GrenDeL0501
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:39 am
Location: Memphis, Tn

Noob gardener, hoping to make afew less mistakes in Memphis

Hello everyone,
I am a new homeowner. After putting alot of time and effort into the inside of my house, its now time to focus on the outside. Man does it have issues..... drainage, rotting retaining wall, neglected flower beds and a grassless backyard. I'll be busy all summer..... -helpsos-

Lets all stare at pictures and giggle.
Main flower bed
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v449/Sj_Grendel/IMG_7982-1.jpg[/img]
Mail box flower bed
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v449/Sj_Grendel/IMG_7949.jpg[/img]
Retaining wall and backyard issues....
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v449/Sj_Grendel/IMG_7998.jpg[/img]
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v449/Sj_Grendel/IMG_7988.jpg[/img]
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v449/Sj_Grendel/IMG_7993.jpg[/img]
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v449/Sj_Grendel/IMG_7973.jpg[/img]

I joined the forum to get some answers about gardening and fixing up my flower beds. I'm definetly new to this, and guaranteed to make LOTS of mistakes. I've done a decent amount of reading over the last few months covering all kinds of topics like landscaping, drainage, retaining walls, plants and gardening, and I feel I have enough of a grasp to get started. So, lets get dirty!!


Progress so far I have completly dug up the flower beds, I figured because the weeds had completly taken over, it would be best to dig out 8-12" of the bed and completly replace with a fresh mixture. I added brick edging (the same that lines the mailbox bed) to the main flower bed. I also laid weed barrier. I refilled the beds partially with a mixture of Evergreen top soil and potting soil.

Gutted flower beds and removed a 6-8" of soil.
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v449/Sj_Grendel/IMG_8028.jpg[/img]
[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v449/Sj_Grendel/IMG_8046.jpg[/img]

GrenDeL0501
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:39 am
Location: Memphis, Tn

Some hindsight critiques of what I have done so far
1.) I think I need to either remove or relay the weed barrier, I placed it too deep ~3" or so. And did not properly till before hand. If I do go back and remove it, it is going to be a pain to get all of the garden staples that hold it in place. I'm hoping a tiller won't get damaged if all aren't able to be removed.
2.) Soil mixture, to replace the soil that I removed out of the beds, I used a 50/50 mixture of Evergreen brand topsoil and potting mix. I believe now that I should have used alittle manure, humus, and maybe some of the original soil. (as clay filled as it was)



[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v449/Sj_Grendel/DSCF2625.jpg[/img]
Yesterday a large order of plants I have selected for my beds arrived. We have rain for the next few days so I have awhile to think about what I will do, and I'm debating on removing the weed barrier, trying to get the staples up, and then tilling the beds (adding humus, manure and maybe soil conditioner for the high clay content in Memphis).
I figure its best to go back and do those things now before I plant all those plants and run the risk of either losing them or having to dig them up later.

GrenDeL0501
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:39 am
Location: Memphis, Tn

I really meant for this to be in the introduction section.... I fail.

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Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

Your original post may have been moved here, so you could get answers to your questions.

The only suggestion I have for you would be to get rid of the weed barrier. Its presence will cause problems and won't do any good to prevent weeds. At least that has been my experience. Removing the fabric after your plants are in place will be troublesome.

Black plastic laid as a weed barrier on the surface of the soil, and then covered by a thick layer of mulch helps somewhat, but it wouldn't be appropriate to use in an area where you intend to till or dig in the future. You can plant through it by cutting an x wherever you want to place a plant.

Just planting whatever plants you want in an area, and then covering the soil with 4" or so of good mulch will suppress weed growth as well as the fabric weed barriers, and it won't inhibit future tilling or digging. JMO. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

cynthia_h
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Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

No, no "fail"! You did put it in the Introduction section. However, the subject of the discussion is definitely Landscaping, and some of our members peruse the overall forum by topic, esp. if they have a particular interest (maybe Landscaping? :) ).

The thread was moved, with a marker in Introductions so that it could be found by anyone (perhaps you?) looking for it again, to garner the best possible viewership. Unfortunately, two major factors are working against you this weekend:

1) Horrible storms in the midsection of the country, wiping out power, at least one airport terminal building (St. Louis), and perhaps roads as well. I'm not sure of the exact storm damage from eastern Oklahoma on a diagonal path to New England, but the radar images of the wind and rain intensity look overwhelming. Without power, or with damage to homes and roads, it may be that viewership is down this weekend.

2) Easter weekend tends to draw people's attention to the prospect of either hosting guests or preparing to be guests in someone else's home. Even if it's "just relatives" coming, I don't know a single woman in this country--or any other--who doesn't go into a cleaning tizzy when company is coming. And anyone else in that household also has work to do under the circumstances! :wink:

Hold tight and, in a couple of days, I'm sure there will be some good responses here. I just hope you're OK, given all the serious weather near your abode.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

GrenDeL0501
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:39 am
Location: Memphis, Tn

Thanks guys, I appreciate the replies.

Also, thanks for showing the thread in both areas, as landscaping is definetly my main issue. This thread is meant as a basic introduction to me, my yard and the problems that I'm working on this summer. I guess I suck at introductions and have a tendency to get right to the facts. ;)

For now I am working on the placement of the plants I have, I have a hard time visualizing where I am going to place everything, and how it will look in the end.

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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Agree with Kisal re the landscape fabric... maybe helps this year and then turns into a big pain. For the size beds you are talking about, I wouldn't bother with a tiller, just get busy with fork and shovel. Probably would help to add a little natural soil back with some compost, composted manure, etc.

If you aren't totally committed to the foundation bed next to the house the way it is, I would think about making it a bit bigger-- deeper and extending a little farther around the corner. People usually make foundation plantings too small and end up with a narrow strip of plants in a straight line against a big house. It's all out of scale and ends up looking like a bunch of soldiers lined up. Give your self room for some shrubs and a more naturalistic style of planting.
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tomf
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Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 12:15 pm
Location: Oregon

Working on new section of yard.

Welcome and have fun. I would get a bunch of compost to add to the beds.

GrenDeL0501
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:39 am
Location: Memphis, Tn

rainbowgardener wrote:Agree with Kisal re the landscape fabric... maybe helps this year and then turns into a big pain. For the size beds you are talking about, I wouldn't bother with a tiller, just get busy with fork and shovel. Probably would help to add a little natural soil back with some compost, composted manure, etc.

If you aren't totally committed to the foundation bed next to the house the way it is, I would think about making it a bit bigger-- deeper and extending a little farther around the corner. People usually make foundation plantings too small and end up with a narrow strip of plants in a straight line against a big house. It's all out of scale and ends up looking like a bunch of soldiers lined up. Give your self room for some shrubs and a more naturalistic style of planting.
I'd love to make the bed larger, but that would involve taking down and rebuilding part of the brick retaining wall that surrounds the bed, and also the wall on the left side of the beds has the gas line under it, so I will probably leave that bed as it is.

[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v449/Sj_Grendel/FlowerBed_3.jpg[/img]

I do however, intend to add a new bed on the right side of my drive way, a small bed, maybe plant a Encore Azalea.
I also intend to add some planter areas to the backyard, inside my new retaining wall.

I'm adding planters every where I can, I want some color in my backyard!

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