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add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

Posted by rouge21 5b (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 27, 11 at 17:53

I have included a couple of pictures showing two different views of my small front yard (as of October 24). I know the remaining jigsaw sections currently having lawn is small in terms of area but what is very desirable is the aspect from the sidewalk up to the line joining the lamp post to the evergreen yew is FULL sun i.e. sun from 10 am until 6 pm. I have no area in my much larger back yard which has much more extensive gardens that gets full sun so I would like to add a garden (albeit small) to this front yard which can support wonderful full sun plants.

My first thought as you can see from the red outline is butting up against the existing interlock on the sidewalk side of the lamp post and going out on an angle towards this sidewalk.

What do you think and is there another configuration I should consider? (I cant get too close to the driveway as it still is used by 'goofy' teenagers for basketball).

[You can see the neighbour's lot line in the first picture ie the straight line of cut grass on the right side.]

Photobucket

Photobucket


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

I postulate that the bed you propose will be a negative for your yard (if street appeal is a concern; it would not support your front entrance, but would be in combat with it.) I propose an alternative...see yellow line. From that point on it would depend entirely on what you put in the bed as to whether it's a positive or a negative.

Also, I suggest that you look in the back yard again. Are there low hanging branches that could be removed? A "no good" tree or big weeds that could be removed?

front lawn garden


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

Yardviser, I do appreciate the prompt feedback and suggestion.

I have included another photo showing from above the area you have annotated (my pink marking is to approximate what your 'add-on' bounded by the yellow might look from this new angle...did I get it right?):

Photobucket

I have attempted to estimate the sun conditions in your suggested garden. This front yard faces north. This fact coupled with the overhanging eave and the proximity to the neighbour's home + our evergreen makes for a mishmash of sun exposure.

Our plan was to have at the centre of this new garden (my pink outline in the first post) an hibiscus bush or dwarf tree surrounded around the border edge by annual Salvia 'Mystic Spires'.

Having the garden as you propose with some sort of an anchor bush or dwarf tree necessarily so much closer to the front window will hide/obscure the front porch and window.

The backyard is surrounded by very mature, very tall trees (several just beyond our fence in a public park which short of radical removal by a lightning strike are there to stay for the foreseeable future).


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

Yes, Rouge, you got the line correct.

I see no place within your original red line or my yellow line for a big or tall anything. That is not to say that you will not do it or others won't recommend it. But to my thinking anything big would detract from, compete with, or obstruct something you already have going on.

Are you going to stop breathing if you don't have this plant? If that's the case, I'd pull it far away from all your other things (and make sure it's tree form--preferably multi-trunk) and set it out by the front walk. I'd make sure that the canopy is above one's head (7' or 8' ground clearance) so that a person can view through it and beyond to your house. See pink line...
front lawn garden


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

rouge, 6 hours is considered "full sun." So take another look at the yard and see which areas get 6 hours of sun.

But! in addition, there is something called "bright shade." I have daylilies (which supposedly require 6 hours of sun to flower) growing where they get only 2 hours' sun at midday; the rest of the day they are shaded by the house or maple trees. However, even with only 2 hours' direct sun, they flower quite happily -- because it's "bright shade."


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

Thanks for the follow-ups.

I haven't been telling the whole truth.

Right now I so much enjoy all there is to do with gardening. My sunniest locations in the back (4 hours of direct sun) have been developed ie I have run out of space. So my desire to find new garden territory out front is selfish ie I want to have the opportunity to plant some perennials that thrive in a truly sunny location. [Whew! I feel better getting that off my chest ;)]

I solicited advice from this forum hoping to find a spot which not only would serve my needs but *also* enhance the curb appeal of my property. I am hoping they will not be mutually exclusive. Having a flowering tree as part of this addition is not on my bucket list. Yardvicer I agree with your concerns and I do like the suggestion of the standalone garden at the front corner with two edges orthogonal and the curve forming the connection between the two.


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

Another suggestion to consider. Leave the "medallion" as it is in front of your entry door. Then mark off a 3' or 4' corridor of lawn (whatever you prefer), echoing the perimeter of those curves. Remove the sod behind that to the lot lines between you and the neighbour, and to the sidewalk. What you would be left with then is a new big sunnier front garden bed starting under the living room window, wrapping around the edges and terminating nearer the driveway. Done in a certain way, it could actually give you a courtyard feel with added privacy.


