree with you Isabella, the mass of the wall does seem to help with the house balance, and as shown in Laag's mock up the trees and additional shrubbery do help to make it into a silk purse.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 22, 10 at 12:21

The fence pattern as Laag showed is more decorative than functional as it doesn't relate to the slope of the walk, but it could still have a handrail installed at the inside face against the walk at the proper height for function/security. I'd agree that the walk needs a handrail that is functional in winter when the path could be treacherous, and a free standing trellis against that blank wall could give the design effect of breaking up the wall, and a simple metal handrail at the outside edge of the walk for safety. You might even consider doubling up the trellis effect with a fence at the outside of the walk, and a trellis against the wall.

If this were my house/garden, I would skip lawn all together at the front, and use massed shrubs at the base of the walls of different foliage textures/colors, with spilling ground covering shrubs such as Cotoneasters/Junipers/or what ever is commonly used for such in your part of the country.

The massing of plants that Laag shows is pleasant enough, and still shows lawn between the walls. I think you might want to consider adding some accent small tree/large flowering shrub to 10 to 15 feet tall between the walls and centered on the two large windows at two story part of the front facade to also relate the house to the landscape, in addition to small trees massed to the left of the entry.

I also think that the retaining walls do make the front garden slope look better than the before picture, and sloping gardens here in California usually present more opportunities to show off plants and emphasize their sculptural qualities that a flat site doesn't allow. Unfortunately I have no suggestions on what to use in Eastern Tennessee, as I am a zone 9/10 resident, with additional experience in arid,subtropical desert and humid tropical climates as well. None of that translates to your climate...

I would guess however, that if you were to use taller growing plants in the front, along with ornamental grasses and such, you will probably exacerbate any tick problem you already have in your climate; therefore a mown lawn might actually be preferable. I seem to recall chiggers are another southern/eastern/midwestern nuisance to deal with back there, I well remember these the first visit back to my grandparents' garden in Indianapolis.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 22, 10 at 12:57

My intent with the fence (or trellis,...) was aesthetic as Bahia points out.

There are lots of ways of dealing with this and there are lots of good ideas floating out there. You, Dizzy, are going to have to take everyone's thoughts and figure out what works for you.

I agree with Bahia that there is no compelling reason to keep lawn at all (other than aesthetics, if you like it) since there is no usable space to hold with lawn (my arguement for using lawn in most situations).


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

...except for the wretched necessity of looking after the planted areas for weeding, pruning, and such. You have to walk somewhere between the walls, and if you don't have grass that functions as a path, you should have paving stones between/behind the shrubs so you can take care of the area.

It may seem odd to say "behind" the plants, but keep in mind that everything on the mid and lower level will be fronting the wall from the passers-by perspective. In addition, plants grow better when they can get light from all sides - we've talked about this when growing plants in a narrow bed abutting a wall or fence. So planting the whole strip rather than just cramming the plants at the base of the wall might be a better approach.

I like Bahia's point about the ticks and bugs. When a picture is shown in order to get advice, it is all too easy to get focussed on only the aesthetics. But there is much that is lost when you reduce a landscape to a photograph, especially one without a defining territorial identity, and even more one without its people and their needs in the picture. That is why Laag's statement about what an OP always has to do is so true.

KarinL


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

One thing I take from laag's rendering is how fixing the "house falling away to the right" (as you look at the photo) by adding the fence--and it could be a low hedge or mounding shrubs, but the fence gives a strong and dependable horizontal line) improves the balance of the walls and house even if you did not plant in front of the walls. That's not to say you shouldn't add shrubs or whatever--it's just to point out how other elements in design options can help mitigate an issue you (or DH) may have with the "imperfections in the walls" in addition to or instead of just planting in front of them.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 22, 10 at 18:36

Frankie, you are absolutely correct that the fence is suggested as an easy strong dependable horizontal mass much more so than as a fence and can be substituted. There is a lot to overcome on this house, so subtlety is on the back burner.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Thanks laag, for the photo, and nandina for expounding on the triangles. I like design, and I feel like I learn by lurking and reading on this forum. the visual examples and explanations are really helpful, and I think that the "real life" situations are much better than the books I've read, which seem to have "staged" photos of very pricey landscape jobs.

