One spring, Kevin and I got our acts together and re-landscaped our front yard. It was beautiful. Every day, I literally sighed as I pulled up front. I took in the hanging flower baskets framing the door, the fragrant herbs as I walked up the steps, the overall picture. It made me happy to come home.
That should always be our experience. Our home can be an oasis. But... sometimes life gets in the way. Or we feel lost about how to handle an aspect of our property.
We've got your back.
The Karpiaks have a beautiful bungelow with a hidden back driveway. It's a pretty great way to enter the house. You turn up a steep winding lane, reaching through the shade until you arrive in their backyard. However, it was feeling kind of unmanageable. Limited light, steep slopes, clay soil, and railroad ties that had been knocked about by various drivers.
I totally knew how they felt. Everytime you come home you furrow your brow. What do I do with this?
You call us.
Shade gardens can be super low-maintenance and involve lots of perennial and native-species plants. Bearing in mind some of the influences we found around the house-- a Buddha on the porch, a well-loved Japanese maple-- we went for a Zen, minimalist feel.
Kevin began laying cardboard down as weed barrier. It's water permeable & more environmentally-friendly than landscaper fabric as it breaks down.
Lots of compost to help with drainage in the heavy clay.
He removed the existing railroad ties to neaten the edge.
Let there be plants! Lots of evergreens, a few flowering perennials, and plenty of ferns that will fill in as ground-cover, ultimately cutting down on weeding.
Plants moving in! Two shade tolerant magnolias to offer lush blossoms and fragrance upon returning home. Lots of skip laurels and rhododendrons, good for managing water run-off, happily blooming in the shade, and offering low-maintenance visual allure.
A rich root mulch, re-buried railroad ties, dug in to keep that neat edge.
Dappled light through the shade garden.
A soaker hose establishing the new planting. Creating that happy sigh to welcome you home.