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Swimpy's Landscaping Thread

 
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 09:41 pm
@littlek,
Or lower walls and some slope but not as much as before, with groundcovers and a few large pretty shrubs? Hard to talk about this from afar.
0 Replies
 
Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 07:30 am
@CalamityJane,
That's how we've dealt with ithe slopes for the past umpteen years. All of the shrubs died. The privacy hedge provided too much shade. I want to move in a new direction. I'll have to rethink this thing. Surely, there is a solution that I can afford.
0 Replies
 
Swimpy
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 07:33 am
@ossobuco,
Regrading isn't going to help that much. There just isn't room. It may be possible to make the wall less than 90', though. I'll have to talk with the wall installer.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 04:00 pm
@Swimpy,
I have to go back and look at where I said about regrading - back in a minute.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 04:28 pm
@ossobuco,
I've looked four times, I must just be missing it Shocked .

I think what I meant, bear with me here, is that if you are holding soil behind a retaining wall, say 3 feet high, to keep the soil in back relatively flat, as in a terrace, it's possible the soil in front could be set, say, six inches higher and grade down/slope down, say to the sidewalk (or wherever), thus the exposed wall would only be... 2-6". (I'm ignoring for point of discussion that soil levels behind the wall are generally set a few inches down to leave room for any additions like mulch, etc.) But I'm only talking about a light slope in front, and that would depend on room to do it in. Also, I don't know if that pencils out re the cost of concrete footing now, as that would go up a bit, perhaps.

I'm going to stop with the wall talk since it is from afar and I'll only confuse both of us. Will only add that I don't know about practices in Iowa, but in CA we would put a moisture block behind the wall and either weepholes or a perforated pvc drainline arrangement with drain outlet(s) to keep down the hydraulic pressure behind the wall; we feel it's very important, especially if the surface water is draining towards the wall... sometimes add a drain above as well. Here on my new mexico lot, my small retaining wall holds back sand, so no weepholes needed - the water will always go down before it'll press much against the wall. Plus, not much rain here. Anyway, it's not that big a deal, they're building the wall already. The contractors you talk to may already plan on doing that, or have some reason I don't know about not to, such as good surface drainage parallel to the wall, but you might ask.

Back to paying attention to trees and shrubs and perennials.
Swimpy
 
  4  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 06:59 pm
@ossobuco,
For the time being, I'm tabling the retaining wall. The first quote I got was $6300 for just one wall. A bit steep for my budget. A second guy is getting back with me on Monday. I don't expect that he will be that much less, if at all. I may just have the weeds and shrubs cut down and put black plastic on the slopes until next spring. That is unless I come up with a better plan.

I need to figure out what trees to plant in the front yard. I'm open for suggestions. The trees need to be deciduous, flowering, disease resistant and smallish.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 07:52 pm
@Swimpy,
Not to belabor this, but have you considered a shorter wall, say, 18" to 2 feet, and a more moderate slope? that's easier for planting and less expensive to install.
Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 08:54 pm
@ossobuco,
I 'm willing to discuss options. No here though. I think it's impossible to convey through words or pictures the conditions "on the ground", as they say.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 09:31 pm
@Swimpy,
Swimpy wrote:

I need to figure out what trees to plant in the front yard. I'm open for suggestions. The trees need to be deciduous, flowering, disease resistant and smallish.


How about a Ginkgo - they're very slow growing, deciduous, disease resistant
and grow in zone 4 to 8

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3a/Ginkgo_Tree_Ginkgo_biloba_Autumn_Leaves_Vertical_2000px.jpg/398px-Ginkgo_Tree_Ginkgo_biloba_Autumn_Leaves_Vertical_2000px.jpg
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 09:38 pm
@CalamityJane,
This is nice too
http://oakmediacreations.com/myg/plants/closeup.mv?PlantID=000186
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 09:53 pm
@CalamityJane,
gingkos eventually can get huge though.. well, 35-50 feet or higher, though not fast. Depends on what you mean by small...