Constructive comments and visuals really are helping me learn.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Oh my I love these walls! Kill the grass and layer this. Can be repeated so easily with a few shrubs and perinnials... And don't forget the some annual pots buried for a splash of color would be very cool! Winter interest can be achieved with some upright grasses, or flowering perinnials. Yes I really like how this was done. Just don't block the driveway view, you need to see when you are comming in and out of the drive. Less mowing and with some cascading plants over the walls. Yep this would be sweet! The pots should be at least 14" and can be lifted out at the end of the season. If you don't mind doing some extra watering. This can be so elegant. Opps, probably didn't want to hear about killing the grass but this looks to be an area that can be converted to some very nice plants that will fill in and give you some nice curb appeal. The grass will look good as well. but if it does not take without alot of work I would deffinetly consider filling with a wave effect. Just a thought.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 23, 10 at 7:09

I have said several times that you can tell how someone looks at their landscape by how they photograph it. Dizzy is looking for the overall look of the whole thing in my opinion - the big picture. This is a good thing because it is easy to infill detail which goes with the big picture. It does not work the other way around.

If the mindset is to decide what will look good on the slope or with the walls first, it is a crap shoot at whether the overall landscape will look better or worse.

Start with the general (big picture, abstract shapes, proportions, general effects, big elements) and work toward the specific (specific areas, details, plant form, color, small elements) and everything works without a doubt.

It is like planning a meal. Somethings are great and tasty, but if they don't go well with the dynamic of the rest of the meal they just don't work. It is possible to start with any part of a meal and design the rest of the meal around it and have success. However, if it does not work within the context of the dinner, it is not a success (there is a difference between a kid's birthday party, an afternoon at an amusement park, a wedding, or a marathon).


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Ditto what Kuri said. I can look at garden magazines all day long, and still have no idea what the big picture is, or what design challenges they were trying to overcome, or how they did it. They just seem to present the before and afters, then give a list of plants. Or better yet, just present a themed garden, like cottage gardens, or xeriscaping, and provide the plant list. I'm soaking up this forum like a sponge.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Thank you all for the responses. The input is so greatly appreciated. I'm also wanting to plant some trees or maybe crape myrtles along the right side of my driveway to help give us a little more privacy. As you pull up the street and onto our road, our house feels so exposed. See below:

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Would like something to the right of the driveway. Maybe Leyland cypresses?

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AND because I know your curious minds want to know... the back area behind our house was, I think, almost worse than the front. Look at how the dirt was just tumbling down. The area between that embankment and the patio was ankle-breaking. So we flattened the land a bit and placed a THIRD retaining wall which is super functional here. Then we put in a flagstone walkway. We're trying to grow grass between the stones, as moss wouldn't grow after we attempted to transplant it.

The back wall before:

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and after:

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I'm trying to grow some phlox up the top front of the wall, and I'm going to throw out a bunch of vinca minor on the rest of the hill. I'd just like for that to take over most of the area.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

I think the trees to the left of the house are a must to distract from left neighbors white house overpowering yours. Your trees to the right of the driveway are not a bad idea either, but some evergreen to distract from the garage doors and deflect the eye to the walkway up to the front door would give privacy and reinforce the other lines going on around the site. From the front the series of walls with the suggested planting look good, but the view from the side would be improved if the wall termination were concealed. Just my random thoughts after seeing the pics.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

isabella: I agree with your statement on "the view from the side would be improved if the wall termination were concealed". Unfortunately, the way we stepped down the wall causes the side view to look a bit awkward, IMO. However, the primary reason in not concealing the wall termination is because the walls would have to turn back towards the house, and this would create a "bathtub" if you will for water to accumulate in. Granted, these walls are Versa-lok and therefore mortarless so water will flow through them freely. That said, we wanted to reduce any additional pressure the walls would see from water.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by rhodium New England Z6 (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 25, 10 at 10:09

Are those two huge trees (in the photo looking from down the street and at your garage doors) on your property? They appear to be part of the original forest. Typically when houses are carved out of existing woodlands, the trees that are left behind (don't hate me tree-huggers!) are not specimen quality or landscape quality. Note how tall the trunk is before the canopy appears and then it's not very inpressive. This type of growth results from competition in a tightly packed natural unmanaged woodland, but it does'nt really go with the look of a landscaped area that you have now. The forest behind the house is good, because trees of the same nature are all in a group and look like they belong there.

The wall in back looks great also. Vinca up the hill is a good place holder until some other shrubs can be determined. At any rate Vinca is evergreen, flowers, and is good for some erosion control. The naturalist may argue that it may escape or be invasive into the woodland behind your house, so monitor for that situation.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

As a naturalist, I would agree that vinca is going to be a problem down the road - it takes over and spreads into the woodland. Consider using some of the native ferns to hold that area. If it's sunny, some of the native Muhly grass provides beautiful pink plumes in the fall. A few decorative boulders half buried like I see tumbling down the slopes in the Smokies.

