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Design layout problems

Posted by forensicmom 7a (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 8, 10 at 9:45

This is a spot in my yard that has bugged me for years. My 9 year old wants her own garden and I would like to make something in that empty spot between the pool fence and the playground. The problem is, laying the bed out. I have several ideas for plants, etc but the actual shape of the bed has me stumped.

It only makes sense to me to fill in the space from the pool bed to the playground but where do I stop? The pool bed is curved and the playground has angles.

Can someone please give me a suggestion?
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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Design layout problems

To my your idea of filling in the area makes sense until you think about what your child, or any gardener, is most going to need to do: access the bed for working and weeding (and harvesting?). A big square or any shape bed other than a narrow rectangle along the fence will be difficult to access. And we all know how hard it can be to get plants to grow well (upright) against a fence.

If you're determined to stay in that corner, I think I might do a narrow strip along the pool fence. This leaves a grass strip beside it that is easy to mow and retains easy access (and ball overflow) to the play area. You can end the strip at the near end in some way that flows with the pool bed, and you don't need to blend with the playground because it will not be connected.

The other way to look at this is to take the long view. Nine years old? Even if there is a younger child(ren) as well, the playground is a temporary installation. Think about what you will do in the yard after you remove the playground. Maybe that will suggest a place for the bed elsewhere in the yard altogether.

If it's for tomatoes, you might also not get enough sun in the corner.

KarinL


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RE: Design layout problems

What strikes me as making sense is to make a bed that follows the shadow of the fence in the first picture but rounding the corner where it returns to the concrete path, rather than the angular line of the shadow at that point.


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RE: Design layout problems

What is your child imagining?

What is she hoping to grow?

I wouldn't want to try to recommend something when the person for whom the design will ... or won't ... work hasn't been polled.

What I wanted at age 9 was a "secret garden". Yeah, pretty much like the one in the book. I got lucky and there was a place in our back garden that was well screened from view, was a perfect size for play, shady and cool, encircled by flower beds.

But that's a bit different from my other dream story. Charlotte's Web ... A farm in your backyard?

If something is simply "done" for your daughter, without her input, don't be surprised if she isn't terribly intrigued for very long. It just might not "fit" what she dreams when she dreams of gardens.


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RE: Design layout problems

Ditto what wellspring said about having an "idea" in her head as a child. I had the same types of dreams, and found it very frustrating to be working with tiny plants that just didn't match my inward vision.

If it's a secret garden she wants, you could buy some much larger plants and put them in pots, or you could grow some really neat vines and make a trellis "house" for them to grow over.

Lucky girl!


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RE: Design layout problems

Well this might become a parenting thread rather than a gardening one... but I think there is something to be said for setting the parameters for the child rather than making oneself a potential slave to a childhood vision that may be impractical, expensive, or awkward to accommodate in the yard.

Not meaning to quash the honoring of fantasies and dreams, which I think one should always be open to hearing, discussing, and maybe facilitating, but it is mom and dad's yard. I'm guessing that a mom who is willing to offer a bed to a child is already doing a fair bit of listening.

I mean, really, it's a land use decision. You can't give a child carte blanche, and so I don't think you should ask the child to fantasize as if you could.

Can you tell I did it wrong? Our kids wanted a playhouse, and we built one that dominated the small yard, leading to many years of garden he** for me. And they didn't end up using their playhouse nearly as much as their wish for it would have suggested.

Not all children dream of secret gardens - my daughter has been excited about growing vegetables since she was about 9. But if that is the vision, perhaps you could even surround the play area with beds to make the playground more secretive.

KarinL


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RE: Design layout problems

Karen-

I agree with you. The problem that I was trying to express, poorly, perhaps, is that actually sometimes it is the parents whose expectations are one way and the child's are another.

Who knows? I don't. I don't know this child or the parents.

But I have witnessed parents who thought "I gave my child what she wanted and she so didn't use it or appreciate it."

Maybe the conversations have already taken place. Maybe this parent knows what the child expects and the child knows, within reason, what to expect ... But that hasn't been addressed.

As for choices, I spend about 25% of my working life with children aged 0 to teens, in a variety of settings. I've often cringed when adults squash kid involvement. I've also cringed when the adults have asked something in a far too open ended way. Adults can guide choices and expectations. We can say, "We can do A or B or C. This is sort of what it will look like. Which one do you think we should try?"

In other words, control the choices, sure, but figure out an age appropriate way to get the child involved in the decisions. Even teens need boundaries, so I'm sorry if my above post read like an unrealistic carte blanche. That's not what I intended.

