Teresa D
Teresa D
  • Hometalker
  • Snellville, GA
Asked on Apr 20, 2013

I've got to reorganize my yard ... open to suggestion

Julie BanarMiawiaBuster Evans
+15

Answered

I've been whining about how bad my yard looks this year. The lawn looks worse than ever and some of my early spring bulbs did not bloom. Had lots of rabbits and squirrels in the yard .. wonder if they are the culprits? Anyway, I was talking to a contractor about removing some trees along the side and back of the house and looked around then I took some pictures of my yard. It's not *that* bad. I still have some cool things in there and I think I just need some structure ... pull the bed out to give up the struggling bermuda ... it might be liveable ... Suggestions??
To the left of the house, I have a full sun bed. Currently, I have a seemingly healthy rhododendron, various azaleas, a couple of forsythia and a semi-ring of fire power nandina. Daffodil, Gerbera Daisies, Gladiolus and stella doro come up in this bed. My crocus and a couple of other spring flowers I'm used to seeing did not appear this spring. I also have a couple of hot pokers that have barely appeared over the last couple of years (only put up the leaves) and a bunch of small irises near the steps. Everything else is shaded with the exception of the bed around the mailbox. I've loaded that up with all kinds of goodies as well.
*Sigh ... hello, my name is Teresa and I'm an amateur gardener ... lol. Help?
Here you can see how the grass is just gone under the canopy of my oak tree.  I guess I'll pull the bed out to w/in a foot or so of the driveway.  Maybe the grass can survive there.  I think I need some foundation shrubs though.
Here you can see how the grass is just gone under the canopy of my oak tree. I guess I'll pull the bed out to w/in a foot or so of the driveway. Maybe the grass can survive there. I think I need some foundation shrubs though.
Again, grass is totally gone.  Boxwoods need to go and that laurel in the far left corner never fully recovered. Gotta get rid of that baby japanese maple and hoping the rhodie on the right hangs in there.  Lost half of it 2 years ago
Again, grass is totally gone. Boxwoods need to go and that laurel in the far left corner never fully recovered. Gotta get rid of that baby japanese maple and hoping the rhodie on the right hangs in there. Lost half of it 2 years ago
Despite the crappy lawn and some of my azaleas struggling and someone dropping a pine tree on my japanese maples last summer, it doesn't look too too bad.
Despite the crappy lawn and some of my azaleas struggling and someone dropping a pine tree on my japanese maples last summer, it doesn't look too too bad.
When the flowers are gone, it's going to be much less interesting to look at.  And I'm not sure how I will organize the bed once it is pulled out.  Stuff is kind of everywhere now.
When the flowers are gone, it's going to be much less interesting to look at. And I'm not sure how I will organize the bed once it is pulled out. Stuff is kind of everywhere now.
18 answers
  • Patricia W
    on Apr 20, 2013

    You can get shade tolerant grass seed if you want grass.Id thatch and aerate first, then spread seed after raking off all of the thatch and scratching the soil. If not I would extend the beds with a walk way through them since its near the door. Layer it with all season long color by planting perennials mixed with annuals or early blooming to late blooming perennials.

  • Beverly Brannan
    on Apr 20, 2013

    I'd recommend you get an evaluation of your soil from the local home extention. They will provide you with directions on how to make a collection. For a very small fee the extention dept. will evaluate your soil and then tell you exactly what your soil needs. Healthy soil is the beginning of all planting. While the eval is going through, I'd take a good look at your shade to sun ratio. Take pictures at differnt times of the day; depending on your schedule, it shouldn't take more than a day, two at the most. Once you have established how much sun and shade are around your house then go to a local garden store. Find our which plants and trees like sun, which shade. Mix your colors up (it's okay to check a color wheel) and mix up heights. Depending on what you like, plan your plants accordingly. i.e. tall/short, spikey/smooth, bushy/climber; then look at colors/contrasts. This is the fun part of gardening. Enjoy!!!

  • Teresa D
    on Apr 20, 2013

    @Patricia W and @Beverly Brannan Thanks so much for the suggestions. Actually, I've done all that over the last 2 years trying to save the grass and it has just gotten worse. Checking the shade, testing the pH, aerating, overseeding, de-thatching, adding lime, etc. I prefer grass so I threw all kinds of money at the problem. I've resolved myself to give up a majority of the lawn now. I was going to sod but it was more expensive than I was anticipating. Now I will have a much smaller area if I still want to sod though.

  • Beverly Brannan
    on Apr 20, 2013

    Probably a good idea to let your lawn "breathe" for awhile if you've done a lot of work to it. Aren't plants fickle?

