Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 2:20 pm
Location: Nova Scotia

new gardener, new garden

Hello gardeners,

I just moved to a place in the country on six acres of land ~ treed, brook, and open "meadow" as a back yard. There are several huge roundish shrubs (kind of have the needles of a yew, could be) up next to the house on the north and south side. Beyond the house, about thrity feet away there are some large fruit trees and some large cedars ~ some of them are standing flanked together, others are singlely here and there. There is at least a full acre of clear field as backyard. There are no flowers anywhere except for a bleeding heart and hosta on either side of the front door, flanked by (you guessed it) one of those huge green shrubs.

I need some help figuring out where to go from here. I see lovely landscaped scenes in the houses around me ~ a lone magnolia surrounded by low ground cover, a couple of small evergreen trees looming over a splash of tulips, a wistful array of jacobs ladder, coneflowers, cranesbill, and garden phlox in a carefree plot. All deftly carved in the ground with lush black dirt and cedar. Beautiful. But I haven't got a clue how to create that look/feel in my BIG backyard. I need a plan.

I've got a driveway lined with pots of Clethra, forsythia, wisteria, beauty bush, hostas, geraniums, sedum, peonies, lilies, poppies, and a dozen other things I dug out of my last place that I don't know the name of. Where do I put it all. How do I create little pockets of gardening delight in this huge, undesigned field.

Please help. If you know of a design website or have some suggestions of your own, I would be most grateful. I've got to get stuff in the ground before it all dies.

Thank you very much for reading my post and for your consideration.


Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 4:33 pm
Location: Palm Springs, California

What matters most on a large site like this is a site plan. It's based on two things:
1. What you see
2 Where you go
These two factors govern just about every choice you make in the future of this rural property.

What you see means to assess the best views from the house windows and doors, and from any existing outdoor living spaces. Never do anything that does not support these views by making them clearer, or using these visual corridors to organize plants.

What you do means where you will go on the property. The ground won't always be dry and you need to get around without bogging in the mud. For example, you need to get to those fruit trees for winter pruning and then back again with the fruit or pruned materials so you don't leave a muddy path through the beautiful meadow. Select a couple of other destinations or designate a pathway you can walk that takes you all around the property. This circulation system becomes the basis from which you can divide all that space into smaller more manageable gardens along the way.

Don't get bogged down planting this year. Make sure you create that circulation infrastructure even if it's just dirt paths - you can pave them later. Then combine this with points of rest where you can hang out and enjoy both the views and the gardens. Get that done and the rest of it takes care of itself! Send us a pix - it says 1000 words!

Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 2:20 pm
Location: Nova Scotia

Wow, what a great answer. I'm working on the pictures (including ones of my neighbour's yard that I really like the looks of). Meanwhile, what do I do with all of the plant material sitting in my driveway. Perhaps I could establish a temporary garden to keep stuff alive and get it established.

Your theory about "what you see" makes perfect sense. In this house, however, I am disappointed by the options of what I see. My best view is out of my sunporch (where I've been spending most of my time so far in this unfurnished house as the porch also has built in seats). It faces the lake fifty feet in front of my house with a new family of baby geese settling in for the summer. However, the front (North) doesn't get much sun, less due to the huge maple trees that guard the narrow front yard. Out of the tiny kitchen window (East) is the baren slope down, say, 100 feet to the tree line. One illogically placed lone spruce tree sits at the midway point down the slope. Other than that it is just overgrown grass. The cedars and fruit trees are in the backof the house, of which there is no view at all when you are inside. Dumb. I will be doing some renovations that will change all of that eventually, so I'll keep that theory in mind for the long-term for sure.

I will be back with the pics but I don't see where to upload them. Any clues?

Thanks so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to respond, that's really very generous of you!

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

In the top section under Tips for New Members is detailed instructions about posting pics to this forum...

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