Yet another landscaping question

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BigDMod
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Yet another landscaping question

Postby BigDMod » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:32 pm

Hi everyone,
Spring is just around the corner and every year I get the itch to update my landscaping but don't know where to start. Last year I had 2 landscapers come over to measure and photo for a plan...guess what? No plan. Suppose people are not hungry enough so I will try myself. Presently I have a cement bed border around the house about 3ft deep (from the house out). My question is how does one know whether to design linear or abstract style border. My problem is I have about 5 different types of shrubs. I have the metal art piece to the left of the house and trying to decide how to make that design too. I am in Dallas.
Thanks in advance for feedback.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/18370605@N07/6865924419/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/18370605@N07/6865771393/

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Van
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Postby Van » Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:35 pm

I definitely recommend trying it yourself, especially since you don't seem to want major work done. You will save so much money. We had a professional landscape architect do ours but we only got through phase one. I can't recommend him though because we aren't exactly happy with some things he did. But we definitely needed a pro since we needed the concrete patio removed, a front fence, re-grading (we had a moat every time it rained), and french-drains.

We're in the process of redoing the front and back to a more drought tolerant design. They're saying this drought could last for a decade. Almost all of our lawn died last year even though we watered. Couldn't take all that snow and then the heat so soon after being planted. So we are pretty much getting rid of the lawn. Our back 1/3 is a desertscape. Succulents and cacti with expanded shale on top. We made a line of pink muhly grass with expanded shale on top next to the fence. In the process of making cedar raised beds for vegetables. Here's our first one:
http://bit.ly/wbxZ2d (just after planting)
The rest (aside from the patio and tree areas) will be grey rocks. In the front, we are going to plant a few more fruit trees and make some more raised vegetable beds. Not sure what will fill in the rest--maybe a mix of clover and something else. Or maybe some creeping herbs that don't need much care.

I'd really recommend that whatever you do, you go with organic. It will definitely need less care in the long run and it's just better overall.

You should check out North Haven Gardens. They have classes all the time including landscaping ones. They have a garden coach service but not yard design. There's also Redenta's. Smaller, but I still like their shop. They also have a landscape design co but I haven't used them.

I went to the big boxes for edging, tools, and things like that.

I could talk for hours about landscaping!
Last edited by Van on Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Van
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Postby Van » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:04 pm

This article mentions Urban Reserve as a good example of drought tolerant landscaping. I'd agree with that--it's worth driving by to check out.

Here are some good resources:
Plants of the Metroplex





I also like flipping through old magazines for ideas.

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:45 pm

not a lot to see online because most of the great images are copyright protected. Sunset magazine usually has good stuff. find their landscaping books from the '50s and '60s on ebay. great resources. also seek books on Garrett Eckbo and Thomas Church. find them on ebay and amazon. Much of mid-century modernism was influenced by 19th century japanese design, so basics in japanese garden design is another great angle too.

just remember your landscape design should work in scale with your home, your lot and your neighborhood to achieve harmony.

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dani
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Postby dani » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:01 am


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Joe
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Postby Joe » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:27 am


BigDMod
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Postby BigDMod » Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:35 am


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Van
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Postby Van » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:46 am


BigDMod
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Postby BigDMod » Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:15 pm

Van, I picked up some books from the library. I am getting really excited. I am a very visual person but I FINALLY have a vision of what I am looking to do! Good call on the "big box" stores. I agree on your choice of nurserys. Getting there.....

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Van
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Postby Van » Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:46 pm

This is coming up:

egads
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Postby egads » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:08 pm

Here's a real basic landscape/gardening tip:

Use a $1.00 plant in a $2.00 hole

What this means is, if you want a lush healthy plant, buy a small one and amend the soil. Plants don't grow in dirt, they grow in soil. One of the things
roots need is air oddly enough. So adding rich organic matter to the soil will make a smaller plant thrive and get bigger faster than a large root bound plant just placed in the existing ground.

Also, I know many of you like to use rocks or gravel to pump up that MCM vibe. But to me it often just looks like a trailer park. Mulch is a much better choice. It retains moisture, keeps weeds down, makes weeds that do show up easier to pull and it very easy to refresh down the line. As it breaks down, it adds even more soil amendment. Rocks have to be kept very clean to look good. There goes that easy care you put the gravel down for. This of course does not include large rocks and boulders.

As to the free form beds against the house, it's rarely a good idea to plant things right against the house. A free form bed keeps you from doing that.
So many houses have a 2' wide bed with plants placed right in the center of that. That means a plant that should be 4-6 feet wide is now crammed against the house, it's roots attacking the foundation and making maintenance (like washing the windows or painting) a real chore. Leave room for a ladder.

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Mod' i-fy
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Postby Mod' i-fy » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:43 am

Beautiful home and I love your metal art by the way.
"Where words cease modern speaks" - Mod' i-fy

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turboblown
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Postby turboblown » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:22 am

Don't forget lighting! That's the key to making it all really stand out at nighttime. Don't use cheesey plastic Maliblu lighting either. Spend the money and use LED in metal fixtures. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is placing pagoda lights too closely together. You're adding visual effect, not lighting a sidewalk. That's what overhead floodlights are for. No closer than about 9 feet spacing on pagodas! I always use conduit for my runs not only for mounting purposes, but it protects the wiring much better and also look period correct (a little antique green paint goes a long way on fixtures).

Strategically placed spotlights on certain shrubs or trees will help draw attention to them or even draw attention away from undesirable items such as gas meters, utility boxes, AC units by drawing your eyes to the lighted plant instead of the undesirable item.

I use line voltage on all of my lighting and have over 1000' feet of conduit buried. I'm slowly changing everything over to LED now. It's brighter, uses 1/6 the energy and lasts longer. Since I use a dimmer on some of my exterior lighting, the LED allows me to dim the light while keeping it the correct color and not turning orange as it dims.

robbhouston
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Postby robbhouston » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:20 am

turboblown : Please post a pic or 2...I love great lighting!

We went the extra mile on our restovation when it came to outdoor beauty lights. Went full voltage as well, as per my electrician suggestion. We have lots of varying degrees we can set things at too. Full on, if having a party. Or what we call night-time-mode for when we clock out for the evening, where the house just subtly glows (very low light pollution).

--Robb
http://www.nashvillemodern.com
A little website I created to showcase my home and other MCMs in and around the Nashville TN area.


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