now we have an acre- dont know what to do with it!

Oologah, OK

we have 1 acre lot. 1/2 is out front. ranch house with front porch deck. There is small flower bed along foundation. but I have this huge yard- 1 acre across, that has drainage ditch next to road, and some errosion right in front of it- all across front line. ** I have 200 Ixias(mixed) and 200 Brodiaea - Queen Fabiola (blue/purple) I got for a steal, coming in a few days.** So I better figure out quick where to put them, and get DH out there withl tiller! We also want to put a fish pond in front by the front deck. If I set some type of retaining (ties or rock) along front, maybe sections of split rail fence? do yo think the 200 Ixia bulbs along front line will be too much? Or should we go with evergreens from privacy? (My view across the street at neighbors house is not a good one from inside my house) **I also have 15 peony roots on the way ! ** and have a long driveway to north side of this rectangular house. was thinkg peonies along side of drive? and fish pond around the front deck?? I dunno now- I am frozen!. I dont want it to look too busy- but I love lots of color and cottage type look too. I want it to look good but not chaotic! Soooo much space/yard everywhere! only 2 small trees centered to the house -about 1/2way up front yard. and of course a very tiny budget to work with on all this! I cant sem to find any landscape pictures eve close to what I have, to get an idea.

This message was edited Apr 27, 2009 8:09 PM

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Piedmont, SC(Zone 7b)

Can you post some pics to let us see. Slow down and take a breath. Try to focus on one area at a time. Focus on one area and ask question about it, be more precise in your questions. I can feel your tension all the way here. Let us help you. Breath Breath

Oologah, OK

LOL OK. I guess first project is the 400 bulbs that are coming. I would like to use them across front line of yard. there is a drainage ditch next to road, and about 6ft up into the yard, a line across where there is some errosion. Full Sun. House faces West. no windbreaks.
1. do I need to put in retainer wall? Its a full acre across on a corner lot. I would have to find a cheap way to do that.
2. I wanted to see something pretty looking from my kitchen window. my original plan was to use short sections of fence- about 6- and have climbing vines /flowers on them, but I now have these bulbs coming that were too cheap to pass up. Maybe plant flowers in front of fence sections, add vines later if I need more height?
3. will the mixed colors of Ixia and Queen Fabiola together be too many colors- especially if I use the Peonies along side of driveway?

4. Peonies are on their way too.. LOL... 2nd project for them- but I have to consider pink and white Peonies out front in order to decide where to plant thse flower bulbs.

5. Will the Peony bushes look good along front line?
then I would not need the fence sections at all. I have lots of space to plant the flower bulbs. its all grass right now. side of driveway, along front walkup- around a fish pond , or along property line on south side of corner lot.

I am terrible at making the design decisions.. I have too many options out there LOL. Its pretty much a blank slate, not counting area along foundation beds.

Our kids are grown, and dogs have thier own area outback. so, the yard is mine for what I like. Its semi-rural area- small division all 1 acre or better lots.

heres the flower bulbs- 200 of each.

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Oologah, OK

sorry- 2nd set of bulbs:

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McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

Don't spread yourself too thinly. You will get more bang for the buck and a better view if you concentrate of one area at a time. Decide what your most important areas are, and concentrate on them. You wont be able to do everything this year, but you will be able to say "look at what I did", and see a difference.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

First things first don't order anymore plants until you do something with what you have coming. Take pics and measurements and then make a plan on paper. When you ordered the peonies where did you have in mind to put them?
I'd need to see a pic of the front to give me an idea of what would look you need to have a permit to put anything close to the road?
Do you hang out in the front enough to enjoy the fish pond? Is that a necessary project for this year?

Make sure you slow down and do one project at a time or you're going to wear yourself out.

