From the Sperry Gardens – October, 2007

I’ve taken out a substantial groundcover bed that really suffered from poorly draining subsoil this past May, June and July. In its place I’ve added two small berms for interest as well as new plantings of shrubs. Groundcovers, color and garden art will soon follow (existing garden art may stay or move).

This sort of major conversion within my own landscape isn’t necessarily where I seek outside advice. This kind of a change-out is actually quite easy — so long as you don’t rush into it. Here is how I explained it to my non-horticultural wife over lunch earlier this week:

Step 1 was to remove the old plantings so I could get a better feel for the spaces involved.

Step 2 was to figure the lines of my new plantings, that is, where the curves and boundaries might fall.

Step 3 was to do the initial soil grade work. I had to take care not to damage the root systems of the trees in the area.

Step 4 was to make a fairly accurate estimate of the numbers and types of shrubs I would need.

Step 5 was to shop several nurseries to pick up the shrubs and other plants I wanted to include.

Step 6 was to place them into the landscape, still in containers, and move them until I liked the look I had created.

Step 7 has been to plant them.

Step 8 will be to fill in the smaller areas with lower plants and garden art.

All of which is to say, building or rebuilding a landscape isn’t a lot different from building a house. You start with a rough idea of its look and size, then you develop the room sizes and arrangements. Next you determine the finishing materials you want to use and you put the major furniture in place. Finally, you add decorative items and knick knacks.

It’s a lot simpler when you boil it down to those terms.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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