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Swimpy's Landscaping Thread

 
 
Swimpy
 
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 12:28 pm
Oh boy. I hope you enjoy this. I hope I enjoy this. Im thinking of hiring a landscaper to install some retaining walls and a patio in my yard. You're welcome to come along for the ride.

So far, I've interviewed a landscaper. He's given me some ideas of what he recommends and he's given me a rough idea of the cost. His estimate is way over my measly budget, but we can do it in phases. The big parts will be done this Spring, the hardscape and removing a lot of trees. I'll take some pictures this weekend so you can see the before. When the plan is drawn up I'll post that too, if I can get it scanned or maybe he'll give me an electronic file.

The plants will have to be put in later as budget allows, but I'd appreciate any suggestions you can offer. Right now, the yard is overgrown. The bad part about that is there is little sun. The backyard is really dark even on a sunny day. We will be opening it up considerably, but it will still be pretty shady.

What I like about the yard now is that it is habitat for lots of birds and bunnies and such. I don't want to lose that so I'm looking for plants that will attract wildlife, especially birds.

For those of you that don't know, I live in Iowa along the Mississippi River. My house is on a bluff. The climate is typical Midwestern climate. It gets fairly cold in the winter and fairly hot in the summer. I want to stick with plants that would be native to this region. No exotics, if I can help it. We will be keeping a large red maple and two Japanese maples along with about ten large arbor vitaes that screen us from the neighbor. We also have some large azaleas and rhododendrons that will stay.

You'll see all that in the photos this weekend.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 22,422 • Replies: 370

 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 12:47 pm
Ha... I saw the title and said "oh boy!" (those exact words), then opened it up...

I loved following your kitchen remodel, looking forward to this.

And I may actually be able to contribute!! I have a super-shady back yard and have been actively researching what to put there for the past couple of years. I'm still far, far from being an expert but I can share some of the things I've figured out.
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 01:12 pm
Yeah!

This should be fun.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 01:52 pm
Looking forward to it.

Study the plan vigorously. Spend time staring at it and "walking it off", seeing how it feels as you picture where things will go. Moving some lines around now is the easiest time.
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Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 03:57 pm
Yea, I think it's going to be fun. The kitchen remodel went great. It's hard to believe that was two years ago.

Good point, osso. I have a very good feel for what he's got planned. It's pretty much what I had envisioned except he's added a couple more retaining walls.

There will be a fence replacing some of the arbor vitaes that screen our house from the neighbor's house. the tow houses are very close together. the fence might need to be 8-9' high. I can't imagine what that's going to look like. I think it will open up the pathway on that side of the house because the trees are huge and eat up a lot of space. I'm looking forward to hanging things on my fence and dancing naked in front of the window of course.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 03:58 pm
Re: Swimpy's Landscaping Thread
Swimpy wrote:
Oh boy. I hope you enjoy this. I hope I enjoy this


Sounds interesting, Swimpy!
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 04:35 pm
Re: Swimpy's Landscaping Thread
Swimpy wrote:
Oh boy. I hope you enjoy this. I hope I enjoy this. Im thinking of hiring a landscaper to install some retaining walls and a patio in my yard. You're welcome to come along for the ride.


come along for the ride

hell we want to sit on the patio

good luck in your endeavour
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 05:05 pm
8 or 9 feet high? Is that code there?

In my old city you could go over code height if you asked for and were allowed a variance.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 05:18 pm
Anyway, glad his plan fits what you wanted, that's terrific.
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Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 06:30 pm
ossobuco wrote:
8 or 9 feet high? Is that code there?

In my old city you could go over code height if you asked for and were allowed a variance.


6' is code. They'll let you do 7' but he thinks that's not going to be high enough. If we need 8' we'll have to go to the zoning board of adjustments. We're going to have to do some experimenting to se how high it really needs to be.
0 Replies
 
Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 06:43 pm
Re: Swimpy's Landscaping Thread
djjd62 wrote:
Swimpy wrote:
Oh boy. I hope you enjoy this. I hope I enjoy this. Im thinking of hiring a landscaper to install some retaining walls and a patio in my yard. You're welcome to come along for the ride.


come along for the ride

hell we want to sit on the patio

good luck in your endeavour


You're welcome on my patio anytime, you know that.

