ahwinz
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Landscape overhaul

Hello all,

We are finally getting around to doing our landscape after gutting and redoing 80% of the interior of our house. Right now there is an overgrown flower bed, a magnolia that was butchered in the front yard, the back has two huge maples, a fig tree and a dogwood, and lots and lots of scrub around the drainage easement. Lawn is weeds, grass and clover. We are thinking of flower and veg. gardens a fire area, spot for a playset, fence (bordered on sides and back by neighbor fences). Attached is a rough sketch of what's currently there. Thanks for your help and suggestions!
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Sketch of current landsape.
Sketch of current landsape.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Landscape overhaul

nice sketch and welcome to the Forum! But there's nothing we can say without knowing where you are located. There are hardly any garden questions that can be discussed without regard to location/ climate. Also we need to know which direction is North in your diagram.

Is the grey area driveway? Some size scale/ dimensions would help a lot too.
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ahwinz
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Re: Landscape overhaul

Rainbow, thank you. I should have added as much info in the first place. North is diagonal running from the deck to the front of the house towards the flowerbed. We are in SE Virginia: moderate winters (usually 6" snow a year, hot humid summers, spring and fall are tossups). Grey is driveway, dark green is scrub, circles are trees/shrubs. There are a couple of low lying areas that I need to fill/grade that retain water, primarly in the large open area near the bottom corner. There is also a well that serves our Geothermal system by the deck. House for scale is 36' by 52'. Total land is 1/3 acre. Attached is a 3D ortho of the house for another visual. We do have one pooch.
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Ortho.jpg

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Landscape overhaul

Kind of an odd shaped parcel and oddly oriented to directions....

So the flower bed is on the north side of the house and is pretty shady? The open area you mentioned that is low lying also gets the best sun? The deck faces west-ish and gets afternoon sun, but is shaded by the trees and shrubs in back?

So here's just some thoughts of a plan off the top of my head. Obviously there's nothing "right" about this, pretty much personal preferences. It is upside down now, but click on it for right side up and better view.
IMG_1344.JPG
So what I was trying for was putting the veggie gardens where the best sun is. If you build raised beds, that solves a lot of the drainage problems. You just may need to build them taller than you might otherwise, like maybe 18" or so. I gave you the configuration of raised beds I have in one section of my yard :) It's 144 sq ft or so of raised beds (four 4x8' beds, with a 4x4 in the middle), which is plenty to start with if you don't have a lot of veggie growing experience. The playset is close to the house and near deck and patio for ease in watching the children and getting to them if needed. The fire pit with seating is tucked away in the most remote/ secluded area. You can have lots of flowers and flowering shrubs along the fence line, but especially for the S/E fence line, keep them low so you don't shade out those veggies. Your existing flower bed is tiny; it could be expanded to be a lovely shade garden.

Hopefully others will chime in with their thoughts!
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pinksand
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Re: Landscape overhaul

It might also be nice to add a flower bed along the patio to soften the edge of the hardscape and make it feel like a more intimate space. I love RBG's idea of expanding the bed in the front to be more appropriately in scale with the house. The flower beds along the property line would be nice too, but I find that I enjoy the garden surrounding my patio the most just because I get to see it up close most often. For the patio bed I'd mix in some nice shrubs for structure and work with a nice swooping curve.
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Landscape overhaul

Nice thought, pinksand. For a flower bed next to a place you sit, be sure to plant some fragrant flowers! Nicotiana (ornamental tobacco) is a nice one, because its flowers are closed in the heat of the day and open up and pump out fragrance in the late afternoon and evening, when you are most likely to be sitting there. It is an annual, but readily self-sows, very easy care. Petunias are easy to get as bedding plants and just pop in. Tuberose and gardenia are very fragrant, tender perennials that you would have to grow in pots and bring in for the winter. In the fall you could plant bulbs for spring -- daffodils/jonquils/narcissus are very fragrant as are oriental lilies and hyacinth.
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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pinksand
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Re: Landscape overhaul

Great suggestion RBG! There are some hardier varieties of gardenia. I have 'Pinwheel' which I don't personally find to be as attractive as the more traditional double blooming varieties but it is fragrant and has survived the past two winters for me. It hasn't proven to be very "evergreen" so far but maybe once it gets more established.

Here's a link to some hardy gardenia options https://www.gardenia.net/guide/hardy-gardenia-varieties
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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