Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Goodbye, lilac - hello, design dilemmas

Before (in the fall):




Looking at this confirms for me that I at least liked the sense of enclosure/surprise the lilac generated by mostly hiding the garden from view. Going straight in the way it does now seems bland. But what to do instead???

Fine Gardening has a shot of a lovely side yard along the same lines, albeit a little longer; the path ends in a big japanese-style arbour and gate. I'm not a fan of that style, but could I do some sort of arbour or hardscape entrance by the shed, or would that be silly/redundant, given the (admittedly not exactly stylish) gate into the carport?

Entrance viewed from the other side:


Ugly-ass air conditioner needs to be hidden somehow, too. And an additional problem:


Big-ass swath of bare shady dirt, aka weed factory. I mean, my eventual deck would cover it, but that's not happening this year (to put it as optimistically as possible). If worst comes to worst I'll just throw a pile of mulch over it, but bleh.

Preliminary scribbly brainstorming for what I might do:

For this spring, anyway:




From the other side:


Which eventually would become:


I had schemes for a japanese maple back here -


- but I'm not sure how the eventual deck would fit around that.

Please weigh in intarwebz! Other ideas??


  1. How much sun does a Japanese Maple need? As in, could it thrive in that Pile O' Dirt under the cedars, or is that space going to be reserved for shade-loving, acid-friendly rock-garden type stuff?

    Could the Japanese Maple go further forward in a space that would, eventually, but up against the deck (and could be retaining-walled in as a bit of a fixture)? Might mean adding it after the deck goes in, mind you.

    I really like the trelis idea for along the side of the house/deck-to-be. It gives you the Secret Garden feeling while still allowing for easy through-trafic. I like this plan. :-D
    A thought: Perhaps doing an open arch, rather than a Japanese-style gate might be more in keeping with your Cottage Garden aesthetic. :-)

    Question: How much shade hits that area? Is this a clamatis type trelis (part-shade is okay) or a hardy rose type trelis? Or a grape trelis (shade is not typically a huge problem, that I know of), for that matter? (Although they need fairly regular pruning to keep them from taking over - and the encourage them to make fruit, rather than leaves - so you may be less interested in that option).

    Re: Weed Magnet (deck-space): Mulch may be the way to go. Conversely, you could fill the space with super-cheap annuals that won't self-seed (and then mulch over that) in the name of Added Colour. If you've got extra cash to throw around at Canadian Tire or something. Impatiens and Pansies and similar, maybe. YMMV.

    Anyway. Those are my garden-tastic thoughts. :-D

    Meliad. ;-)

  2. Yay, gardentastic thoughts!! :D

    Sun is less the issue for the japanese maple than space - the one I have in mind gets to be 15-20 ft tall and wide. Puts it about the same size as the lilac, actually, just with a skinnier profile at the bottom (vs. mad 8' circle of suckers). Although I will probably put a smaller variety in the current pile o dirt space anyway.

    The whole area is very shady, probably too much so for clematis to flower well, but I am not without creepy crawly possibilities. Virginia creeper is probably the easiest - esp because it could also climb up the house w/o support - but I might also try silver lace vine, akebia (chocolate vine), or dutchman's pipe. Although the arbour/arch thingy may be a better spot for aclematis...hmmm! Will have to check.

    If I do the trellis thing as planned, what I'd probably do is put in a temporary garden bed in front of the air conditioner - I'd still focus on perennials to fill it up, because it may be there for a few years, but I'll make sure they're all transplantable.