Guess I assumed the parents would know their own basic parameters of what they can and cannot do. Part of their work would be to both nurture and limit expectations.

The OP wrote: "This is a spot in my yard that has bugged me for years. My 9 year old wants her own garden and I would like to make something in that empty spot between the pool fence and the playground. The problem is, laying the bed out. I have several ideas for plants, etc but the actual shape of the bed has me stumped."

So, guess I'm glassy-eyed with fatigue, but the point of the bed is unclear to me. How, exactly, will this be a garden for the child? I can guess how, but I'm not sure. And, if it's the parent who is going to design, dig, choose plants, plant it in, etc., then that can be an effective way to put in a garden for the child. She may love it. But that's a different process from the one intended to create a space where the child does the gardening.

Does that make sense? Both ways work. And maybe it'll be somewhere in the middle ...

And somewhere in all of that, the child's dreams will still be dreamed ... maybe right there in that part of the yard.


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RE: Design layout problems

My opinion may not end up being a popular one with everyone, but here goes anyway......

You said the spot has bugged you for years. So what do you have to lose? If it were me, I'd dig a rectangle with grass all around it for access, as already suggested.

Part of being a child is learning. Help the child, based on your climate, decide what to grow. Has he/she expressed an interest in any particular type of plants? Go together to the greenhouse and look around. Your child could choose what to grow, and you could help by indicating whether or not you think the choices would grow, or not, and why. Help your child do the planting. Gardening is about trial and error. So, let your child learn by trial and error.

What's the worst that can happen? He/she grows a wonderful garden, and loves it for a lifetime, or he/she fails or loses interest, and you end up digging it all up and changing it. Someone suggested it was Mom and Dad's yard. Although that is true, it's just a yard. Your child will only be a child for a very short time. It's just a small patch of your yard. Anyone who sees it, will hopefully understand it's a child's garden and find joy in that.

Happy Gardening 9 year old =:)


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RE: Design layout problems for your child

Oops! My apologies. I referred to your child as he or she. I must have been half asleep when I read everything here.
You have a daughter =:)


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RE: Design layout problems

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 9, 10 at 7:09

Forget about the space that you have to work with and start with what you (or she) want her to get out of it, then what physical things need to be there for her to get that experience, then blend those requirements to the realities of the site. That will tell you the shape of the garden.


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RE: Design layout problems

The ideal would have been to plant a tree maybe 9 years ago but as you will never get that chance again why not extend the play area out into the corner and build a table, with a flower bed contained, in it. She can add rocks and plants even animals and water to make her own miniature landscape, then when she wants to go out with boys instead you can remove the table along with the climbing frame and slide.

I hope I didn't scare you with "go out with boys" but just wait and see.


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RE: Design layout problems

Or we could stop making assumptions and leave open the possibility that she'll prefer to go out with girls instead. :-)

That playground doesn't look like it will continue holding the interest of a nine-year-old much longer. The slide looks so small that I'd guess her feet touch the ground almost immediately. Does she have younger siblings? If not, it might be worth asking whether she's tired of some of the playground equipment, and perhaps installing the garden directly in the playground area, in place of whatever equipment no longer interests her.


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RE: Design layout problems

My lighthearted comment was devoid of a political agenda and none belongs here, try Hot Topics.


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RE: Design layout problems

I'm not supposing that you intended your comment to be political; I'm reacting to the fact that your comment has political implications, whether or not you gave them any thought.

For example, suppose someone in this forum recommended repainting the trim of a house a particular shade of peach and described that shade as "flesh color." I believe it would be perfectly appropriate for others to correct that person, even though this is a landscape design forum rather than a political one, because it is an indisputable fact that not all flesh is anywhere near that same color. Using phrases that obscure that fact is what is inappropriately political - even if the person who used the phrase did not actually think about the political implications of it.

In the same way, it is an indisputable fact that not all children grow up to be straight. People of every possible political stripe can surely agree on that much, so I do not feel that my pointing out such a totally uncontroversial fact constitutes injecting politics into a forum where politics doesn't belong. To the contrary, I feel that your own comment constituted that - no matter how unintentional it was on your part, and no matter how "light-hearted" the comment seemed in your own mind.

I assure you, I would love it if we could stop having any politically controversial statements made in this forum. So please stop making them.


