Landscaping Problem Solving - How to make problem areas of your lawn into beautiful landscaping details
Every homeowner dreams of a picture-perfect lawn and garden. But most homeowners don't have a perfect base on which to build their perfect landscaping. By working with - instead of against - your lawn's flaws, you can create a unique, beautiful landscape.
Dress up a utilitarian area of your yard with a container garden! Place a variety of pot sizes in the corner or along the edge of an area you want to spruce up. Container gardens can create more distinct borders or just brighten up a corner.
A steep hill can be a real problem for mowing and erosion. Eliminate the hazard by installing terraces or simply installing plants, long grasses, and shrubs with good sturdy root systems on the slope. For plants, try ajuga, junipers, ferns, daylilies or ivy. Ornamental grasses that will work well include American beach grass, European dune grass, or blue wild rye. Lowbush and highbush blueberry, Eastern ninebark, and Tartarian dogwood are slope-friendly bushes that will establish deep roots and help prevent erosion. When planting on a slope, plant diagonally across the hill to prevent running water from having any direct paths down the hill.
While a fence is always a good option to block out the neighbors, it might be out of your budget and can make your yard feel smaller. If you only need to block the view from a certain area of your yard (such as the patio), consider installing a simple trellis in just the right spot. When covered in viney plants, a trellis creates a beautiful and perfectly private barrier. Attach brackets to hold candles and create a romantic backyard retreat at a low cost.
When you have a small yard, your inclination might be to plant small plants, but this will actually decrease the perceived size of the space. Instead, use medium-sized plants with large leaves and little texture to keep the space from feeling busy and crowded. Make sure perennials are slow growing to keep down the amount of maintenance required. Also use color carefully, both in plants and other decor. Mismatched or clashing colors will stand out and create visual noise. Tall vertical pieces such as pillars, trellises, or trees will bring the eye upward and create a feeling of larger space.
In an area with high traffic or other noise pollution, installing a barrier is your best bet to reduce noise in your yard. One of the most simple and beautiful barriers is a berm, a mound of earth about three to five feet tall with a gentle slope to avoid erosion. By itself, a berm will block and absorb a significant amount of noise. Covered in beautiful plants, trees and shrubs, it will block even more noise and create a landscaping feature piece. Design the plantings on your berm with as much care as you put into the rest of your lawn and you can create a beautiful, natural barrier between your outdoor oasis and the outside world. If you don't have space for a berm, a fence or wall will also make a good barrier and can be designed to match your landscape plan. You can also install a flowing water feature to create a bit of natural white noise to drown out the traffic on the other side of the barrier.
With a little planning and consideration, your yard's natural flaws can turn into some of its most beautiful features.