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

I thought your objective was clear enough from the outset, precluding moving closer to the house, and I also thought first of something like what Adrienne is suggesting.

I have to say I find your original "tongue" particularly unattractive - a separate bed, anything from Yardvisor's purple corner to the shape Adrienne is describing, seems a far better approach.

I think I would make the new bed pretty big - the entire frontage of the property would be about right :-) I say this because (a) I sense you have a lot of plants you want to grow, and (b) I think that adding another small bed to the two small beds you already have will start to make this yard look a bit polka-dotted.

Will you also outline this bed with your paving stones? That would be an option. I would draw a plan view of your yard, and play with shapes till you have it right. Stick with the aesthetic standard that got you your current paver shape.

Karin L


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

adriennemb, I do want to be sure of the details of your suggestion. Is it possible for you to 'sketch' out this corridor you describe on one of my posted photographs given above?


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

like this (new red line)?...
front lawn garden


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more garden in a small front yard

Yardviser, I bet that is what adriennemb has described. Thanks for that drawing. Wow, that is quite an addition! Exciting and a bit daunting at the same time.

What first comes to mind given that the plan has the garden coming right down to the sidewalk is what common edging would look best.

(If you look carefully at the photo in which I 'wrote in' the approximate hours of sun in one of the suggested configs you can see somewhat the stone edging used there. I am not sure if this is substantial enough given the length of this new extensive perimeter).


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

Well analyzed Karin as I do now agree with much of your post.

Given that this is the front, there is less room for error than might be the case if this were the backyard (and FWIW I am pleased with what I have done there). And so I am not sure I am up to making the jump to such an increase in garden bed out front. It would take lots of planning to get just the right selection of plants so that it really does look right ie that it does increase curb appeal. I have too often made the mistake of obtaining interesting plants but often just putting them in where there is room.

I feel it would be safer to go with Yardviser's 'purple corner' and make it quite large. For some reason it seems to me that it would be easier to plan and plant in a space like the 'purple corner' as compared to the very wide ribbon that Adrienne has proposed. Does that make sense?


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

I tried to sketch it out on my computer but I am not nearly as literate with these programs as perhaps I should be. My pathetic attempts are below. Ignore the green strips - I was attempting to erase the overlarge margins, lol. Hopefully you can see a smaller planting bed in the first photo, a more ambitious, deeper bed in the second with extension into the boulevard. So yup, Yard had it pretty much nailed, thank you. Remember that the corridor can really be whatever size you feel is right for you. It's been my experience that it is much easier to mow one swath of grass than to tend multiple small beds. And if you have "garden fever", the large single bed will take very little time to fill with plants. A soldier row of those same pavers would make a nice, clean edging while also referencing the walkway.

Broader grass corridor More narrow grass corridor, extension across sidewalk to boulevard.


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

Thanks for the adrienne for your efforts. The boulevard is a no go for me but I for sure will consider the garden 'ribbon' that you have suggested as well as Yardviser's corner garden. I think my overhead shot distorts the size of my front yard i.e I think it look larger than it really is and so the garden ribbon might look too narrow; not substantial enough....not sure. I will have to mark out with paint the possibilities. I was going to start digging this month or early next but I think I will need to ponder this over the winter.


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

I agree with the idea of making a swath of grass/path following your existing shapes, and gardening the rest of the space. I also agree with a brick or stone edging. Both those things worked very well for me. I don't have a sidewalk on the outer edge; my constraint is a deep ditch, which forms the outer limit of the garden space. I like the relatively straight line it makes as the edge.

You don't have to do it all at once - start with Yard Advisor's corner bed. Get that set up and planted and keep thinking about the rest. Over the following year - or two or three..., you can gradually extend the corner bed towards the house bed, and along the sidewalk. If you do it gradually, it won't feel like such a big change/lot of work but rather like a natural evolution for the space. That's the way I did mine. Initially, I created a big bed in front and a narrow one along the driveway. A couple of years later, a small one was added behind the driveway border where the driveway curves plus another small bed was added in the N&E corner of the property. After a couple of years it was clear that all of those needed to be made more coherent and connected. So I measured a consistent distance from the edge of the main, large bed to eastablish the ribbon of grassy path that ties it all together. The ditch limited the outer ('moat') bed to a very narrow shape but the brick edge gives it more definition and it all works quite well I think. I think something similar would work well for you as shown in Yard Advisors drawing.

