Need garden design help for new garden and old gardener

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

I will be moving again in less than 6 months. Do not know what I can get for a house (small front yard?) and sunny back yard but will not get a place where I cannot garden. I also do not want to mow a lot or at all.

I looked at Amazon for books but saw nothing that looked great. I have many gardening books in boxes - still in the garage - and might have some good ones there.

I want flowers (have most), dwarf fruit trees, roses (have most), clematis (have most), dwarf shrubs (flowering, foliage, and some evergreen), food plants staked, in tubs and buckets (have), solar lights (have), black mulch instead of grass - if possible, bird bath and feeders (have). I do not want ugly raised beds or plants set out like little soldiers. I think the unruly tomatoes and cucumbers need to be kept separate. I can use curves if I use black rubber mulch for paths and bricks. They really look good together. Can I just lay out curves and will this look good?

From what I remember from my books - I need to lay out the bones, trees, shrubs first. Maybe if I look at pretty pixs, I could lay out curvy patterns, put in the tall items, then the shrubs. Worry about my plants and kitchen things (tomatoes, cucs) later. Put the messy kitchen things behind something so they are not obvious?

This message was edited Oct 24, 2011 5:44 PM

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

It's hard to do much planning if you don't even know what your yard is going to be like yet--I'd definitely post again once you have found a place, then you can post some pictures so people can see the space, talk about how much sun/shade you have in different areas, etc. In the meantime, browse around magazines, websites like Better Homes & Gardens, etc and get ideas of gardens that you like and you'll be well prepared when you do find the new place.

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)


Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Do you have your heart set on rubber mulch? I'd suggest thinking about an organic. They have black-tinted cedar down here. I'd imagine you could get something similar. Or folks here use decomposed granite a lot, too. Either way, just something that will add to the soil instead of being inert. It's definitely possible to have a lovely yard without a lawn.

It's more and more trendy to have the food garden plants in the front, but that's all to taste.

Do you know what city you're moving to? I would think definitely you can start doing research about varieties and about local nurseries. I'd suggest especially boning up on natives, since those will help attract to the bird bath and feeders. Many consider some bunch grasses, even if you don't want the expanse of lawn.

Keep us posted...

Fairfax, VA(Zone 6b)

When it comes time to design your curved beds, lay out a garden hose to the curve you would like. It can easily be moved and remember wide curves are more pleasing then sharp curves.

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

Thanks. The hose idea sounds feasible. I have zero design sense. I really need to locate all those gardening books I have in boxes.

Detroit, MI

Can anyone tell me where to look for a forum on "Fairy Gardens"

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

For froto the forum to look for on DG that shows fairy gardens is "Tiny Gardens"

For carolmo a book you might be interested in looking at is called "Front Yard Gardens" Growing More Than Grass, by Liz Primeau. Lots of photos showing delightful, varied ideas.
There are many ground covers and native grasses and native carexes that can substitute for grasses and don't require the mowing, or as much care as traditional grasses.
I'm not in your zone so I don't have specific recommendations that would work in your state but if you look up no mow lawns or
something like "The Dead Lawn Society" online you'll come up with lots of information.

This message was edited Nov 22, 2011 10:28 AM

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

Just ordered the book Front Yard Gardens, and 3 others. Thanks.

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

not getting that house

This message was edited Jan 11, 2012 6:50 AM

Thumbnail by carolmo
Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

not this house

This message was edited Jan 11, 2012 6:51 AM

This message was edited Jan 11, 2012 6:52 AM

Thumbnail by carolmo
Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

This is from my last house, had to terrace the back. Real pain to water. Killed one flowering cherry when planted on topmost terrace. New one lived when planted on flat area at bottom of hill. I never want to do this again. Want flat garden, will have it. Also will not have to treat another wood fence (see the one in the back here). Will also stake my trees when small. 2 trees crushed by heavy early snow on leaves one year, flowering plum down to ground - lost, 2nd flowering cherry (one on bottom of hill) down to ground, back up most of the way, lopsided later.

Thumbnail by carolmo
Virginia Beach, VA

I love the terrace from the old house. Your lot is the same measurement as mine. We had been here for over 30 yars and all sides are planted.

We too has zoysia and we love it!!!

As far as carpeting in Living room hard wood floors to me is easier to care and can with stand traffic.

Have fun decorating in and out, take your time.


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