Before we began on this part of the garden, the side of the house was grass all the way to the brick wall. We transplanted shrubs from the front of the house, created a contoured, raised bed along the entire length of the side, and planted a variety of perennials to complete the design.
A view of the front of the house from the road shows an uninspired and mostly dead landscape strip across the front of the property. Plants and trees were simply put in holes with no preparation or amendments and the irrigation was improperly set without being monitored. The plants that died basically drowned and the soil was saturated clay.
Some of the worst of the saturated clay was found in the beds around the house itself. The house is situated below the grade of the street, so much of the water from the street naturally ends up near the house. The plants in this area suffered from too much water, but also either too much or not enough sun.
All the plants were removed and set aside if re-usable. Much of the saturated and poor quality clay was removed and new good soil brought in to mix and replace. The existing drainage pipe was removed and replace and a catch basin placed at the bottom end of the sidewalk.
A new pool was installed and the fill dirt around it was a steep grade. To provide both screening plantings by the pool and a large vegetable garden, 6x6 were secured to create raised beds on the south facing side of the pool. The area was tilled and filled with good soil.
Initial layout of flagstone for patio
Laying out flagstones
Initial flagstone layout
Initial flagstone layout.
Flagstone has been leveled and stablilized, brown pea gravel has been used around each stepping stone and plants have been installed between the stones themselves. Metal edging has been use to maintain the edge with the grass and rose bed on either side.
The homeowners were so pleased with their new landscaping, they wanted to be able to see it when they came home after dark, since they work long hours. The landscape lighting adds elegance, but also a measure of safety. Lighting was also installed in the back yard around the patio area and trees.
When my parents retired, my gift to them was a design and installation of a garden across the front of their home. The low stone wall gives a neat edge at the front of a largely perennial garden. Ornamental grasses provide the illusion of a hedge without blocking the view of the house itself. Low maintenance and low water needs complete the ease of care.
This homeowner hated the idea of putting gutters on the home and they had a large roof. Most of the roof water dumped into the same area, so we place a large catch basin attached to a series of dry wells designed to contain the water and route it away from the home. In addition, this system was built under a larger patio for a new outdoor living area for the family.
This house is located at the bottom of a slope and water from the slope and the road at the top ran hard and fast towards the house, washing away grass and anything else in its path. By installing a catch basin, a French drain, and a stacked stone wall, the water has been slowed and diverted, and a usable garden planted to greet visitors.
The homeowners were unable to maintain any semblance of attractive lawn on the hill in the front of the house. They decided to make a bold change and remove all the grass, choosing to replace it with boulders, stone, and pea gravel for a Southwestern xeriscape look.
An important part of the design was including features that would prevent water from rushing down the hill and carrying the stone along with it. A dry creek bed was installed, along with strategically placed boulders and plants, to slow the downhill velocity of the water going down hill.
The builder provided sod to a certain point, but behind the edge of the sod, the height difference between the soil and the grass created a water backup area that was rarely dry, even after several days. The homeowner also wanted color and interest along the side of the house.
Another perspective of proposed work area.
We cleaned and prepped the area behind the sod, added more soil in both the grass and the new planting bed areas, then installed two pallets of fescue sod and all the plants in the beds. There is room for more planting later, as some of the bushes in the front of the house will eventually be moved there.
At the end of the front bed, the land drops off sharply and the homeowner was losing a large amount of dirt that was washing down the hill. We installed a two foot retaining wall designed with both beauty and practicality in mind.
We were originally called to provide weeding and cleanup for the property. As we walked around, though, it became clear that more was needed and desired. The homeowner built this raised bed using block and placed on the end of the concrete driveway. It was disorganized and needed a bit of variety.