(Zone 5b)

shubbard that's exactly what my yard was, a big blank slate, an acre with nothing. No trees just a few shrubs planted improperly (azaleas in full sun, roses on the north...) I felt exactly like you do! I made quite a few mistakes trying to fix my "field." I finally did learn to concentrate on one area at a time, I was so overwhelmed. If an area had me stumped I left it for a while. I looked at TONS of landscaping & gardening sites & magazines. Maybe you can pot up some of those plants you have and then you can move them around the first year?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I agree with everyone who said take it slow and do one area at a time--unless you can afford to pay someone to come in and install the entire landscape for you all at once you'll kill yourself trying to do it all in one year. Plus if you're just starting out, you're bound to make some mistakes and that way you can learn from them in a small area before you make the same mistake over an acre of garden. I think you'll definitely want to put in some things besides bulbs though--they are gorgeous for the short time they are in bloom but they typically have a fairly short bloom period and look very boring when they're not in bloom. If you can afford it, I'd recommend hiring a local landscape designer to help you come up with a plan--it shouldn't cost a ton to do that and it could really help you. Then once you have the plan, you can choose one area at a time to work on and after a few years you'll get it all done.

Oologah, OK

I certainly agree with al of you. I was trying to plan out the front yard, and looking for plants, when I saw these on sale. 24$ for 400 bulbs on clearance I coudlnt pass it up. peonies I have been wishing for forever,and they happen to be on sale too! I had a little plant money in the bank, and just got swept away.LOL. I have been searching landscaping sites, pics, just havnet found any even close to what I have. yes I have plans to put in evergreens along one property line- we need a windbreak and some privacy in back. I will try our local home depot or nursery see if they have any ideas as well. they know what plants will work out here Im sure. I can go by there this weekend. The front yard is foremost project. I still have back and side yard as well..LOL. so what I ordered was to be for the front.
Im thinking these bulbs and peony roots will need to go in ground as soon as I can when they arrive right? this is just first project out here. we have driveway, sidewalk and roof work to do as well. when we moved in, weve had 2 ice storms, 2 tornados, so we have repair work to do, and havent gotten to any of the other improvments yet. you can see that by the pics. The front deck and ramp not yet finished, but almost.. DH is working on that. and the front beds have old metal divider that I can take out, and make those beds whatever shape. they go all across front foundation.
No restrictions or easements to the road out front. I have lots of ideas, and I know it will take some time, I just cant decide which plan will look the best.. I know! Spring fever got to me for sure!

the back deck has dog fence around it, so we were thinking of the front porch to sit and enjoy fish pond. otherwise we have to walk ot around the house to the back yard, outside dog fence. I dont like dog fence where it is, but thats where it is, and dogs have doggy door. and they would eat the fish I think! so thats not urgent, just trying to make a plan with it all out front to include it, so I know where to plant these.
Problem with this area, most contractors hard to get out here, unless you are really spending significant money, which we are not. so we do the work ourselves. Thanks for all the advice! I will see if I can at least get a landscape plan from someone to work from. I dont want to have to move the peonies, as I hear it they really dont take to it well.
We moved from very large house in city suburb, to downsized country house in rural area. had to adjust to loss of income, lost my OT at work, plus 1 son still in college, so, much lower house payment. I am trying to make at least the yard as pretty as I can, while we tackle the house projects as we can afford. This plant order was cheap enough to try and do something with it out there, so at least I have something nice to look at since it will take a couple years to finish all the major projects, like drive, garage, etc. for the house. It will help me with this adjustment, I love being in the counrty, but outside of this house takes getting used to, need to do alot of fixing up. ( bought foreclosed property, ws vacant for couple years)
ty, Sue
here are couple of pics of front yard.
thanks again, and all suggestions are welcome!

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Oologah, OK

sorry cant figure out how to post more than 1 pic to each message ?

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Oologah, OK

sorry one more- it was raining, hope it helps a little.

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Oologah, OK

to answer question I missed- I was thinking of planting peonies up along the driveway . we will be suracing the drive, but not for awhile yet. at lest the view from the front porch the peonies would be prettry and hide the driveway. LOL the drive is about 35 feet from road up. I have 15 peonies coming. 5-Festiva Maxima / white. 5- Sarah Bernhardt / light pink , and 5-Sorbet / lite pink and melon colors.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

There isn't a way to post more than 1 pic to a message unless you do a collage.(maybe they'll fix that someday)
Anyway....I think a retaining wall would look great stacked stone or those interlocking ones(can't remember the proper name) Not really necessary but would look great. If you don't do a wall I can see a combination flowering shrub line, so you have interest year round. If you wanted to block the view something evergreen would be better.