  • Beverly Brannan
    on Apr 20, 2013

    Taking another look at your pictures, you might have an arborist (or someone who specializes in trees - do you have an Angie's List in your city? It might be called something else, but it is a list of people who have specialized skills recommended by not only BBB but also other people as "reliable".) look at your trees. Too much shade is sometimes a problem.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Apr 21, 2013

    Teresa, you are well on your way by embracing the fact that if you have that gorgeous oak tree, you are not going to have a lawn you like under it. Yes, there are some types of grass that are more tolerant of shade than others, but even the most shade-tolerant variety needs about six hours a day of sun. And speaking of sun, your rhodie and azaleas would probably be much happier in the shade of your front yard than in the full sun on the side. Perhaps you'll find some inspiration in this post: http://www.hometalk.com/152427/here-is-what-you-can-do-with-a-mostly-shady-backyard-get-rid-of-the-grass-and-make

  • Bea Snelleman
    on Apr 21, 2013

    I honestly think that if you remove one of the group of large green trees on the right of the picture, it will open your yard up tremendously. You will not only be able to see your home better, but a lot of your shade problems will disappear. This will also allow your to install a lower bush or more plants.

  • Barb Rosen
    on Apr 21, 2013

    Teresa ~ my vote would be to keep the trees, they are beautiful! Why not make a pretty circular paver patio off the front steps with a small table and chairs and embrace your shade? Plant a garden full of shade lovers and get rid of a lot of the lawn. Today there are a million sizes, colors and textures of hosta and other drought tolerant, tough shade plants that would make a gorgeous and unique front yard display.Remember, a yard doesn't have to be a lawn! Have fun and let us know what you do : )

    q i ve got to reorganize my yard open to suggestion, flowers, gardening, landscape, Here s an example of a nicely planted colorful shade bed fromq i ve got to reorganize my yard open to suggestion, flowers, gardening, landscape, And an example of a front patio and how nice it can look with your style house from
  • Teresa D
    on Apr 22, 2013

    Thanks guys! Great ideas. @Douglas Hunt , thanks so much for that link. That is what I was wanting to do for my backyard and Southern Trillium is in my "neck of the woods"! I couldn't get on their schedule for this effort but I may give them a call in another year or so when I'm ready to tackle my backyard.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Apr 22, 2013

    Judging by what I have seen of their work, Southern Trillium is worth the wait.

  • Angela
    on Apr 25, 2013

    I think you really have to watch out for trees so close to your house.

  • Jeulia H
    on Apr 26, 2013

    Love the black, don't change it. Use zoysia grass sod-it grows well under trees and in shade, is lush, keeps a well-manicured carpet look, and the green will play off the black trim perfectly. Put a black ornate low fence across the front near the street. Put a brick walkway from the street to the stairs. Place a black ornate initial or design above the garage and below that window. In the boxwood/laurel area put azaleas or rhododendrons and keep trimmed below the windows. Define all flowerbeds with edging to keep the formal style, which the house reflects. With minimal effort it will be stunning!

  • Teresa D
    on Apr 26, 2013

    @Jeulia H, Thanks so much for the detailed suggestions! I'm looking at the pictures and I can almost envision your suggestions. I wouldn't be able to do the low fence due to my HOA covenants but that sounds so cute! I really like the idea of the ornate design above the garage. I also like the idea of moving my azaleas over to the boxwood/laurel area. That area is very shaded. Makes it challenging to do anything symmetrical since the other side gets significantly more sun. I was considering wavy leaf privet but I think they prefer full to part sun. Anyway, thanks again! I plan to incorporate some of these ideas into my final plan. I think Zoysia sod is a definite go.

  • Kimberly Barney
    on Apr 26, 2013

    I like the idea of a small sitting area off the walkway as mentioned previously. This would give you an area to enjoy your front yard as well as take care of the lack of grass issue. I would also include the trees in the garden area by placing landscaping stone or other material. Your gardens at this time are disconnected. You have the straight garden beds against the house and the trees. By incorporating the trees in the gardens by trimming the area, you will have a more free flowing garden area. Hosta are wonderful. However, coral bells will remain year round and provide wonderful color. Brunerra is another choice that I like to plant in shade gardens as their foliage is pretty and they remain longer than hosta. You can also add color with the incorporation of garden art and structures.

  • Teresa D
    on Apr 26, 2013

    Thanks @Kimberly Barney . I would like to do a sitting area over there. I really like the arbor swing in @Deb from Harleysville's post http://www.hometalk.com/135573/arbor-swing-my-father-made-for-me-what-a-great-birthday-gift-this-was-thanks-dad?all_comments=true but no way would I get enough sun over there. Maybe an arbor isn't out of the question though as I see how much sun I'm getting now that these trees are removed. I love coral bells too! I have some by my back fence. They aren't doing so hot though. I could move them. I will check out Brunerra.

  • Buster Evans
    on Dec 9, 2013

    i just love reading all the different suggestions on here.. great minds and experience that gives us all inspiration.. thanks everyone

  • Miawia
    on Feb 22, 2015

    I have ZERO Advice to offer as a first time home owner, but for what it's worth, I think your home and gardens look lovely

  • Julie Banar
    on Jun 13, 2015

    I wish I had more sun

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