DeDe @ Designed Decor
DeDe @ Designed Decor
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  • Canton, OH
Asked on May 9, 2013

Landscaping Questions

SarahDeDe @ Designed DecorFlowerscapes Garden Design & Landscaping
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Answered

I have this area beside my deck and behind my garage that I need advice on what to do. The area to the left is my neighbors yard(stones are about the divide line) This is a light traffice section of our house, the traffice can be reirected by using the deck(on the right/behind the wood fence) I usually throw down mulch(every year) and it is always gone by the next spring. We have major maple tress that throw down the red things and helicopters not to mention the leaves, this is why the mulch never stays. The area behind the garage faces my neighbors back yard and I wouuld love to have it not be an eye sore for them. The dirt is very hard and the maple trees have roots that love to come to the top of the soil. HELP! What do you think would be a great fix for this area.
Small dirt walkway - 3 foot section is mine on the right next to wood fence.
Small dirt walkway - 3 foot section is mine on the right next to wood fence.
Behind the Garage.
Behind the Garage.
29 answers
  • Patricia W
    on May 10, 2013

    I personally would add gravel, pea gravel or 3/4 minus, maybe even 1" and then use a blower for the leaf cleanup. It doesn't look big enough to add seed for more grass and be able to get a mower back there to cut it.

  • Lou B
    on May 10, 2013

    Maybe you could go to Lowe's or HD and get a mold and make a cement walkway. I have tried rocks in my yard and they just don't work when you have a lot of leaves. In order to blow the leaves out the force lifts the rocks up and blows them around with the leaves. It is really hard to get the leaves out of the rocks and if they get wet nearly impossible.

  • Tanya Peterson Felsheim
    on May 10, 2013

    I think it would look nice to have a pathway of pavers or flagstone...then fill in with a moss or a creeper that fills in around the path...these can be very hardy and can be walked on easily but add more of a pleasant look... here is one idea that might work... http://gardening.about.com/od/gardendesign/ig/Plants-to-Walk-On/Isotoma--Blue-Star-Creeper-.htm

  • Barb Rosen
    on May 10, 2013

    The pathway ideas sound great, plus I would pot hostas and some other of my favorite shade perennials in large pots to add greenery and color and soften the fence. Make a little garden using pots!

  • DeDe @ Designed Decor
    on May 10, 2013

    @Tanya Peterson Felsheim , I love the idea of flagstone and fill with a creeper. I never thought to do something like that. I have thought of the pea gravel but was not sold on the idea, due to the high amount of junk that comes from the trees. @Barb Rosen I love your idea of using pots to add a garden for color and dimension!

  • Lori J
    on May 10, 2013

    Those maple roots are going to come up and knock your pavers about. I have a silver maple that I mostly love, and it reeks havoc on our patio pavers. What about using river rock? I am able to blow the fallout from my 'cottonless' cottonwood (no cotton, but lots of seed pods) from river rock. I think the idea of creating a container garden. I have much the same issue in my side garden. It was a complete wasteland when we bought the house. Here is a pic from last year.

    q landscaping questions, gardening, landscape
  • Douglas Hunt
    on May 10, 2013

    I agree that some sort of hardscape pathway is the way to go. One of the few things that will grow under a maple tree is Epimedium, with its sweet flowers in early spring.

  • DeDe @ Designed Decor
    on May 10, 2013

    @Lori J I hate my maples! Actually they are not even mine, they are on the neighbors property. When they put up their chain link fence, they had to shorten their property because these trees are right on the border line. The roots are already above ground and I can work around the ones that are established. The area behind the garage is where the trash cans are stored so this is a walking and working area, so whatever goes back there must be able to be walked on, river rock is great to border things out, but not an option is this walking area. I love you garden area!

  • DeDe @ Designed Decor
    on May 10, 2013

    @Douglas Hunt I am researching Epimedium as I write this. Thanks for the tip and suggestions.

  • Lori J
    on May 10, 2013

    I would get really friendly with these neighbors--can you squat a bit? Perhaps pathway on your side of line and container garden on their side? Lord, I hate chain link!

  • DeDe @ Designed Decor
    on May 10, 2013

    @Lori J My current neighbors are the BEST, they would let me do anything, except they are moving and now I am very concerned with who I will get as a new neighbor. Ilove the idea of pathway on my side, that gives me room to move and drag trash cans etc and container garden or the neighbors side. Maybe the new nieghbor wont know it is her property, excpet I dont want to take ownership of those big maples, we have already trimmed them once.

  • Lori J
    on May 10, 2013

    can you get your current neighbor to deed you this bit of land

  • DeDe @ Designed Decor
    on May 10, 2013

    @Lori J not any longer, they have sold the house and the house is under new contract with new owner. I will have to see how receptive my new neighbor will be. I will have to bake her an apple pie to warm her up! LOL

  • KMS Woodworks
    on May 10, 2013

    I would do a raised flower bed with a coarse crushed stone walk way. The flower bed can be cleared by hand of leaves + seeds. and a yard blower would make quick work of the stone walk way. 2" of crushed stone would not be disrupted by roots and eliminate a muddy walk.

