margielewis
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Location: Newfoundland

Gross backyard! I need advice/help on landscape please

Hi everyone. I am new this forum. I just purchased a house that has an ugly blank slate backyard. I would like to make my backyard inviting. I have no idea how to design/layout the space and would welcome suggestions so thank you for any responses. I figured out photobucket and think I have added the link to some photos so you should be able to access it below.The first picture is of my back yard which is approximately 73 ft long x35 ft wide, give or take a few feet at the very back which is narrower. I plan on adding a deck like the one in the picture below so it will reduce my yard size to about 57 ft x 28 ft. The second photo is the diagram I drew.I also suck at using any of the online landcape programs so please excuse the mess in my diagram - I really wish I could use those programs and would love to see my diagram done correctly lol. My house is located on the North side of the city and from the front to back runs north as well. The sun comes up on the back of my house about 5:30 a.m. and sets on the front of my house about 9 p.m. I live in Newfoundland and think my Zone is 4b. Winter is very unpredictable. Sometimes we have 15 ft of snow and other years none. There may be a snowcover before heavy frost but often not. There will often be mild periods during the winter which lead to freezing and thawing. Spring is a time of indecision; in fact, there is no spring as we go right from winter to summer weather.Summer is fairly cool with warm days and cool nights. The temperatures are low usually with a high being around 20 to 25 degrees C and there is a constant wind. Autumn is often wet. Plants need to be hardy that's for sure. I also live by the ocean if that maters. I have no idea about soil ph but most of the island has soil which is quite shallow, stony, and acidic. The land running along the fence in my back yard is usually wet as it seems like a drain ditch. The soil closest to the back of the house is rocky. I would love to see a seating area, fire pit, arbour and a water feature in my back yard as well as a stone path. I have a grandchild so I would also like to be sure he is safe and has a little room for playing. I hope this is enough information. As you can see I really need help.

https://s1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc368/margielewis1/

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rainbowgardener
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Here's your pictures:

[img]https://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc368/margielewis1/IMG_0591.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc368/margielewis1/mybackyardandland.jpg[/img]

Just a little tip: A huge block of type like that is really hard to read on a computer screen. You will make it much easier on folks and be more likely to get responses, if you just break it up into short paragraphs.

So along with: I would love to see a seating area, fire pit, arbour and a water feature in my back yard as well as a stone path.

what are you hoping to grow - flowers, trees, shrubs, herbs, veggies, lawn ...
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margielewis
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Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 9:00 pm
Location: Newfoundland

Thanks so much rainbowgardener for posting my photos. I am so green at this technology! I apologize for the long post as well.

I am open to suggestions on what to grow as , weird as it sounds weird but I would love to grow all of the things you mentioned but can't see how it might work in the space. I really am not a person who can visualize.

I love trees but don't like raking up the leaves because it hurts after a while (I have carpul tunnel) so would prefer something that doesn't lose leaves. I also prefer perinnals for that reason.

I would love a small kitchen garden with herbs and maybe a few veggies. I still want some lawn for my grandson to play on. It doesn't have to be a big space though.

Thanks again for any suggestions.

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rainbowgardener
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Your drawing is good. I clicked on it to enlarge and then printed it and it printed out full page and very clear.

To start with you have a nice sized deck roughly the size of mine. It gives you a lot of space for container gardening.

Here's one side of my deck, we added the frame for the hanging baskets:

[img]https://i602.photobucket.com/albums/tt102/rainbowgardener/4024%20Paddock%20garden/hanging_baskets.jpg[/img]

Here's the opposite side;

[img]https://i602.photobucket.com/albums/tt102/rainbowgardener/4024%20Paddock%20garden/planter_bench.jpg[/img]

attached trellis to the deck railing and built the long planter bench in front of it.

And I have containers all across the front and under the hanging baskets, 2 dozen containers in all. A lot of them have herbs in them. It's a great place to have herbs, just step out from the kitchen on to the deck and pick fresh herbs. That would be a good place for you to start, something you can easily do right now.

The next step for the rest of the yard would be hardscaping. Put in the path(s) seating area, water feature, etc first. Then you see what you have left to garden.

Your really rocky area next to the deck would be a good place to put in water feature, so you hear the sound of fountain while sitting on the deck and so that you aren't trying to garden it. I'm thinking of a small artificial pond, with maybe rock garden around it or gravel and containers.
Here's a large scale gorgeous e.g., but it could be done much smaller scale

[img]https://www.bulgarianbuildingservices.com/images/landscaping-pond-rock-garden.jpg[/img]

Take advantage of the really moist area and turn it into a rain garden, wetlands kind of space. The back of the house probably has a downspout from gutters. Run an extension out from that and capture some of your rain water. Plant it with things that like marshy-ness.

I'm thinking the space by the side of the garage would be a pretty natural spot to put seating area and fire pit. Maybe put a trellis against the garage if that is a solid blank wall. Plant a mixed hedge at the back of your property on that side to give some privacy and enclosure to the seating area. It would be a short easy path from deck steps to there.

How are we doing so far? :) That's your next couple seasons of work. Just keep the rest of it in lawn while you are working on this stuff.

And of course this is just thoughts off the top of my head. You want what ever will make you happy!
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tomf
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I would put something on the fence line between you and the house behind you so as to give yourself a little privacy and make you view more green.

margielewis
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My ugly back yard

Wow. I am grateful for all these suggestions. Great idea about planting the herbs on the deck. I love the look of the hanging baskets on the deck too and the water feature is amazing and would be perfect. I'm starting to feel like my yard could be pretty! I also agree that there needs to be something along the fence for privacy. Feeling very positive right now. Thanks again. Any suggestions about what to grow around the seating area and water feature for a zone 4 area?

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rainbowgardener
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If it were me, I would plant a mixed hedge along the back, at least on the half closest to the garage.

Since you aren't likely to be sitting out there in the winter (well, I wouldn't be anyway, but I'm not tough enough to live in Canada :) ), it doesn't matter if it is all evergreen. So you could put in a few evergreens (could be broadleaf evergreens like kalmia and rhododendron or more traditional like hemlock, falsecypress, juniper, etc), mixed in with some deciduous shrubs for spring flowers, fall color, habitat value, etc.

Native deciduous shrubs hardy to zone 4 (and big enough to help with the privacy) include serviceberry, red twig dogwood, hazlenut, spice bush, sand cherry, ninebark, vaciniuums, vibernums. All of them have habitat value in being attractive to birds, bees, butterflies, etc. And being native they are adapted to your conditions and will be hardy and carefree.

If you plant some shrubs and maybe a couple trees now, I wouldn't worry about other plantings until you get the hardscaping done.

I would start by finding a good native plant nursery and let them help you with what is available and grows well in your area. Here's some starting places I found online:

https://www.ecologyart.com/

https://www.nativeplantsource.com/

https://www.littleotter.com/

https://grow-wild.com/

and here's a really nice article with plant listings put out by the urban forestry dept in Toronto:

https://www.toronto.ca/trees/pdfs/Fact_2_How_to_Select_and_Buy_Native_Plants.pdf
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tomf
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I like the green space you made in your yard rainbow, plants on the bench seat, you are a plant addict. :wink:

margielewis
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Ugly backyard

Great flower suggestions. I read about some of the plants. My problem I guess is that I don't know what will be really big or small. I know they tell you the size etc. but since I don't know what any plants look like it makes it harder to visualize. I am soooo not green but really green if you know what I mean. Thanks again.

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rainbowgardener
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Have fun! A blank slate leaves lots of room for creativity! Keep us updated on what you do and how it all goes...
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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