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RE: Design layout problems

I can see a nice garden area between the pool and fence. Draw a line between the play area and the pool fence at one of the points on the play area. Go bigger than you think you need. Place a bench at the rear fence - looks like it may be a bit shady for vegies back there and what a nice oppourtunity to create a pathway to the bench - with the vegatables growing on each side. Use the pool fence for trellis support if sun direction allows - Think a curved pathway - think taller plants or trellis hiding the bench a little bit so the bench looks like a place to visit and what a nice spot to sit to view the play yard, the garden and the pool from a whole new vantage point.
Use wood chips or stepping stones for your walkway - nothing permanent - if the play yard changes someday to a garden area, the walkway and bench area could still be used as an approach to the garden. A bit of fence or a row of taller plants could define the entrance to the garden-a few boulders ( kid proof) and maybe a shepards hook with a hanging basket or birdhouse on a post, or birdbath could also be used to define the entrance. Sunflowers are very fun to grow, they come in all sizes - maybe you would like the 4 footers - more in scale with your area. Pole beans on tripod teepees are kid friendly and the tripods would add vertical interest to the space. Maybe a few containers back by the bench or near the play yard edge would stop little feets from stepping on plants, and would add eye interest to the space. Whiskey barrel planters are a good size,child height,and inexpensive and would be good transition material between the rustic play yard edge to the more formal pool fence.
Think about how your daughter will work in the garden and place the boulders or planters where they can act as hose guards, allowing ample room to move around when the plants reach full size.
Think about the sun direction and plant heights for what and where to plant. Please post your after pictures and let us know how the garden is doing.


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RE: Design layout problems

I wouldn't quash your daughters wish to garden. But instead of tearing up the yard why not start with a large pot or a half barrel. There's lots of room for her to experiment with growing and taking care of plants. You will soon know if the urge is fleeting or a real desire to garden.
As others say in a few years you may have other plans for the yard or even a garden for your daughter.


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RE: Design layout problems

I'm going to add to this because the OP is evidently Missing In Action and is not getting emails, so there's no pain inflicted on her, and the original question has been dealt with anyway.

QBC, your attitude is very dated. Current realities in sexual identity politics are different, at least in the modern world. Your own screen name marks the difference.

Sexuality was once regarded, and to some extent correctly so, like skin colour: as an unchangeable reality. Because it was difficult or dangerous to be homosexual you lived a heterosexual life if you could, and only lived differently if you were seriously driven to do so. With that view, a campaign for inclusion and respect was warranted for sexuality just as it was for skin colour.

But success can be your worst enemy. One side effect of the campaign for inclusion has been a measure of recruitment, so that a large number of people who might otherwise have grown up to unquestioningly live a reasonably satisfactory heterosexual life now identify as bisexual or fully homosexual. Alternate sexual identities are now understood to be a choice.

And with that, accommodation also becomes a matter of choice for mainstream society. Any actual duty to accommodate vanishes. In short, choice cuts both ways. Now, rather than being viewed as one would regard a spinal injury, respectfully but with a tinge of regret, sexual identity is more like vegetarianism, which a meat-eating culture is under no obligation whatsoever to accommodate except to the degree that (a) vegetarians themselves arrange for each other and (b) it serves the norm to do so (hence veg options in meat restaurants). In the current sexual reality, we all have a right to recruit, and it is perfectly fair for the mainstream to recruit as aggressively and even to win as it is for the alternatives - indeed, meat eating is making a comeback; I'm even challenging my own vegetarianism of 30 years and wishing I hadn't brought my kids up to not eat meat.

In any case, no matter how tolerant society is of homosexuality, and no matter how celebratory homosexuality is of itself, there is a particular value to a strong heterosexual norm and so its expression should not be oppressed even in a climate of accommodation. On a society-wide basis, heterosexuality is like democracy, which Churchill deemed the worst form of government except for all the others. Heterosexuality is the worst system of partnership except for all the others - although it doesn't work out well for some people, it has proven to be sustainable and yet capable of change, genetically healthy, and reasonably safe for children. Furthermore, having a strong norm is by far the healthiest way for children to grow up - given that we all have some degree of bisexuality at least, how do you pick your place on the sexual identity spectrum without a strong norm in which you either sense you fit or don't and when each spot can sell itself as equally alluring? Ambiguity or the sexual buffet approach does not serve children well in terms of setting them up for having the best chance of a committed long term relationship that will be solid base for the upbringing of their own children. It's like trying to lay out a yard with no design principles.

It is certainly indisputable that not all children will grow up to be straight. But that does not mean all children should be presumed to be equally likely to be homosexual. Not giving it equal billing is not equivalent to being a bigot.

Your response to Ink illustrates the extent to which every oppressed minority has the potential to become, in its turn, an oppressor. This is pretty characteristic of the LGBT community; you can trust me on that as I live in the thick of it as an apparent heterosexual. This is not a kind or inclusive community. They view the world in absolute black and white, having no scruples about casting everyone who lives a heterosexual life, including the parents of the children they recruit, as being black (homophobic, in LGBT-speak). It's like everyone white is a racist, or every non Jew an anti-Semite and an anti-Zionist. If you're not with us you're against us and all that. It's pretty simplistic, juvenile... and above all, divisive. Tribal, if you will. Primitive. 1984.