  • Melanie N
    on May 10, 2013

    I like the pathway idea also...I'm a flagstone pathway addict...but have also seen some really cool wooden ones (http://www.houzz.com/wooden-path ). This option might give you a little more flexibility and "give" with the roots, but still easier sweeping and blowing than small stone. A great suggestion for a container garden too!

  • Gail Salminen
    on May 11, 2013

    @DeDe @ Designed Decor you have a bit of a dilema. If you hate the tree, perhaps you can get rid of it. Check with you city hall to see what the implications are when the neighbours willingly put the fence inside of their property line to leave the tree responsibility up to you. You may have the right to take it down. I agree the roots from the silver maple are a real problem for more than just pavers, but tripping hazards and making it troublesome to plant grass and mow it. I like the idea of adding pots with colourful plants - you can also raise them up a bit to see them from the deck. I really like a fine mulch for a pathway, we have used this in the garden - had to put down about 3-4 inches the first year, but only add about 1/2 - 1 inch each year now. Keeps it clean looking and is easy for walking, But may be a bit of a problem for dragging trash cans. Perhaps a wooden walkway (slightly raised) to the trash cans then mulch on the other side. For the frost fencing you could attach either a bamboo fencing or other type to creat privacy and block the other side from seeing what is on your side. Our neighbour put a composter right next to our pool and I attached some bamboo fencing to make it more pleasant from either side. Do update us with pics on what you do.

  • Jeanette S
    on May 11, 2013

    You need to check out several things: (1) Make sure you CAN buy a piece of the next door neighbor's land before you proceed...there are lot line restrictions so they may have to keep this land or can't sell it; (2) Most places won't let you remove a tree over a certain size without a permit (fines are very high) unless it is endangering house or is damaged, so be very careful; (3) I hate chain link but put one up for our dog. No privacy since back yard is on a hill so we use that land for dog only....we use elevated deck; and (4) I love the idea of an elevated wooden walkway. Keeping a pathway clean is a full time job. With a wooden walkway, blow and go! Be sure to make it short and put a ramp instead of a step ... just for future use!

  • Gail Salminen
    on May 11, 2013

    @DeDe @ Designed Decor forgot to mention yesterday that you could also plant a quick growing vine along the frost fencing. We have used creeping virginia, which gives us total privacy along that fence. I think this would be good for your area as well. Lovely red foilage in the fall.

  • Karen Smith
    on May 12, 2013

    I think a free standing pergola would look great have a nice comfortable bench on the width of the pergola. Then on the back of the bench maybe had lattice . Also had some container plants and maybe a vine to crawl up the lattice. I think it would be a great secret place to read, think, or what ever. Also it would look inviting.

  • Paula Smith
    on May 13, 2013

    Whatever you do, do NOT use pea gravel where you will be walking. It is impossible to keep good footing on it and it becomes extremely slick when wet.

  • Sylvia Smothers Lawing
    on May 13, 2013

    What ever path you choose, it would be pretty to pull up the bricks and replace with common monkey grass. It will line the walkway beautifully and no tripping issues.It grows easily. How about covering the pathway with recycled pallet boards. I agree, a container garden under the tree.If you like whimical,maybe a colorful tire garden.

  • Debbie Gates
    on May 13, 2013

    Since you mentioned that this was a lightly used pathway and that the traffic could be redirected I would fill this space with hostas and ferns. They will keep the weeds out, will benefit from the leaf litter and require very little maintenance, once established and will be visable from early Spring until late Fall. Keep your eyes open for friends and neighbors who have hostas and on Craigslist. You should never have to buy hostas and most people will be willing to share what they have since they multiply so easily, but they are not invasive and are easy to control simply by dividing them and sharing with others in a few years.

  • DeDe @ Designed Decor
    on May 13, 2013

    @Debbie Gates This is a great idea. I am concerned with how hard the soil is and being able to plant any type of plant in this area. I am also thinking of just letting my neighbors pachysandra just taking over the area by the deck and just doing a walkway from the deck to the trash bin area. This will probably be a slow incorporation- adding the path first and than worring about what to plant after that?

  • DeDe @ Designed Decor
    on May 13, 2013

    @Sylvia Smothers Lawing I like the idea of monkey grass. I just did an image search for it and saw some really pretty pathways with this as a border!

  • Sylvia Smothers Lawing
    on May 13, 2013

    Thank you- I have a lot of it at my home.

  • Tanya Peterson Felsheim
    on May 13, 2013

    Oh and one more thing I'm getting ready to do...I'm going to PAINT my side of the dividing fence. I'm going to give it a happy face! Well probably a non glaring white or soft color but to lighten up the fence and then hang things on the fence to make it visually interesting not just a long piece of wood.

  • How about working the soil in spots and plant some Autumn ferns. You can also put in dwarf mondo grass than only gets two inches high. Place a few nice garden boulders and I believe you can achieve a beautiful low maintenance area.

  • DeDe @ Designed Decor
    on Dec 16, 2013

    Thanks so much for the tips and advice! This will be the first project I will be working on in the Spring.

  • Sarah
    on May 31, 2016

    You could put down pea gravel, and put a landscape turtle or other concrete figure in that area . I have my backyard covered in marble rock , gravel and flowers, that way I don't have to mow. Lol

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