A big warm hello to all! I've absolutely enjoyed reading through the forums, and have gathered much information that can help so far... but I have to admit a certain amount of ignorance when it comes to this plant-y kind of stuff.
So, here goes nothing! I have lived in a small townhouse for a few years now, and we have saved enough to invest in a house. We now are looking at selling the townhouse, and I am the first to admit the outside is UGLY!
The front is 11 feet by 15 feet, full sun all day except late afternoon, it's compacted clay soil and the geniuses that built the building left an overtaxed downspout about six inches away from the front wall. Any hint of rain makes a puddle that takes days to drain.
The back is 16 feet by 16 feet, afternoon sun on one rectangular patch against the back fence and no direct sunlight anywhere else in the yard. That soil is even more compacted, clay and covered in thirty year old economy patio stones.
So- what do I do with that downspout? I'd like to have the water drained throughout the front yard garden for irrigation, somehow.
My next question is not so much 'what to plant' in as much as how to design the front for appeal- do I go lots of colour and stand out, or subdued and subtle and try to 'sink in' to the background? (The front wall is flush with the rest of the townhouses in this row, and the aluminum siding is creamy beige for originality. )
The back yard clearly needs a shade garden, fine and done- but it's also our main entrance into the house (our back yard faces the parking lot and is equipped with a gate), and the only place I can send my rugmonkeys out to play where they are confined and safe. Again, I don't know how to design the space so it'll be functional but also beautiful and can be renovated on the cheaper side.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated- as is just getting to the bottom of this long post. I'll try and keep it much, much shorter next time