Here is a link that might be useful: outer garden bed and path


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

I will have to mark out with paint the possibilities.

Another easy way is to use a garden hose.


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

'Missing', the garden hose technique never really worked for me in that my hose was maybe to rigid (or not enough?) and not long enough to 'see' the whole shape.


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start at the corner

Thanks "Woody" for more confirmation of "Adrienne's" grass swath layout which can include "Yardviser's" corner bed.

[I hadn't realized until you pointed it out that the corner garden can be done first and can be included in the expansion as shown in "Adrienne's" 'ribbon'. (So doing only the corner first is not wasted time but rather could be considered as the first step in the execution of the whole plan)]

It is only at this corner that we will likely include a dwarf/compact tree or tall shrub of some sort as it is positioned away from front of the house and so will not block a view in or out.


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

As I think I wrote in one of my posts, my overhead pics seem to exaggerate the amount of room that is actually available. This is best seen looking at the 'bottleneck' formed between the evergreen yew and the edge of the interlock of the 'medallion. It is 4 feet. So if my ribbon of grass is 3 feet than that leaves of course 1 foot next to the yew which is continually growing.


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

As I think I wrote in one of my posts, my overhead pics seem to exaggerate the amount of room that is actually available. This is best seen looking at the 'bottleneck' formed between the evergreen yew and the edge of the interlock of the 'medallion. It is 4 feet. So if my ribbon of grass is 3 feet than that leaves of course 1 foot next to the yew which is continually growing.

Now that's a surprise. Your pavers look just like the 6"x9" ones I use and their 6"x6" siblings.

No garden is static. No sooner does something achieve a desirable fullness than it begins approaching the dreaded too large stage.

So now is the time to think about whether you really want that yew to get much larger, how much larger is acceptable (does it really deserve that much space in your tiny yard?), and what you might replace it with when the day comes. Keep this in mind when you plan for the new bed.

My parents once had a house with a tiny, pie-shaped backyard. Few of the neighbors had fences at that time, and not all had plantings at the property lines. Along part of the boundary with one neighbor, my parents added a row of several high-bush cranberry (viburnum trilobum). Though only 36-42" tall and deciduous, they made a good dividing line without being too assertive.

If you remove the yew, you could plant something similar in that general area. Not tall enough, entensive enough, or opaque enough to be anti-social, but providing a a bit of a backdrop for flowers on your side of the bed, and concealing part of the neighbor's driveway.


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

Thanks all for the feedback.

The Yew has got to stay. It is the perfect height and shape to take a couple of strings of holiday lights in the fall. It is relatively slow growing and can be easily pruned.

I think I will do the consensus i.e. blue = perennial garden and green ribbon = foot path:

Photobucket


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

I like it. I actually like that the ribbon of green takes a left turn at the driveway, but you could also continue to the driveway, mirroring the curve of the pavers.

I would suggest that since this is DIY, you could do it in two phases so you don't have too much new bed (=lots of weeding and watering the first year) at one time. I would do the front part to the yew. It seems to me that it is not a given yet than you want more room to plant shade-lovers, and a deep bed like that is some work to design and plant and maintain. I'd separate them by at least a year, a luxury that is not available when you use a contractor.

And then see if you really want more plants vs some open space.

Karin L


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RE: add-on garden although small would have rare full sun

Thanks Karin for the vote of confidence.

My reason for leaving a ribbon next to the driveway (not seen)down to the sidewalk (almost top right of the photo) is for a couple of reasons:

- the driveway often serves as a basketball court ;)
- a place for snow to be piled in the winter

So I was just thinking that a 3 foot buffer of grass might help 'protect' the garden in that area.

There is no doubt that the my blue shading exaggerates the amount of area to be turned into garden. That is it isn't nearly as big a job as you might think.


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