Curb Appeal! Landscaping in phases!

Everyone knows that the “curb appeal” of a home is very important.  In one of our recent Landscape Design projects, that curb appeal included the back yard of the home.

When the owners of this recent project called us last summer to evaluate what we could do with their yard, the exterior of the house had been completely renovated with new windows and a completely new paint job.  But this beautiful house sat forlorn in a yard with absolutely no charm.  Worse yet, because their “back yard” was, in actuality, their side yard, this empty side yard wasn’t being used or enjoyed by its owners.  On the bright side, we were presented with a virtual blank canvas!   The owners had already removed much of the overgrown plantings as well as a dogun and its chain link fencing, so the space was wide open for us the “create our magic.”

This picture shows the basic blank canvas before the slate stone wall was built.  What had been a chain linked fenced in yard/dog run was now cleaned out and ready for us!

This picture shows the basic blank canvas before the slate stone patio and stone walls were built. What had been a chain-link fenced-in yard/dog run was now cleaned out and ready for us!  You can see the new cedar fence at the rear that we added, hiding the ugly back yard of the house behind them.  You can also (barely) see the plants (in front of the cedar fence) that we chose as well as a Japanese Maple, a central point in the (coming) flower gardens, all of which we got into the ground to establish them this past Fall.

The owners had been clear with us from the beginning of the discussion…they didn’t want lawn, they wanted a large patio to enjoy as well as (to the extent possible) a carefree perennial garden!

All projects, landscapes included, must have a budget, and so in addition to discussing the wishes and needs of the homeowner, we always make it  top priority to discuss the budget. In this particular case, the owners wanted to get as much done as possible within a specific cost budget in the first season.  Then, they wanted to finish up the project in the following year with embellishments to improve upon the Base Year plan.  So we came up with the following plan for them.

Phase I:  In the Fall 2012:  Get basic work done.

  • Install a cedar privacy fence along the (angled) back boundry of their property.
  • Install a patio & new front walk (which includes a 1′ tall slate wall parallel to, but 2′ in front of the cedar fencings
  • Plant some perennial bushes in the Fall (which is the best time for this type of installation).

Below is a shot of the patio, cedar fencing and perennial plantings once completed.

The perennials include skip laurel (a hardy evergreen) and one of our favorites, climbing hydrangea!

The perennials include skip laurel (a hardy evergreen) and one of our favorites, climbing hydrangea, which will eventually spread out and along the cedar fencing, to create a wonderful living privacy fence/screen.

Its always a good idea to get bushes and trees planted in the Fall, thus giving them time to establish their root growth before the freezing season.  Then, the following Spring, they’re ready to grow and should take off!  We got our plants at good “end of season” prices from one of our favorite NJ wholesale nurseries.    They were planted for the winter….to await Phase 2.

Phase 2:   This past Spring:

  • Build a front retaining wall built to address the front yard’s slope & level the area for the perennial flower garden
  • Bring in dirt, pea-gravel and mulch… dirt to backfill the new terraced-wall, pea-gravel to create our circular garden path & mulch for the new plantings.
  • Install further plantings with Spring and Summer perennial flowers.

Here are some shots of the new front wall being built:

The wall, built on a solid crushed stone foundation is built straight and true thanks to the guide lines set out by the masons.

The wall, built on a solid crushed-stone foundation is built straight and true, thanks to the guidelines set out by the masons.

the stone is bluestone

We decided upon bluestone which is “dry set” without mortar, thus allowing moisture to come through the wall, helping to maintain the wall’s structural integrity.

The finished wall!   Ready for planting!

Beautiful new retaining wall ready for plantings P1040264

 

Perennials:  Coryopsis, Lavandar, Russian Sage,

Perennials: Coreopsis ‘Galaxy’, Lamb’s Ear, Shrub Roses, Lavender, Russian Sage, Salvia, Evening Primrose & Creeping Phlox

Since the Phase 2 budget didn’t include a fully operatational Sprinkler System, we planned ahead and had the underground pipes installed before the work was finished.  In fact, the branch sticking up in the picture above (towards the top left corner) is the marker for access to one of the future Sprinkler System pipes buried beneath!  This way, the connections can be easily made when we get to Phase 3.

Coryopsis and lamb's ear will eventually grow into one another creating a broad sweep of color and texture.

Coreopsis and lamb’s ear will eventually grow into one another creating a broad sweep of color and texture.

 

Viola!  Phase 2 finished (in late Spring/early summer) for the home owners to enjoy all summer.

Highland Avenue Landscape finished....until next spring

 

Stay tuned for:

Phase 3:   This Fall:

  • Install an automatic sprinkler system

Phase 4:  This coming Spring (2014)

  • Install a white picket fence set 30″ back along the top of the wall (behind the row of lavender and the everbloom shrub roses).  As a backdrop to roses climbing on it, that fence will not only emphasize the plantings, but also give anyone hanging out on the patio a greater sense of privacy.
  • Install a fountain on the patio against the house.
  • Complete the perennial plantings.

Stay tuned!

 

 

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