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?