Olga, Thanks. I hope you give me some tips.

One other thing I want to make room for is an herb garden. I've grown herbs in pots on the porch, but never had any place in the yard for them.
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 07:00 pm
be careful with herbs in the yard

that's what you will end up with, herbs respect no boundaries

it's kind of cool in some respects, we have something called a pineapple basil that regularily escapes it's plot, but it smells so nice when the lawn mower runs over it
0 Replies
 
Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 07:15 pm
There is a weed that grows around here that smells like pineapple. It's little flower even looks like a pineapple. I can't remember what its called. Probably pineapple weed.

I think I'd have to put the herb garden rigght outside the side door. I don't know how much sun it's going to get there after the trees come out, but it would be restrained by concrete.
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 07:28 pm
we have that weed here in ontario

now i'm curious to find out what it's called

at a plant exchange a few years back i got a plant from somebody, and all they could tell me was it was called eau de cologne, when you break the stems it smells like perfume (chanel, sort of), it grows like an herb and spreads everywhere

it's also nice to run over with the lawn mower
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 07:34 pm
You may know about this site already, Swimp, but it looks useful. I'm not sure of your exact region... so I didn't go that far in looking at it.
http://www.iowalivingroadway.com/NativePlants.asp



Consider herbs in BIG pots. A french lavender, for example, bought big enough, can get pretty big pretty fast. As the season passes, rip it out and put in some winter amusement.. but you'll have already hung lavender to dry...

My business partner, more of a mad gardener than I, or maybe more of a mad spender, always had large pots planted with various bulbs... magazine photo ready when they bloomed. Well, that is with a relatively small yard. What size yard do you have, Swimpy?

I admit to stupidity in dealing with freezes, as it didn't happen in the places I lived for decades. Well, occasionally, but not to knock off the plants.

The areas somewhat away from us that did have freezes had good plant lists in the Sunset Western Gardens book. So, I'm spoiled.
For example, in my Venice garden, I could plant chrysanthemums of various types, and cut them back as the year waned. then the same plant would fluorish the next year. I'm kind of glad I didn't plant out my yard yet here in ABQ, since it's been freezing for weeks now - I might have killed half of it by poor choices. I did plant a buddleia a while ago. Have no idea if it is dormant or dead as a doornail.

In LA, we often went for the cottage garden look - depending on the nature of the property and the nature of the owners. Lots of natives, lots of inground herbs, often roses, salvias up the kazoo... what could be quite the fulgent/rangy look, but often/sometimes arranged fairly formally given that the yard might be quite small and our sense of it was an almost formal layout right near the house. Basically formal disguised by verdant growth. Sometimes with a short slightly hedgy (or trimmable in a linear way) perimeter, say of ilex vomitoria.. or teucrium germander. (I'm just talking, I don't know your zone.)

Not saying you have to like that look - but now's a good time to think about what kind of garden look you do like - or develop it, if you've already thought that out.

Your goal may be low maintenance, which adds another twist.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 07:35 pm
Pineapple Weed

Eau De Cologne
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gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 07:39 pm
<gustav pulls up on his tractor, leans back, puts his feet on the wheel, hands behind head, and waits for the action to begin>
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 07:43 pm
Another landscaping thread! Weeeee!
0 Replies
 
Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 07:47 pm
Osso, what I like may have to take a backseet to what I can maintain. I definitely want an easy yard. I'm looking for flowering shrubs and low maintenance perennials. Right now my yard is pretty wild. I want it tamed and opened up. You'll understand better when I get some pictures up. I might even be able to post a short video, that is if it doesn't snow this weekend like there saying it will.

DJ, pineapple weed it is! Is the Eau de cologne the pineapple basil?
0 Replies
 
Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jan, 2007 07:49 pm
Hey, gus. You may be just the guy I need when the destruction begins. What's your rate?

Welcome, littlek. I'm glad you're here.
0 Replies
 
 

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