I looked up Ixia because I wasn't familiar with them...I see they are hardy to zone 10. I think you're in zone 7???

Oologah, OK

thanks flowerjen! I am in zone 6B/7. I think stacked rock would be a good idea, and smaller ones you can find for free here if you look.
the Ixia/ african lily- it says loves sun and heat. and blooms june-august. it will be plenty hot and sunny here. house faces west. so looks like I could put them about anywhere out there. they look really pretty from pics online I think!
I could do wall so soil stays intact, and plant peonies across front?. they say to plant them 3-4 ft apart, so maybe 14 willbe enough to go across front.
Its a toss up between front line and up the side of the driveway ? its full sun out there at least 6-8 hrs day.
I can also use Ixia and queen fab bulbs around other areas- corner bed, mailbox bed, mixed into foundation beds, along front walk. so I could scatter them around instead of one area planting? I know I am going in circles... endless choices...LOL
looking at that front drop off againthough- I think retaining wall of some sort is a must. so I have landscape project #1. !

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central, NJ(Zone 6b)

There ya go.... your starting point... and so it begins!!!!! Have fun.


If getting started is half done you are in real good shape. Most of what you have can be moved at the proper time any year. Any goofs can be corrected as time goes on.

Oologah, OK

thanks docgipe! I broke the news to DH about the retaining wall. lol, If I can get the peonies in there in time, thats the main concern. ty ecrane too, I looked again at descriptions on the bulbs, and they do have grass like leaves when they are not in bloom, so that would not give me thelook I wanted along the front line.I never even thought of that! so I have lots of space to layer those bulbs around in the exsisting beds and planter boxes.Even a naturalized effect along side yard maybe.a little spring and summer flowers for now. when the design is done like you said, I can dig them up in the fall. thanks for the great support, I am not so stressed out now! YAY!!!! I will post some pics when we get the wall in. Cant wait to see those peonies grow and bloom !! I am so impatient,, can ya tell! HAha

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Bulbs are very cooperative. They go down and brown when we are not so busy with other things. That is the time to move them..........sometime in early summer or very late spring.

I'm lazy and getting aged for sure. Sometimes I just dig up one clump of daffs, sort out the small ones and return about half the large ones. That gives me a good start for one or two new clumps. That is how most of my expansons happened. I'm not one for digging up a whole darn bed. Indeed that becomes work in a hurry. The small bulbs will bloom in another year or two.

Livermore, CA(Zone 9b)

I love peonies, too - but they do die back in the Fall, so would pretty up the view for only part of the year. Will you put something in with them? How fun to have so much space to work with !


Invest in the idea of planting off the back third into a black walnut woodlot. That could easily educate one great grand child. It take twenty to thirty years to mature. It makes vaneer logs worth thousands each. The care is relatively easy. Google up Musser + tree seedlings. Musser or your local advisers might suggest something else for your location.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Take a photograph of your front garden from the roadway, one that will include your house, take several in fact and choose the one that gives you the clearest picture, have this blown up to the largest size you can, then pin this picture onto white paper (the back of old wall paper or wall lining paper is ideal as you can get it easy enough at sale or discontinued Lot's. stick this to a board or wall, cover this wish clear tracing paper and draw an outline of all the features and any structures you need to keep and work with, things like water pipes, ditches, shrub / trees, walkways, overhangs etc, etc, make a note of all these items down the side of the white paper to remind you they are to be incorporated into the design, then just draw, scribble or let your imagination flow, use coloured crayons to give you ideas of shape and form, things like a lavender planted border up the walkway if you think that is your taste, add different greens for shrubs and trees, draw circles, squares or other kidney shaped beds etc and colour those in so you get the feel of what you want the layout to look like and note at the side all the plants /trees / shrubs etc that will look good and interesting for you to look at both from the inside of your home and the entrance from the road, it is like painting by numbers.
Even though you wont get it all done in the one season, you will have the basic plan to work from, will help to have continuity as you go along, and as everyone else has said, just work on the one area at a time, otherwise you will spend a lot of money on things that will need moved, unsuitable or look out of place, AND it's fun to do. you can just work on your plan when you get an idea or time, if you go wrong, you just rip off that page of tracing paper and start again, keep a note of all the plants you like, for winter colour too, and go to the library for books to show you full grown specimens in winter/ spring / summer, you will also be able to read what type of soil they require and do a soil test on your own site to see what type of soil YOU have, not all plants can be grown if you dont have the right conditions to suit, have a good look around your parks / neighbourhood and look to see what grows well there, this is a good indicator or what survives your seasons, soil and temp.
You sound a bit like a rabbit caught in headlights and so overwhelmed by the size and thoughts of what lies ahead of you, so as everyone else has said, take time and slow down, then you will gain experience as to what different plants require, what YOU want from the garden and you will enjoy the whole experience as the garden SLOWLY takes shape and form, this also helps to slow down the costs of it all, giving time to rectify any things you think needs changed. good luck and just take it easy to give you time to enjoy, best wishes. WeeNel.

