Landscaping Ideas?
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Old 02-02-2014, 05:59 PM   #1
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Default Landscaping Ideas?

It's still cold and spring is a ways off but I thought this would be a great time to start planning for the spring. That's in part because I have so much to do this spring. I spent most of last year working crazy hours, remodeling the house I moved into, and getting settled into my house. This spring I've got to do some serious landscaping to get the out side looking as good as the inside. I'm also one of those people that makes things way more complicated than need be so I had better start planning now! With all that said I've got a lot of decisions to make and could use some different thoughts here.

First my back yard is pretty open with neighbors all around. I'm thinking of adding hedge rows to create a border around the yard to give me some privacy and the right plants would also add some security. The right plants would almost serve as a fence but it would have the potential to look a lot better in addition to giving me privacy in the back yard. I would also like to incorporate as many fruit bearing plants as possible so what are some ideas here? Thorned black berries for example?

Second I'll be doing a fair size garden but I want it to look good and I want to make it a part of the landscaping. I haven't seen much on making a productive garden part of the landscaping so what are some thoughts?

Next I'm thinking about a coy pond and using that for both looks and water storage. I'm thinking of some sort of setup with water barrels under the gutter downspouts to collect rain water and then use the rain water to maintain the coy pond. The coy pond could then be used for watering the garden. Any thoughts?

Finally I'm not big on flowers but I need to add some color around the house. I'm think of using various herbs instead of flowers to create flower beds so that I'm planting stuff that looks good but is also useful. What would be some of the better herbs to plant that would be both useful and decorative?


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Old 02-02-2014, 06:25 PM   #2
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I am not familiar with the natural flora of S.C.

Here in the NorthWest, we have quite a few evergreens, the wetter portions, the cottonwoods reign supreme. In between is the alders.

I can't do much in the wet spots, so I let it go natural. Around the evergreens I have cleared and allow the cows to graze and keep the other foliage down.

I have rolling green grass through the open areas and have left the shrubs along the borders. The brush includes Hazlenut, Huckleberry and several types of blackberries. I use the john deer riding lawnmower and the tractor to maintain most of the area. I have reduced any area that requires detail trimming. My wife will trim around the house and the main lawns. . I'll reluctantly help.

I have about an acre enclosed for the cows and goats when I have the gate open to the south 1/2 of the property.
It is within the enclosed area that I have this springs garden planned. My biggest chore there is to remove as much of the glacial till rocks as possible. I am down about 12-18" now and have been using my home built grizzly to remove the rocks.

What I am left with is a very large area that can be maintained with power equipment, a nice buffer of natural vegetation and the more maintained area near the house.

The key to accomplish this has been the Kubota L3800 tractor with Loader, Rotary Cutter and Landscape Rake.

If you plan big, you need to come big. My tired old back won't do much by itself anymore.


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Old 02-02-2014, 06:34 PM   #3
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Last one first: Basil and oregano for sure. Basil comes in many varieties, smooth or ruffled, green or purple, and the more you pinch leaves off to cook with, the bushier it will get. Creeping thyme works great between stepping stones in a walkway, and is a perennial. Rosemary is another shrubby perennial that works great in a herb garden. Cilantro, flat-and curly-leaved parsley.

The rain barrels are a great idea, but I'm not sure using the koi pond to water the garden with will work very well. If you pull the water level down much, it'll make it tougher for the koi to thrive. Something I saw not long ago was a large koi pond with different kinds of rice planted in sunken pots of soil in the pond. When the rice ripens, the fish love to eat the grains that fall into the pond, and the plants add a good accent to the landscape.

For the garden, look for edible plant species that have attractive features. Mix flowers into the garden (many flowers are known to repel certain insect pests - marigolds are great companion plants). Plant a few Rabbiteye blueberry (they are bred for the South) bushes to serve double duty - attractive flowers in the spring, edible fruit in the summer, and red leaf color in the fall. Figs are another good choice.

Sweet potatoes make very attractive plants, especially if there's a wall or trellis that the vines can run on.

For ornamentals, wander around your local garden center. You want to focus on form, color, texture, and most importantly, varieties that are suitable for your climate. I like a landscape that is less structured, more cottage-garden like, and with lots of stone. You may prefer pavers to natural stone, but that's ok. there are literally thousands of good reference books available. Check out your public library. Is there a B&N bookstore within a reasonable distance? Check it out.

