How to optimize my backyard landscaping?

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We back onto a forest. I have planted flowers but would like to improve on making it more beautifully landscaped to enjoy the look from our deck in the spring and summer.
I am attaching a photo for your review. Thank you Elaine
q have a forest in our back yard
  15 answers
  • 2dogal 2dogal on Mar 03, 2018
    I think you're off to a good start. I would figure out how to make a focal point - maybe an arch arbor with path going into the woods and a few larger items like large flowering shrubs, less nick-nacks.
  • Patty S Patty S on Mar 03, 2018
    Add some larger flowering bushes orplants such as Hydrangeas and then some Hostas. Large ones such as "Big Daddy", "Sum and Substance", "Gwacamole", and many others which are come in many shades of green.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 03, 2018
    Make a separate first area with chairs, add wind chines ,solar lights,flowring shrubs for you hardiness zone, put a small retaining wall in front of the garden, put a arbor up with climbing plants
  • Cynthia Whitney Cynthia Whitney on Mar 03, 2018
    How about planting azaleas or rhododendrons along there and maybe some of those giant hostas? I don't know where you are but around here forsythia bushes, redbud trees, and dogwoods grow in areas like this and are pretty spectacular in spring.
  • Oberlinmom Oberlinmom on Mar 03, 2018
    I would start pulling bed out away from the tree line. You garden doesn't need to start that far away. Depending on which direction the sun is and how shady that area of your yard becomes will determine what you can plant.

    Don't forget to add in some evergreens to add winter texture. I have a passion for perennials but in early spring and winter all there are in the yard are muddy bare patches.

    Pretty japanese red maples, or any plant with a unique color will draw attention. Tall ornamental grasses frame a garden nicely.

    I'm not fond of grass so I tend to add beds here and there depending on what I want to plant. It does make mowing a bit of a challenge but I'd prefer a "cottage garden" look if I could get it rather than mow grass. So I concur with the idea of a wandering path to the woods and into them. Rhododendron and azaleas can be evergreen and bloom. Perfect plant if you are in a semi-shade area to shady.

    You might even want to at height to a bed it's not all the same level. I try to raise most of my beds up at least a few inches since we are in a very wet area. Spring is also called the season of mud here. I've lost many plants to rot after I thought they were doing well. Last year my paper birch trees that had been growing strong for 4 years died. We had two years of very very wet springs and it was just too much. Keep an eye on how water collects or if it doesn't how dry your yard gets. With our clay we go from mud to summer dry that leaves huge cracks in the ground. Water just runs off and away. If I'm not vigilant (I'm not) watering only occasionally isn't enough. And yet I have found some plants that are tough enough to stick it out. Good luck
  • Sharon Sharon on Mar 03, 2018
    I have a small forest and concentrate on plants that attract and feed critters and birds for my enjoyment to watch. I added bird baths, and native flowering shrubs and some ornamental ones. I don't plant too many flowers except in pots and hanging pots.
  • Joanne lueke Joanne lueke on Mar 03, 2018
    What I wouldn't give for a forest in my backyard....you are so lucky. I love rhododendrons and azaleas. I also love daylilies. They come in all different colors and heights and are virtually low maintenance. Plus they can be divided so they keep on giving.
  • Emily Emily on Mar 03, 2018
    I agree that there should be a clearer definition of where you stop and the forest (lucky you!) starts. I would put a small, picket fence back there and as Oberlin Mom says more beds would be a good feature. I have a friend who has a rock garden way in the back of her yard and flowers beds against the foundation, So when you sit on her porch or are in the dining room or kitchen you eye has no place to be entertained. I always imagined a four bed garden in that yard with paths criss crossing in the middle.
  • Joy30150932 Joy30150932 on Mar 03, 2018
    Use your garden hose the make a curved border and dig out the grass, fill in with colored rock or mulch. The flowers blend into the background too much to be really showy.
  • Shore grandmom Shore grandmom on Mar 03, 2018
    The other posters have given you some great ideas. There was one thing that I was thinking that wasn't mentioned. How about a waterfall and pond? You'll be able to enjoy the view and have a relaxing sound to enjoy, too. You could put in more flowers around it, maybe put a tree or two in for a little shade between you and your forest. When we lived in the woods, completely surrounded with trees except for a driveway, we still had trees close to our home. And have a walkway to the water and a seating area with a firepit. You really have so many options. Good luck. Happy shopping.
  • Peter Peter on Mar 04, 2018
    I'm with Oberlinmom.... Place a large bucket in the yard... move it until it catches the eye from lots of angles... then develop this as a focal point and move AWAY from that distant tree line.... don't you want to SEE your work? (From first impression, I'd make a peninsular shaped garden that extends almost Halfway into the foreground)
    Above all else, Enjoy!
  • Kar11696955 Kar11696955 on Mar 04, 2018
    Start your formation by mowing the shape, then begin to edge. This will eliminate any hard to reach spots or areas the mower can't reach. A free flow shape will give you a blank canvas to have fun filling. Good luck, whatever you decide will adorn your yard.
  • Peter Peter on Mar 04, 2018
    Another thing to consider is to break the LINE of major (= tall) trees with understory of ornamentals in the foreground... Redbud, dogwood, birch, Japanese maple cherry.. the list goes on.... and another idea is flowering shrubs... rhododendron or azaleas...
    Nothing (!) tells you your back yard is subordinate to the front if that's your daily view, make it pretty!
  • Deb K Deb K on Mar 04, 2018
    Add a dry creek bed in and more shrubs, design the creek to twist and turn as you please. There is a huge variety of rock out there to build it with
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