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 Post subject: New house - new yard
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:29 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:54 pm
Posts: 3
Howdy all!

My wife and I are closing on our first house next Wednesday, and while we're very excited about having our own home, I'm more excited about completely revamping the landscaping, lawn, and starting a small-scale produce raised bed or two.

I haven't taken any soil samples for testing, but will do so in the near future.

I'm taking recommendations for redoing the landscaping up front with the following requirements:

-low maintenance
-drought tolerant/reasonable watering requirements
-all existing plants to be removed (I HATE ligustrum)
-would like perennials only (not big on replacing annuals due to cost/effort)
-I think I'd like a chaste tree on the far left & right of the house as a specimen

I like a more structured arrangement with depth created via height difference, and color intrigue as well. I'm giving some thought to removing the pine tree on the left as it's starting to lean towards the house and allow more room for the bed to curve out towards the drive/street for another specimen tree.

Sorry if this comes off as looking for free landscape design services, but just looking for recommendations of your personal favorites for the Katy area.

Here's a pic of the front elevation.

Thanks in advance!

Front House 1.jpg
Front House 1.jpg [ 93.03 KiB | Viewed 216 times ]
 Post subject: Re: New house - new yard
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:22 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:09 pm
Posts: 1788
Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
I couldn't wait to get my hands on an ugly hedge along the front of my house when I first moved in (and it had been neglected for a couple of years, so had opportunity to get even uglier than it might have been). But I would suggest that once you have the hedge out, take a look at the space for a little while and see what features on the house you might want to highlight.

I have a couple of purple chaste (vitex) trees here. They typically want to grow as multi-stemmed trees and in this form they spread out, so if you plant a vitex on either side of the front you're probably going to have to train it to be a single-stemmed tree and to keep it trimmed - it sends out new branches from the base all season long. They are beautiful, smell wonderful, grow fast, and are native, but keep in mind how that exuberance may crowd that relatively small space.

It looks like those pines are too deep - we don't see the natural root swell of the trees, we see the shaped pile of mulch around the base. You should gently pull the piled up stuff off of the base of the tree until you can see the butt swell at the bottom of the bole.

Image You should be able to see the point where the tree gets wider and perhaps the tops of the largest roots. (Don't worry about the fungal threads part of the illustration - I linked to an image simply so you could see the tree root area - let your new trees breathe and see how they look after a while. They add value to your house and property, so don't be hasty about taking even one of them out.)


 Post subject: Re: New house - new yard
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:54 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:54 pm
Posts: 3
Thanks for the tips/insight!

The pic I posted is a bit old from when the house was first listed (about 1 yr ago). The yard has been neglected since then, the grass is shorter, more weeds, etc.

There is still a fair amount of St. Augustine, but it def needs some organic fertilizer, a higher cut, etc.

The mulch pile has decreased as well, although probably not quite enough yet. I plan on removing some of the soil as per your recommendations. I'll have to transplant some plants that wintered sub-surface. You can already see some of the larger roots that extend outwards from the trees.

I plan on connecting the front bed with the pine tree on the left as it will reduce a 3 ft section of grass that needs to be cut.

I'll take some pics once I get the hedges out and post em up as I go.

Thanks again!

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