Just remember that nothing has to be permanent - if after a season or two, something isn't working, change it out.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:55 AM   #4
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First my back yard is pretty open with neighbors all around. I'm thinking of adding hedge rows to create a border around the yard to give me some privacy and the right plants would also add some security.

Put a 6-strand barb wire fence inside that hedgerow.
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:32 PM   #5
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Put a 6-strand barb wire fence inside that hedgerow.
Woosey, Razor ribbon shreds rogue bunnies just as well as humans that get out of place. You gotta put up sign to warn people like "Stupidity Free Fire Zone"!

As for landscaping, Im more into low maint than high visibility. I mow 7+ acres and thats plenty to deal with. The Hardwoods, softwoods, fruit trees, vegetation and most of the other floro and fauna have come from this being a 190 year old homestead. I have some 60' apple trees I only wish I could get back to producing good fruit again but they do make the bees happy, a 20 year old dwarf orchard is just starting to come into prime, tons of Lily's, Hostas, giant hollyhocks and conifers large and small.

Some of the prior inhabitants didnt care well for it so only the hardy survived but they thrived as well and my wife has capitalized on that with some new hardy plants.

We really dont have neighbors so that not a problem but Ive planted trees and brush that deadens noise from the road and keeps snow back a bit. I wont plant anything that needs to be watered except veggies, Im on a very old hand stacked well. If I cant eat it, Im not drawing water for it, not a huge problen in NY, water is something we have allot of to go with all the hot air out of Albany.
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:57 PM   #6
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First my back yard is pretty open with neighbors all around. I'm thinking of adding hedge rows to create a border around the yard to give me some privacy and the right plants would also add some security. The right plants would almost serve as a fence but it would have the potential to look a lot better in addition to giving me privacy in the back yard.
We planted Arbovitae (sp?) There are very green and tough. They took about 8 years to fully come up. When they closed ranks, they was no transparency, and to get across you'd need a tank. The only chore while they were growing was removing grub.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:50 PM   #7
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Vining roses on a wire fence form an almost impenetrable barrier and require 1/2 the maintenance of hedges. And in the summer, they're quite attractive.,

Root crops, like beets, leeks, potatoes, turnips, carrots, onions, garlic etc require very little effort to grow and are almost impervious to hail.

Beans and peas are low maintenance as well.
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Old 02-04-2014, 01:17 PM   #8
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Lots of great advice and thanks to all! Quite a few of those ideas will be used. Here in S.C. pretty much anything will grow so that gives me a lot of options and I'm trying for a 1920's type look with the landscaping. My house was built in 1906 and then updated in the 20's so that will fit the house well plus I have a thing for history including period specific plants and landscaping. I've been gardening for most of my life but most of that was in the country and it really didn't matter what the garden looked like. I'm in the city now with a relatively small yard. It's a large yard for the city but small compared to the country so I want the vegetable garden to look nice and be part of the landscaping. I still want to grow all of the things I normally would which is pretty much everything but I want to arrange it so that it adds to the landscaping. I won't be doing things that take a lot of space like corn but a little bit of everything else will fit.

I figure I can also make some of the plants serve "double duty" as buckhuntr pointed out with the blue berries. That was also a great idea with the rice in the "koi" pond and that would really be nice here because rice is a very historically significant plant in S.C. Wild rice and indigo were the main crops in S.C. before cotton and the low country swamps are still covered in wild rice.

Thanks for all the ideas!

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Old 02-04-2014, 02:13 PM   #9
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Do not provide your invaders cover. Sand bag your machine gun placements. Maintain your open field of fire. No small ponds. Water filled trenches and "barb" wire can be decorative and functional. Tips from the Army Rangers Handbook can be helpful.
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:30 PM   #10
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Do not provide your invaders cover. Sand bag your machine gun placements. Maintain your open field of fire. No small ponds. Water filled trenches and "barb" wire can be decorative and functional. Tips from the Army Rangers Handbook can be helpful.
You have no idea how much I would love to go with the trench warfare look, but I already get funny stares from the neighbors when I come home with Bambi on the back of the Tahoe.

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City folks ain't use to seeing where their meat comes from and I don't want my neighbors any more concerned than they already are.


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