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Ideas for sunny corner backyard (our 1st home!) :)

Posted by technoduckling CA, Zone 9 (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 15:37

Hi everyone! I've been lurking on the forum for a while now, and I'm happy to make my first official gardening post because we finally got our very own backyard! I'd really appreciate any help/ideas in design. :)

The location is in the South SF Bay area, Zone 9, the backyard corner receives bright sun throughout the day (has a tendency to dry out, south side I think). It used to be covered with bushes/shrubs but the previous owner cut them down, so it's just a bare corner fence covered with wood chips. The yard is right in front of the kitchen window. We recently replaced the front half of the yard with a new lawn, and cleared out an adjacent small herb/vegetable garden (right in front of the kitchen). At the far end of the backyard corner is an ugly telephone pole (on the neighbor's side, right next to the fence) that I really want to hide with a tall tree because that's the first thing you see looking out the kitchen window. I love gingko trees and was looking at the "Princeton Sentry" (male) variety because of its narrow/columnar shape so it wouldn't cut into the power lines. However, I heard from someone that I should NOT plant a gingko tree there because it will rob all the soil nutrients from surrounding plant beds/lawn/veg garden. Is that true?
I'll post some pictures of the yard with my notes as soon as I get home. :)

So excited! :)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ideas for sunny corner backyard (our 1st home!) :)

Hi. Congrats on your home and first backyard. How wonderful for you. I am not a designer, just a long-time gardener (but I did win a landscape design competition in New Orleans once!). Couple of thoughts: since your corner is in front of kitchen window you want it to be attractive year round. I guess your winters are mild so this might not be as much of a concern to have winter interest. Or did you mean the corner is immediately outside the window in which case you would not want to grow something tall to obstruct your view. or is it opposite the window? I would suggest at least some native plants that would attract birds and butterflies, as they are so much more interesting than just the plants. Hummingbirds too. As for the gingko tree, I understand they get very very tall. You might want to consider a multi trunk tree (do crape myrtles grow there?) or shrub which might hide the pole more. Or several of them to break up the scene.

RE: Ideas for sunny corner backyard (our 1st home!) :)

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 16, 12 at 2:36

Gingko trees are not alleopathic(growth inhibiting), so no issues there. I would caution against planting any trees whose height will obstruct power lines, not a good idea in general. Also, wouldn't an evergreen tree screen the view better throughout the year? In my opinion Gingko trees look best and give the longest show if planted with an evergreen back drop and out of the winds, if possible. Otherwise the fall color can be cut short.

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