I've been in my house for eight years and gardened for seven of them. Three years ago, I had a garden designer lay down the bones of the back garden for me. In the intervening three years, I've created the potager, planted roses, increased the blue and yellow border by the garage, acquired a hammock and a comfy little bistro set, planted a lot of lavender, and continuously tweaked the plantings. No garden is ever done, of course, but I'm happy with the current layout. The beds are bursting and the potager is surprisingly productive for such a tiny space.
The problem is that I still have a ton of things to experiment with, and the available back garden space is nil. I can't cram a whole lot more in there without digging up more of the lawn (which is currently about one-third the size it used to be) and trashing the circular theme I've got going. So of course, my thoughts have turned to the front yard.
While I consider the space behind my house a garden, the front is really still more of a yard. After my sewer pipe ruptured four years ago, I took advantage of the destruction of the front yard. I pulled out the yews that had been in front of the house and asked a garden designer for a plan.
At the time, I just wanted a pretty front yard that looked welcoming and left me some space for flowers. So a curving border along the front of the house has a serviceberry, three hollies, many purple daylilies, three lilacs, a vibrunum, two creeping junipers, and three Knock Out red roses. The other side of the door is home to three more hollies, an Anabelle hydrangea, a nest spruce, and more daylilies. That nest spruce replaced an earlier nest spruce that died, and this one is on its way to the same fate. The small island around the lamp post has three pink Fairy roses, a perennial sweet pea, catmint, and geranium.
I also allowed the designer to talk me into taking up the Zoysia grass that was there and replacing it with a seed mix. Big mistake. The lawn is now full of weeds. I don't mind them so much; I like the way the clover looks, although I could do without the dandelions. But the grass is really thin now, especially on the side where it butts up to the neighbor's giant pine tree.
So I have all this space in the front, including a couple of 8' x 16' "hell strips" between the street and the sidewalk. My tentative plan is to turn those into flower borders. I'll need to lay some stepping stones so there are paths for people getting out of their cars. I've ordered two Double Knock Outs that will match the flower colors of the single Knock Outs I already have. I'll use one to anchor the right-hand hell strip. I'm not planning to spend much money on this, so the rest of the flowers will likely be transplants from elsewhere in the yard. Geraniums, Siberian Iris, and Lady's Mantle should all do pretty well in this part-sun border. I'll fill in with catmint and more daylilies if any of the purple ones are ready for division.
I haven't decided about the left-hand hell strip yet, mostly because there's a small maple tree there. So I will probably transplant divisions from hosta alley, and possibly more geranium.
That takes care of the very front of the yard. But I also want more space to grow food. Because of all the curves (in the border, in the path leading to the porch, and even in the front door) a formal potager would look out of place. I'm playing around with ideas for curving food beds, or even ones that run in a spiral. I'm pretty sure there will be tripods with beans, too.
Of course, this is all pretty ambitious, and I likely won't get it all done this year. I am aiming to complete one hell strip and perhaps one or two food beds. The challenge is to make the garden productive while still maintaining curb appeal. Updates as they occur.
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