My horrible looking back yard....

Discussion in 'Garden Design' started by Tina, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Tina

    Tina Young Pine

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    415
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    I want to do something about it this year. The idea is very daunting so need all the help I can get.
    The area is raised and it is filled with weeds and some grass. It has a slight slope to it too. The main problem that I think I need to handle are the sides. If you see in the picture,the sides close to the edge have somehow become so hollow (dont know how else to explain). How do I fill that are up? I cant plant anything there as the door to the garden shed it just next to it. But the other side of the yard also has this kind of 'dip' and I want to be able to plant something there. That area doesnt get much sun and right now I have put all the dry leaves that I had raked earlier. I had put in some top soil too last year and planted Caladiums. They grew but didnt get too big.
    Please help me make my yard pretty!


    [​IMG]
    back yard ( photo / image / picture from Tina's Garden )
     
  2. Loading...


  3. cherylad

    cherylad Countess of Cute-ification Plants Contributor

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Messages:
    11,679
    Likes Received:
    3,099
    Location:
    S. Liberty County - Texas (8B)
    Tina... do you have another "not so close" photo? That might give everyone a better idea of what you're dealing with.
     
  4. Tina

    Tina Young Pine

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    415
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    This is how the yard looks from the patio. The entire yard is bad but I want to tackle the raised part first.


    [​IMG]
    ( photo / image / picture from Tina's Garden )
     
  5. Tina

    Tina Young Pine

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    415
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    And this is the area of the yard where I put in the topsoil last year and planted caladiums. I circled the area in the picture. Notice how this area is very low too.


    [​IMG]
    ( photo / image / picture from Tina's Garden )
     



    Advertisement
  6. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    7,178
    Likes Received:
    3,021
    Location:
    Chelmsford MA
    Tina, is that a doorway in the upper part of the first photo?

    Jerry
     
  7. Tina

    Tina Young Pine

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    415
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    Yes,it is the doorway to the garden shed we have, Jerry.
     
  8. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    7,178
    Likes Received:
    3,021
    Location:
    Chelmsford MA
    As you collect ideas you can use/modify/discuss the suggestions. So, we have a pathway across the upper part. that perhaps would, as you walk up the ramp, have low flowers on the right and taller flowers on the left toward the back and the shed. If you have another landscape timber for the low side, that side can be filled in and raised.

    Jerry
     
  9. Tina

    Tina Young Pine

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    415
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    This is my pathetic attempt at a design based on the idea by Jerry (thanks, Jerry!) , not sure how much I can get done this year - but maybe will start. Any more ideas?
    I already have a clump of established daisies where I marked them.




    [​IMG]
    ( photo / image / picture from Tina's Garden )
     
  10. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Messages:
    7,074
    Likes Received:
    6,817
    Location:
    New England
    Hi Tina--i have some questions for you. How high is the raised area? i am guessing it might be 3 feet? Do you know why it is raised? (septic system, or extra soil?) If it were lower, I might suggest just eliminating the timbers and going with a slope in your yard.

    Assuming that is not possible, I would suggest "taming" the raised area by building a set of steps maybe in the middle (but in front)of the raised wall. Or psssibly off to the side. To me, the raised area needs to have a reason for its existence. I would create a bed of plantings in the lawn area in front of the retaining wall. Then I would plant some trailing plants to dangle over the edge. This would take advantage of the height change that the wall gives you. If the raised area is not a septic field, you could plant a low growing tree like a crab apple at the back of the raised area, something to draw your eye as you look from the steps then back to the tree. Maybe put a garden bench under the tree, so your eye has a destination. Or perhaps you could paint that door an interesting color and put the bench to one side of it.

    I hope you can follow my suggestions. Kind of hard without a picture, huh?
     
  11. Tina

    Tina Young Pine

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    415
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    I don't know why the heck there is a raised area there. It was there when we bought the house and we didnt think to ask :twisted: Is there a way to find out if there is a septic system there?
    And yes, the area is about 3 feet high.
    The flower bed in front of the raised area and trailing plants sounds great.
    Thank you very much!
     
  12. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,256
    Likes Received:
    3,201
    Location:
    Puget Sound Region of the Pacific NW,Zone7b
    First off I love your sloped back yard! A beautiful blank slate. I like using card board covered in bark or mulch for starting new beds. It's also bio-degradable so if you change your mind no problems. Day lilies will do fine along your drop. If you have daisies doing well and surviving a great number of other perennials will also do well. At the base of you drop would be a great place for ferns and woodland plants.

    Whatever you do have fun. I can't wait to see photos of your transformations. PM me when you are ready for plants.
     
    SongofJoy57 likes this.
  13. designshare

    designshare New Seed

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Buffalo.NY
    You should have a nice frame first.some trees,shrubs,hardscape are important and sturdy.



    [​IMG]
    ( photo / image / picture from designshare's Garden )
     
  14. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Messages:
    11,403
    Likes Received:
    13,474
    Location:
    Central Texas, zone 8
    Tina, with a little work and time, that can be a great back yard!
    The landscape timbers aren't really attractive (Mother Nature doesn't do railroad ties) so how about planting a low hedge to disguise them? You could use dwarf hollies and junipers--low maintenance and the contrast in foliage would be pretty. The hedge should be about a foot higher than the timbers to make a visual barrier so folks don't go walking off the edge.
    Get some compost and spread it on the grass--do this two or three times during the growing season and your grass will "bulk up" and crowd out some of the weeds. Remaining weeds can be taken care of with a spray of vinegar.
    Don't outline the area with flower beds--that would look contrived. Put in a small bed with a curved border that contains a mix of foliage and flowering plants.You can add more flowerbeds later as you find how you use the area.
    The ramp is necessary--you will have to get a mower up and down into that area, and hoisting it over a wall or up steps isn't a good idea. It will need to stay in that location also since the timbers end there. Something a bit more durable than wood, but frankly I can't think of a ramp material that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg.
    The low areas are an erosion problem. You are losing soil through the gaps between the timbers. If you dig down past the timbers about 6-8" and put in a barrier (corrugated plastic panels work) cover the panels to just about 1" above the soil line, then backfill with dirt, I think your sinking problem will be solved.
    Take your time, decide what you want and where you want it, and enjoy making a lovely silk purse out of a sow's ear!
     
  15. Tina

    Tina Young Pine

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    415
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    Thanks a lot! Those are great suggestions. The corrugated plastic as barriers makes a lot of sense.
    Thanks again!
     
  16. Tina

    Tina Young Pine

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    415
    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    This is how the patio looks from the 1st floor patio this morning. I have a rhododendron that I had potted 2 years back. I am planning to put that in the area circled in black. The bed will be in the area marked by black. What do you say?


    [​IMG]
    ( photo / image / picture from Tina's Garden )






    [​IMG]
    Rhododendron ( photo / image / picture from Tina's Garden )
     

Share This Page