(I like gingkos myself. Check the varieties, they have different forms.)
0 Replies
 
Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 11:03 am
@CalamityJane,
Ginko's grow around here. The fruit are particularly foul smelling, though. They come in male and female, so the males are the way to go.
0 Replies
 
neko nomad
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 07:19 pm
@Swimpy,
A redbud should do nicely up front:

http://www.porkyfarm.com/images/qkz17473.jpg

littlek
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 08:50 pm
@neko nomad,
I was thinking about redbud too, Neko. Dogwoods are good. And the crabapple idea is as well if researched properly. Another lovely is the stewartia. And if three season interest with out flowers might be considered, japanese maples are nice as well.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 09:22 pm
@littlek,
You guys are right, redbud would be cool. (Well, I don't know anything wrong about it myself, love the leaves, the form, the colors, pretty with the house). I really only know california redbud, but here in my new area we have Cercis canadensis (I think, or maybe it is oklahomensis, or did I make that up?). I think that photo Neko put in is probably canadensis (I didn't check and can't see the post from here.) Anyway, don't know the mature height of canadensis.

Broke my heart, I took a seed pod from a Cercis in Rome and tried to grow it once I got home (this is probably a no-no for several reasons). No luck.

Also, maybe I should back off about the gingko being too big eventually. It's just that there was a humongous one across the street from my brother in law's.
I remember the upright gingko (seem to remember the name 'saratoga') being used as a street tree in Georgetown.. very pretty there. The pyramidal one might get too wide.
Swimpy
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 11:30 pm
@ossobuco,
Redbud is one of my favorite trees. We had one,, but a storm took it down. They are delicate and need to be in a sheltered area. The front of the house would be too exposed.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 10:43 am
@Swimpy,
That makes sense.. too bad about the fragility.
0 Replies
 
neko nomad
 
  3  
Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 03:17 pm
A lilac, http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v188/nekonomad/th_nekonomad064A.jpg, perhaps? They're pretty
rugged, come in a selection of colors, and grow to about fifteen feet high, though the one I'm showing
here is maintained at a little over six feet. Plus, It doesn't have the downside of dropping fruit like the flowering crab.
Click pic for a fullscreen sized view.
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 04:15 pm
@neko nomad,
I love lilac, they are such beautiful trees and the flowers are so fragrant -
very nice choice, neko nomad.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 05:30 pm
@neko nomad,
Pretty lilac, especially abloom. I'm no expert on their form or fragility, having only had them as shrubs in my yard as a child. The look of the leaves is a little soft for me, aesthetically, but that's a personal take.

I've been looking over some past notes, so as not to reinvent the wheel.

I see I mentioned broken concrete walls, before; they're quite easy to build if one has a source of broken concrete pavers, but I think that's a no for your area, swimpy.

On trees, a few clips from past comments -
-- from page 6 and 7
*Cornus
Carpinus
*Crataegus hawthorn
Eleagnus augustifolia russian olive (considered ia problem many places/osso)
*Malus flowering crabapple
*Prunus
Rhus sumac
*crabapples, and flowering quince
asterisks those I want to check..

--- crabapples - One with high disease resistance that goes to about 20 ft. at maturity is Malus Strawberry Parfait, seen HERE. There's another one called M. 'Sugar Tyme" that has white flowers, gets to 18 feet by 15 feet wide. (also with high disease resistance).
--- Actually, all those on that Frank Schmidt link look interesting, even the tiny M. sargentii 'Tina'.... I'd check its disease resistance though, as Sunset lists sargentii as merely having "good disease resistance" (choices I see are fair, moderate, good, and high).

--- Well, Pyrus kawakamii doesn't have fruit either - I had one. Somewhat more attractive form than the Bradfords. Was always worrying about fireblight... - not sure that is a problem in Iowa.

-- If you don't want fruit, hmmm. Maybe a Crataegus (hawthorn). They have berries, but I didn't find them any big deal. The hawthorns can have a very nice standard form, take pruning well. They do have thorns, but I didn't mind that. I had a row of washington hawthorn trees (in standards) back in northern CA; I liked them a lot (they take wind...). They could also be in groves, or, say, sets of three (picture sort of isoceles triangle points).

-- I haven't looked up what non fruiting Prunus trees would make it in Iowa....
-- haven't looked up quince, speaking of fruit
-- wondering where I got that mention of cornus being ok for iowa..

Thinking -
I also had some Laurus nobilis trees (saratoga) - a lifetime's worth of bay leaves. Wonder if they grow there..

Wonder if persimmon makes it. Probably not, besides the fruit. I just have liked their shape and leaves (gorgeous one in front of a Neutra house I did a garden plan for).

Never mind, I have some googleing to do.







 

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