Florence, MS(Zone 7b)

I have a freind who only has .8 acres and has an incredible assortment of fruit trees and shrubs and nut trees. You may consider putting in some edible plants with your landscaping. Zone 6b/7a- you may be able to put in cherries and apples (like honeycrisp apple, the best I've ever tasted!) that I can not in Jackson Mississippi (zone 8a). I really enjoy the blueberries and oriental persimmons and pomegranates, low maintenance on insect problems. I lost my peach and plum crop this year to plum curiculo and will spray next year to save the crop. My kids and I really enjoy grazing on thornless blackberries. I just started some raspberries that are heat-resistant; I just added them into the wildflower meadow I made as a transition into some woods. Pomegranates are insect free (for me, so far) and beautiful too, as is pinapple guava. Nothing like eating the fruit from your own trees! That is, if I can get to it before my kids do!

I'm a forester and am all for planting black walnut, but I already have my 2 acres crammed with fruit trees and shrubs, too many to start a black walnut stand. I'll be lucky to fit in some pawpaw trees I'm germinating now. Plus I'm trying to learn to graft persimmon trees- I found out last year when my first tree fruited that I REALLY love persimmons! So many trees and so little $$, so I've got to learn to propagate them myself....

Luckily we only have 1/4 acre out front that we have to keep up for the neighbors, and can landscape the back 2 acres with our vegetable garden, mini-orchard, and wildflower garden (we are on a triangle lot on a cul-de-sac, with the house set to the front).

Warning: fruit tree growing is addictive, and you will run out of space quickly! If you have a half-acre in the back, consider planting some favorite fruit trees soon (this fall) so you can start getting fruit, and planning your landscaping around them! They are beautiful as any tree and make great backbones for landscaping smaller plants.

Susan aka Zonkel, and a serious fruit tree addict....

This message was edited May 7, 2009 12:53 PM

Oologah, OK

Hi guys! thnks weeNel- thats a good idea- a workboard! why didnt i htink of that lol. I tried online design, and paper, but its too small to reallyget a good feel of how it will look. and trees sound great too. It finally stopped raining here today in OK, been raining for a week. I have the bulbs in. they are pretty small, but supposed to be it says on website. all packaged in groups of 10 & 25, all labeled. most look like they are starting to sprout, & looks like by the size of them, I Should plant them in groups. they both bloom late spring an sumer, and so does Peonies, so I prolly wont go with the mass planting I ws thinking of. the leaves are grassy and thin, so maybe spread them around. they wont go as far as I thought they would, but thats ok, at5 cents apiece, ll get my moneys worth if they bloom. the peony roots look good mostly. They re 2-3 eyes as advertised, the Sorbet roots are huge, and Sarah Bernhardt are good size too, all sprouting good size eyes now. only ones on smaller size were the Festia Maxima. but theydo have 2 eyes on roots, just not as large as others. They came packed in plastic with wood shavings? Anyways, we have alot of digging to do this Sat. I hope it doesnt runi the roots & bulbs to wait 2 days. stilldont have maerial for retainingwall, so we may be putting it in asap, then planting right bedhind it. I learned the hard way on this one. Dont let the sales get to you before you are ready !! 15 peonies either up the drive or across the retaining wall in front. not sure what to plant with them for Fall color. Ill have an idea maybe next year, once I see them grown. and to Docgipe- wow- when I was 3, we lived in Indiana in country and had a whole forest of black walnut trees. we used to spend hours cracking those shells on the porch! LOL. I didnt know about the wood though. and I just may take up fruit trees susan. who knows. zone 6B/7. I would like to make the back a forest like setting with walkways, benches, shade, fountain. A retreat for me, since I am the only one here that enjoys the plants and flowers, ha. My husband ordered a fish pond kit though- he really likes those. SO what a lot of projects we have to work on! We will be very busy this weekend! S'ok- Ill get all I can out of Mom's day LOL.I hope I dont have to move these bulbs or peonies later, so trying to get the design for those in right. If it doesnt work, Ijust keep reminding myself, I can move them. As long as I get the soil right, and I know my sun conditions are right. Im not taking any chances on the clay soil here, so going with raised beds, plantings with good garden soil and compost. Ill start looking for the workboard materials now- that ill save us some mitakes I think!
thanks again to all of you! Whew I have calmed down a bit now.

