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Flower Beds – Coming up with Your Plans

What shape your flower beds will take and where they will be located on your property will depend on what you want to accomplish and on what conditions (such as sun, shade, dry, moist, tree area) you have to work with.

In most cases what is needed will be obvious. You may not be able to do it all immediately, but it should be clear what you need to work on.

I’ll use our current property to illustrate what I mean.

Example # 1

When we moved here 15 years ago there were a few azaleas and some very bad looking shrubs in front of the house. No walk way to the front door and absolutely nothing in the front yard but a large tree that we knew we wanted to incorporate into our final design.  And the drive way circled around the house.

Our first priority was to make a parking area in the front, a natural looking walkway to the porch, and then flower borders bordering that walk way and in front of the house. All that was easy to determine. The only thing that gave us pause was how we would do the walk way. And that was determined mainly by what we had on hand and how much money we could use for the project.

The removal of the bad looking shrubs had to wait several years.

Walk way to the house is between these two flower borders.  Early spring.

Walk way to the house is between these two flower borders. Early spring.

Example #2

By the time all that was accomplished, it had become obvious that another “footprint” island bed was needed to balance the front yard.

This little red maple was only two feet tall when we planted it here.  We enlarged this island bed 3 times before it looked proportionately correct.

This little red maple was only two feet tall when we planted it here. We enlarged this island bed 3 times before it looked proportionately correct.

Example #3

We also knew that a row of termite infested shrubs on the property line beside the drive way — had to go. But it was several years before we could get them out. We knew a fence and flower border would be perfect there — but it took years to get the fence and put that border in.

Example #4

An area in the back of the house and sheds were with several large trees was covered with poison ivy. It had been a dumping place for engines, crabpots, wire and other junk. It took a long time to get all the poison out of the trees and move the junk. We knew we wanted an easy care area for shade. We used perennials in the form of shrubs and ornamental grasses to mark that property line.

This area was once filled with poison, engines, crabpots, and lots of junk.  Shown here as it looked in 2010 the area has improved even more.

This area was once filled with poison, engines, crabpots, and lots of junk. It has improved more since the picture.

Example #5

The area with the most sun and open space was the obvious spot for our vegetable garden.

It took 5 years to get it to full size. We prepared 20% every year and fine tuned the 5th year.

The garden area is fenced. This early spring but you can see the green mounds that are the grasses growing - that line the property line.

The garden area is fenced. This is early spring but you can see the green mounds that are the grasses growing – that line the property line behind the garden.

Example #6

It was obvious immediately that the back of our long rectangular shaped property needed the property line defined to prevent unwelcome use of our property by neighbors. We gave top priority to planting grasses on the property line and shaping and mulching the flower borders although they were not planted immediately.

Several years of a bad situation with the neighbor in the back prevented us from working further on those borders. We literally mulched it heavily and did nothing else until that situation resolved itself. After almost 15 years of living here, I’m still working on getting them like I want them.

Final Thoughts

I hope you see from my own examples — that what needs to be done on your property will probably be very obvious and if not, it will become obvious as you work on the first priority things.

If you’re like we are — and have to make a living too — so ou can’t just put everything down and work solely on landscaping your yard. But I can tell you it’ll get done little by little. And I can give you the secret.

It’s very simple. So much so that you may tend to dismiss it. Please don’t — because it works.

Consistently walk toward your goals by working on them a little each day. It matters not — how little the time each day. If you do this — you’ll gain momentum and attain your goal much more quickly than you thought.

One more important tip: Enjoy every minute of the journey.

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2 comments to Flower Beds – Coming up with Your Plans

  • Sandra

    Hi Theresa, Knowing more about what was there before, makes your beautiful accomplishment even more impressive.

    Work a little every day, OK.

    I have overgrown (by vinca vine and ivy) and weedy ‘flower’ borders. I will pledge to spend 30 minutes today, to begin to clear it.

    I guess clearing and then mulching is the main thing to do to prep. for spring?

  • Theresa

    And Sandra — on days that your brain can’t handle the thought of 30 minutes (I have those days often) — then try 5 minutes or 10 minutes. It will still get the job done! It really is amazing!

    Yes — clear and then mulch. More posts will follow on what else to do.

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