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  Need help with a bare backyard
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posted
First off, Thanks for the time and the help.

Second, budget and DIY-ability are key here. I don't want to spend a fortune and I need to be able to handle it solo or with my wife's help. I'm pretty crafty, but no master carpenter.

My yard is half nice and half nightmare. It's pretty flat up to the rail road ties, then it's a mini-Mt. Everest to the back fence. I think I'll just toss a couple of trees up there and let the Crepe Myrtles grow in along the back fence.
I do want to do something to the lower half to make it more usable. The porch is west-facing and terrible in the afternoon, so the pergola stays. That also means that water features will quickly evaporate in the OK sun and the plants need to tolerate heat/sun.
My idea is to extend the side gardens toward the squared off gardens in front of the patio and creating some sort of firepit/cooking area on the side with the light.
Here are some pics, let me know what you guys think!





 
Posts: 5 | Registered: Mar 07, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here is a pic of the planted stuff in the side gardens. I don't know what it's called, but the taller bushes are red and t*****, the ground cover is moneywort (I think) and there are some misc. shrubs that I can take or leave

 
Posts: 5 | Registered: Mar 07, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The first thing I will say is that those trees are planted WAY to close to the house and "could" cause you some foundation problems in the future.
Tree feeder roots can extend out 3 times the "drip line" and some times even further!

I think I got that you are in Oklahoma? It helps a LOT if we know your location so we know what kind of things to recommend.

Keep an eye on your local Lowes markdown racks for plants. They often have some great deals for perennials that just need a bit of TLC.


"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
 
Posts: 5146 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The trees were planted by the previous owner, but I'll keep an eye on them. They're a couple feet away from the house and don't seem to be tossing off any long surface level root runners, but I'll look into it more. Thanks for the heads up.

Oklahoma is correct, central OK. We're 90's and 100's in the summer and 30's and 40's in the winter with dips around 0 at times.

As for the plants, that's pretty low on my worry list. I don't even know where to put them, haha. I'm struggling most with the overall layout I want and don't have the artistic eye to put it all together myself. The sale racks at Lowes and HD are definitely good resources though.
 
Posts: 5 | Registered: Mar 07, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would urge you to move those trees now. Most of the roots are underground and you cannot see them spreading until damage occurs.

Have you thought about planting in front of your wall dividing your flat area from the hill? I like planting that I can see from the house or patio easily.
 
Posts: 7311 | Location: North MN & Northern AR | Registered: Oct 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I haven't really thought about doing too much there. Smaller, garden bed-type plantings would get drenched when it rains as Niagara Falls little brother forms over those railroad ties during the spring rains. I don't want larger trees there because I think it would take away from the size of the yard. The hill is mostly worthless, but it does make the yard look bigger. Also, we roll out inflatable water toys in the summer from time to time for the little ones and I don't want to cramp the space. Another factor is my time home. I'm in the military, so it's not uncommon for me to spend a summer out where there is no grass. That leaves the wifey and friends to mow and I don't want to make it overly complicated. Also, we're going to be on the hot list for a move here in about 2-3 years, so I don't want to sink a ton of money/effort/personalization into the house when we're going to have to sell it. My main area of focus is near the patio. I'd really like to de-clutter the concrete pad so the overall space is more usable.

Thanks for the "have you thought about this" questions. They're helping me narrow down the areas I really would prefer to focus my efforts.
 
Posts: 5 | Registered: Mar 07, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ok, here's a suggestion....get a long garden hose and put it down where you think you want your new area's outer edge. Then go up on your hill and look at it from a distance and VISUALIZE how YOU see it.
That's what I do for free-flowing flower beds. Standing too close doesn't give you a good perspective!

Lowes & HD also have all kinds of materials you can use for your "floor". Like you could put up a row of blocks of some kind for the boundary and lay stepping stones or pavers where you want a solid surface like for your fire pit & grill and then fill in with gravel or something else.
Opps, you said there were little ones?...forget the gravel or rock unless they mind really well.

Are these the kinds of suggestions you were looking for?

ETA...I agree with meto...get rid of the trees NOW, BEFORE you develop problems. It will also make it easier to sell later by not having more mature trees THAT close to the house!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: ga.karen,


"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
 
Posts: 5146 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Those trees, though spindly will grow to obscure the windows. When you move them away from the foundation you may very well want to reposition them in front of the brick sections rather than the glass.
 
Posts: 748 | Registered: Jan 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The garden hose is a good tip, thanks for the idea. I bet that will help a lot. As for the 'floor,' I was thinking about gravel with pavers for a walkway and probably a paver border around the whole thing. The young-uns are 2.5 and 1, but they listen pretty well. I'm sure I'll be picking up rocks now and then, but I don't want to spend enough to pave the whole thing. I'll probably add flower beds and small shrubs/trees along the way to keep it from looking barren.
Do you have any suggestions for overall arrangement/design of the side? The light is set in concrete, so it wont be going anywhere. How would you go about relocating the grilles (there's a Weber Kettle on the other side of the big grill)and arranging the side for a fire pit and some seating?

As for the trees, I'll add them to this summer's project list. Hopefully I'll be able to work them into the new design and pull them without killing them.

Big thanks again for the time and the suggestions.
 
Posts: 5 | Registered: Mar 07, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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