Florence, MS(Zone 7b)

It is exciting yet overwhelming to have land as a palette to plant a masterpiece! You are doing the right thing by planning, but i found out I ended up in "analysis paralysis" when I thought too much without drawing it out. Congratulations on your 'hobby' which will keep you happily busy for years to come! Have fun! Susan

Oologah, OK

just quick update- I decided on up along house side for the peonies. It was a litle rainy and cool today, so my DH got out there for me and dug 15 holes, and we got them all planted. alot of work, but willbe well worth it. we didnt find materials for retaining wall, and up driveway was better choice for windblock. cars will be alongside north of them. I am so excited to finally have my peonies and planted!! I've wanted these for years! Now if they will just grow and bloom. They will definitely be my "babies" out there, so ill b watching carefully. 1 project down. whoohoo!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Any progress reports or pic updates? Inquiring minds wanna know!


Oologah, OK

update to the landscaping delimma- well I ended up with 15 peonies up along the drive- an they all came up beautifully this year- all blooming! they arent very big , lol, but they are blooming and are gorgeouse! all those Ixia and queen fabiolias I planted- well none of those came up at all. Should have known those were too cheap! we added new flower bed in front of the deck, added concrete edgers, with the honeysuckle growing up trelis as a backdrop- thats growing like wildfire too. Planted penstemons- red husker? along back line - red bark with pale pink flowers, then infront of honeysuckle put in pale pink daylilies(margerite). (these were on sale locally), added a couple of catmints to break up colors. In the exsisting flower bed in front of foundation, shrubs are growing nicely, added blue pincushions, lambs ears, couple of marigold multicolors, and couple of yellow petunias on corner end in front of the blanketflowers and forsythia, replanted a white spirea as well. (harsh winter slowed down the blanket flowers, but a few are hanging in there.).also added some hens and chicks, and stonecrop, and 3 different sedums, blue, bright yellow angelina, and dragons blood, intermixed along front , and the purple speedwells are coming back, and blooming.. lots of work this weekend, and still have concrete tile pavers to put in for new sidewalk going up to front deck, but its looking much improved now. Ill get some pics and post them, quick before a tornado gets it all...still have front roadside and north property line hedge of some sort to figure out,,, and broke ground on a small fishpond far end of front deck, just right of front door, thats a weekend project when weather permits, but no hurry. so little by little,, it goes

Bella Vista, AR(Zone 6b)

Pictures, I need pictures! haha


You are having design problems not being able to visualize and create beds. Invest in a landscape designer planner to develop a plan. Put a hold on all other expense until you see something on paper that you like. Then resume progress a little a a time within the plan. It appears to me that you have no plan and are somewhere between a state of confusion and personal stress. Do not put yourself down for seeking this help. Do not keep spending your bucks in a helter skelter way. The end result will be less than desirable.

Make your next bargain a decent plan. Go dollar down and a dollar a week for this if you must with your designer. Don't within reason pinch the budget to give he or she a opportunity to do a good job. Up front have an estimate, discuss it, and the end result will be understood and done well. In some areas the local nurseryman would be a possible helper to you. Ask for a reference or two. With this in hand come back here on line to seek help finding your plants or alternatives to plants in the plan. Pick a small part of the plan and work it until it is finished. Your puzzle will come together nicely. You will be so proud because you were able to do most of it. Folks will begin asking you how you learned to do it so nicely.

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