And ruthless, like all ideologies, which is what homosexuality has now, sadly, become. In the current context of LGBT politics, Ink's comment wasn't political. Yours was.

KarinL


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RE: Design layout problems

"They view the world in absolute black and white, having no scruples about casting everyone who lives a heterosexual life, including the parents of the children they recruit..."

That's a pretty intense rant ya got yourself into there, KarinL.

I have a 9 year old daughter, myself. I'd love for her to get turned on to gardening! But it's a whole lot more important that she learns to see clearly and back away from such arrogant assumptions and judgments.

QBC made a point with a light touch. But geez--this response is UGLY.


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RE: Design layout problems

I want to make a few quick clarifications in response to Karin's post.

1. It is correct to conclude from my screen name that I consider my queerness to be a choice. However, the distinct majority of LGBT people say they experienced their sexual identities as not being a choice. (For that matter, a substantial number of those people do not believe that my own queerness is a choice either. LGBT people are separate individuals with different and often conflicting opinions.)

2. It is common to assert that people who are facing severe dangers and difficulties as a result of homophobia and who have any choice about being queer would surely choose not to be queer. I disagree. I would suggest looking at it this way: Political beliefs are generally considered to be a choice, but if someone ordered you to change your political beliefs or face horrible punishment, even death, would this persuade you to change your political beliefs? I think it's more likely that such threats would simply persuade you to hide your political beliefs, not to start genuinely believing in whatever the person threatening you told you to believe. In the same way, I think that using the threat of homophobic discrimination and violence to pressure people to change their beliefs about who is sexually attractive or who would make the best spouse for them is not likely to change their actual beliefs either. This does not mean that people must not have any choice about their political beliefs, or about their sexual beliefs either; it just means that threatening people with horrible punishments and attempting to forcibly choose people's beliefs for them is not generally an effective way to sincerely change people's minds.

That's all. I sure hope we can get back to discussing landscape design now!


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RE: Design layout problems

Your response to Ink illustrates the extent to which every oppressed minority has the potential to become, in its turn, an oppressor. This is pretty characteristic of the LGBT community; you can trust me on that as I live in the thick of it as an apparent heterosexual. This is not a kind or inclusive community. They view the world in absolute black and white, having no scruples about casting everyone who lives a heterosexual life, including the parents of the children they recruit, as being black (homophobic, in LGBT-speak). It's like everyone white is a racist, or every non Jew an anti-Semite and an anti-Zionist. If you're not with us you're against us and all that. It's pretty simplistic, juvenile... and above all, divisive. Tribal, if you will. Primitive. 1984.

Yeah, this was pretty ruthless. Sometimes we expose ourselves as what we truly are. This is just one such instance.

-Ron-


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RE: Design layout problems

Holy Cow !

All this because someone suggested a girl might want to go out with boys?

Personally, I don't think there should have been any comment further than that. Doesn't the majority of the world's population assume that's the case unless proven otherwise? And isn't this a landscape forum?

Kind of makes a person afraid to say anything on this forum.

And I thought my suggesting a child was more important than any yard, would get me into hot water.

Shows how much I know.....


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fwiw

This used to be such a neat website with long, intense discussions about many, many different aspects of all sorts of different LD techniques and philosophies. Disagreements, yes. Attacks on persons and/or groups of persons, no.

What a major bummer, to check this website today and to read such a very lenghty and absolutely appalling display of ignorance.

It made my skin crawl to read that, here on this website. Even though I just lurk here, I do not want my anonymous silence to be interpreted as agreement. So, that's my opinion, as a lurking heterosexual. Not an "apparent" heterosexual, but an honest-to-goodness heterosexual. I'm just saying...


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RE: Design layout problems

  • Posted by rhodium New England Z6 (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 14, 10 at 10:48

You guys/gals are really sensitive.

The views expressed here from all perspectives are ones I have heard before, and are not surprising or shocking at all.

I do agree with the suggestion for further discussion on the Hot Topics forum and not herein the LD forum.


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RE: Design layout problems

Duly continued on Hot Topics.

But by the way, Lynnski, I am at the other end of the child raising adventure, and raised my daughter just as you plan to do and as QBC would like. My daughter is turned on to gardening. I'll leave the other things she's turned on to out of it for now.

But save my rant. You may need it in ten years.

KarinL

Here is a link that might be useful: More here


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