Personally I would suggest trying to add some landscape elements that help to integrate the woodlands behind you with the property. East Tennessee has fabulous natural areas. To that effect, I would not use formal elements like leyland cypress which can have a "soldier" look and emphasizes the "this is my space here in these lines" effect so common in today's suburban neighborhoods.

Using native and more open trees and shrubs would bridge the back to the front - trees like Serviceberry, Dogwood, Redbud and Fringetree. Shrubs like 'Annabelle' and Oakleaf hydrangeas, Clethra, Itea and Viburnums.

You already have some the canopy trees like Oaks and American beech (the one with the pale leaves clinging like old lace) and probably Tuliptree. You've done a good job carving out some usable space. Now it's just a matter of filling it with nice things, I think.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by tibs 5/6 OH (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 25, 10 at 19:14

How high is that back wall? Did you anchor it, slope it back, have drainage at the bottom? If this is not engineered and constructed properly, you could have a tumbling down wall and a real problem. Looks like a pretty big hill with some big trees.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

My suggestion implied, but did not state, that the front-yard wall termination could be hidden by plant material.

For the backslope, annabelles would look good there, as well redtwig dogwoods.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Yes, the wall slopes back and there is a drainage pipe that runs along the back with backfilling of gravel... etc etc. We followed all the installation guidelines set forth by the manufacturer... and it was checked off by a city engineer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Versa Lok


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Completely agree with the vote against vinca minor. Had plenty on my property from the previous owner. It is really tough to eradicate once it gets a hold, and is considered a "minor invasive" here in MI. I'm always "chopping it back" so it doesn't get too out of control in the greenway behind my house.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Phase I... in case you are interested in what we ended up doing.

Lots of juniper (to eventually cover the area at the bottom). Some Weigelias around the hydrant. Also, some golden mops.
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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by rhodium New England Z6 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 16, 10 at 11:39

It looks like you have captured the wisdom imparted in this thread and interpretated it in your own style.

The line of gold mops will be adding to the linear aspect of the wall. As these appear to be matching bookends framing the central Weigelas/hydrant to play up on this some more, then addding a non-linear grouping of mops would enhance this approach.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Laag, how do you do the overlay of the landscaping. Do you have a software program?


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 17, 10 at 23:11

Dizzy,

Thanks for the follow up. Not many people take the time to do so. I think you did pretty well.

Parkplaza,

I use a free software called Paint.net that I downloaded from the net. It is not photoshop, but it is not bad (I don't do mockups except to make points on messageboards). I open two photos and copy out of one and paste into a new layer in the other - you can move it and rescale to make it fit (you can stetch one dimension or another if you choose.


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

I can't add much to what's already been said except that you might want to replant the shrubs to space them out a more. The Golden Mops will end up being about 4 1/2 to 5 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide, so they're going to run out of room in just a couple of years where they are now.

Unless they're one of the super dwarf varieties, even the Weigelas are going to end up being at least 3 to 4 feet tall and wide, which means they'll be covering the fire hydrant, or at the very least hiding it on three sides. If the neighbor's house is on fire and the fire department can't find the hydrant for the shrubs, well, not so good.
I'd replant everything at least another 2 feet farther apart. You'll be rewarded in a few years with with mature plants that look lush and full without being squashed and crowded, and you'll fill in more space for less money. :^)


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RE: 2 bland retaining walls... looking for landscape design

Unless they're one of the super dwarf varieties, even the Weigelas are going to end up being at least 3 to 4 feet tall and wide

I inherited an obviously non-super dwarf Wiegela. 3-4' wide is a serious understatement unless you prune religiously. Ditto the 3-4' tall.

You might want to find out if the Fire Department has the right to prune your Wiegelas, should they decide they're overgrown. And whether the local government has a policy on what you can plant near a fire hydrant, and how close.


I live on a state road (little 2-lane blacktop, 45 mph semi-rural school bus route) and it's amazing the rules for the 20' of my yard adjacent to the blacktop. Completely different rules for uphill and downhill situations, downhill being more stringent.

And if they don't like whatever's growing there, they just chop it off with their long-armed Blade of Death and Destruction. No warning ahead of time: just however the driver decides to interpret state law on your particular stretch of road that morning. Weeping cherry overhanging the road? Not anymore! Brush too close to the side of the road? Just cut it off at ground level!

[It wasn't my weeping cherry, and the lifelong-resident neighbors who own it didn't even notice some of it was shorter -- but they were shocked at what I told them. The trimmed brush belonged to the neighbor farther north.]


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