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A blank slate makes it hard to get started...

Posted by peachymomo 9b (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 17, 10 at 14:58

This is the first time I've had a property that was flat and rectangular, I've always been on steep slopes with rocks or trees or other obstructions limiting what I was able to do. But by limiting my options I think it actually made it a lot easier to design. First I had to make the area hospitable to plants and by doing that I created structure and interest, which then made it a lot easier to choose which plants to put where. My standby has always been to build raised beds and terraces with rocks, and then fill them in with plants that I admire in other peoples' gardens.

Now I've been in my new house for more than a year and all I've done is re-plant the two front foundation beds and start a lot of plants in pots. I've been arranging and re-arranging them to see what I like and where they thrive. I got our plot map and measured all the buildings and paths and large plants and I've been drawing and discarding plan after plan. Finally I talked to my bf and he's agreed that it would be best to hire a professional, in fact he had a recommendation for someone he's known for years who works in the area and has designed a lot of attractive and low-maintenance landscapes. So I've gathered pictures of paths and patios and plants and arbors, I've picked out the plans that I drew that are most acceptable, and I've taken pictures of the property to bring to the meeting. Because I decided that a blank slate is too hard for me to take on alone, and this way I can have someone else do the heavy lifting ; )

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: A blank slate makes it hard to get started...

  • Posted by tibs 5/6 OH (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 17, 10 at 15:57

I agree. I find it easier when I am forced to design around some existing well, something. Too hard to make a decision when the sky is the limit. Let us know what happens!

RE: A blank slate makes it hard to get started...

I was in exactly the same spot six years ago, and have never for a moment regretted the decision to hire a professional.

It's easy for me to lay out garden beds when there are specific challenges to overcome, and that's what I'd always had. Then we moved to our current home, and I was faced with a flat, wide-open rectangle. I was hoping to increase the sense of depth in the back yard (the lot is wide and shallow), but couldn't wrap my brain around how to accomplish it in that blank space.

I was lucky enough to find a landscape designer who wanted to work with me rather than for me. I chose the plants and identified some elements I wanted to see, and she drew the master plan and sub-contracted the heavy lifting. Hope you're as lucky... do let us know how the meeting goes!

RE: A blank slate makes it hard to get started...

I think that's a great decision, and I can appreciate your dilemna. We had a big blank slate just like you describe. Flat as a pancake, full sun, and the only existing plantings were a few really horrible, overgrown foundation shrubs (which were the first things to go).

I've done it myself, and it looks OK...but I bet a pro would have been able to make suggestions to add more depth and layers. Flat is really hard, I agree!

RE: A blank slate makes it hard to get started...

Can I borrow your boyfriend? My husband would never agree to have somebody come in and design our flowerbeds/landscape. All he'd be worried about is how much it will cost him? He bellyached when I paid $50 for an hour's consultation from a Garden coach. Next thing he would worry about is how he'd have to do all that hard labor. Duh! Who's done all the yard work this year? ME! That's because he's knee replacement surgery on both knees.

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