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Old 07-25-2012, 04:08 PM   #1
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Another Landscaping Ideas Thread - North TX


So, the house was foreclosed, everything was ripped out, and a couple months after we moved in the tree up front died.
Now I'm left with a fairly ugly front yard.
Not sure what to do with it.
Tentatively going to plant a Red or Live Oak about 4 feet to the left of the of the old tree (that mound of sawdust).
Beyond that I'm conflicted.

I intend to sit on the patio on occasion so I wouldn't mind some privacy, but also not something that is high maintenance.

Attached is the before it was forclosed, and now the after. Ugly. Bare.

Heat tolerant plants will be needed and the house faces south.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:10 PM   #2
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Another Landscaping Ideas Thread - North TX


First two things I would do is scale the yard to paper so you can move plant templates around. You can find cheap or free software or do at the old fashioned way with a scale or graph paper. With a plan you can design irrigation system runs and move plant templates around.

Second thing that really concerns me is that tree looked perfectly healthy in the picture. Did somebody turn mean because of the foreclosure and poison your soil? I hope not but some are leaving foreclosed properties very bitter? I would most certainly invest in a soil sample. Perhaps insects or disease got to the tree? It just seems like it happened supernaturally fast? Whatever, you want to resolve what killed it before spending money on new plant material.

Decide on what look you want for the landscape and keep in mind context with surrounding properties. Trees are great landscape design investments. Unless you can afford long ones they will take awhile to establish.

Think about at least drip irrigation for flowers, shrubs and trees. Beyond the plumbing connections it is cheap and easy to install. Plants love it and watering in gallons per hour, rather than gallons per minute, and just where you want it just makes sense?

Decide on how much lawn you really want remembering it is the most high maintenance of any landscape element. Think about tolerant ground covers instead. They can add color, texture, movement and drama. Maybe a nicely placed boulder with your house number is in your future---I promise you will never have to mow it! Lay out remaining lawn (if any) with nice curves so you don't have to make square turns with your mower. Look into something like poured borders from Border Magic or a competitor to separate your groundcover or turf areas from shrubs, flowers, etc. You mention low maintenance but be really honest about what that means in terms of both money and time you are really willing to commit to the landscape---initially and long term as it matures.

Visit the library, ag extension folks, or the arborist for your community to see what kinds of plants and trees will do best in your climate. The more you can hold to native or climate tolerant plants the better you will be. Get to know a real nursery, not the box store plant department, near you. Some may have designers or even landscape architects on staff that will work at a discount or be subsidized by nursery purchases.


Last edited by user1007; 07-25-2012 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:23 PM   #3
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Another Landscaping Ideas Thread - North TX


Quote:
Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
First two things I would do is scale the yard to paper so you can move plant templates around. You can find cheap or free software or do at the old fashioned way with a scale or graph paper. With a plan you can design irrigation system runs and move plant templates around.

Second thing that really concerns me is that tree looked perfectly healthy in the picture. Did somebody turn mean because of the foreclosure and poison your soil? I would most certainly invest in a soil sample. Perhaps insects got to the tree? Whatever, you want to resolve what killed it before spending money on new plant material.

Decide on what look you want for the landscape and keep in mind context with surrounding properties. Trees are great landscape design investments. Unless you can afford long ones they will take awhile to establish.


Think about at least drip irrigation for flowers, shrubs and trees. Beyond the plumbing connections it is cheap and easy to install. Plants love it and watering in gallons per hour, rather than gallons per minute, and just where you want it just makes sense?

Decide on how much lawn you really want. Think about tolerant ground covers instead. They can add color, texture, movement and drama. Lay out remaining lawn with nice curves so you don't have to make square turns with your mower.

Visit the library, ag extension folks, or the arborist for your community to see what kinds of plants and trees will do best in your climate. The more you can hold to native or climate tolerant plants the better you will be.
Thanks for the info.
That picture of the healthy tree was from 2007, so here we are 5 years later and Its hard to tell exactly what happened to the tree. When we bought the house in May it had given a 1/2 hearted attempt to bloom and grow leaves but quickly died. I noticed black bare areas of bark on the trunk. The Arborist who cut it down said he had seen LOTS of sugar maples like it dead this year from the record heat of last year. Which is why he suggested planting something native (like a red oak) several feet away from the old stump. A soil test might not be a bad idea though.

Everyone seems to be doing their own thing on the street, attached in the view up and down the street. So I've got license to do what I want I think. I don't like the round looking bushes, the ones that look like lolly pops...

I hadn't thought about ground cover though, thats a good idea to fill the space where I don't want to deal with grass.

Lots to think about. I've taken to taking a 20min walk around the surrounding streets because I need the exercise but also because I wanted to see what other people are doing as well. Finding things I like. I would take a camera and get some pictures but I'm afraid people might take offense to me taking pictures of their yard at 0620.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:45 PM   #4
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Another Landscaping Ideas Thread - North TX


I wouldn't worry about taking pictures of peoples' yards unless you are doing so from inside the bedroom windows. I think most people would be flattered. You could always leave a note in the mailbox saying you took a picture because you liked what they had done.

Your neighbors may be good sources of information as well and especially about which nurseries are nice to deal with and so forth. Some might have groundcovers that need trimming and you might be able to grow some for your yard from cuttings.

I was an early pioneer in the use of drip irrigation in landscape design in Northern California. I admit I was inspired by a drought but quickly fell in love with the concept. It just makes so much sense and is so much better for plants and soil.

And I think these droughts are going to be a recurring theme. You might as well plan your landscape for them. Worst that would happen is you are proved wrong. Drip irrigation still makes sense. Putting water just where you want it will cut way down on weeding just to start.

Do scale the yard. It will give you another way to think about it. Some of the software will even do 3D projections for you.

Last edited by user1007; 07-25-2012 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:31 AM   #5
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Another Landscaping Ideas Thread - North TX


Its been almost a year since I came here asking for help. Thanks to the advice and just looking at other people's projects gave me the confidence to do what needed to be done. Last August I got the tree, and last week I finally started on the planter box. The new plants are Kaleidoscope Abelias and on the end of the row I'm planning on putting a Texans Mountain Laurel (just a small one, 5 gallon, they grow pretty slow). Then on the left side of the row I'm going to put... something, we hadn't decided yet.
Here is my progress:

Before any changes


With the new Tree:


Planter area in progress (scraping grass away is a pain in the rhymes with grass...)


And the new Abelias. I'm not done with the bricks, they will be leveled and straightened up a bit.
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