Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Backyard garden: patio garden plan

It's the time of the year where I am dissecting the backyard plan, deciding what I want these beds to look like - do I keep the shrub plan? What kind of perennial beds do I envision? Where will I buy everything from?
Right now I'm focusing on the garden beds around the two sides of the patio.

click to enlarge
The patio was installed in the space formerly known as my "mulch garden" -- an area under a Sugar Maple (neighbors) and Amur Maple (ours) which received very little sun. The Amur Maple was taken down to build the patio; it had a really lovely form and I didn't want to remove it, but it was dying in several areas. As we removed it, we found that it was still intact in its burlap root ball. 

The garden bed between the house and patio is where our former covered porch/deck was. Built by a previous owner, the wood was not treated nor built to last. That came down to make way for a step off the door and garden beds to hide the covered window well.

The garden plan: 
The white-flowered Tor spirea are the only plant from the plan that I'm keeping around the patio. They inspired me to plant other white flowering shrubs as listed below.

Between the patio and the house will go three (3) Viburnum carlesii 'Compactum'. Their small size fits into that tight area and their sweet smell in the spring will be nice coming in through my open patio door.  (The original plan called for boxwoods, but I wanted something more interesting).
 Site of viburnums & Birch tree

Off the corner of the house, we will plant a tree. The suggestions from our landscape designer are Japanese lilac tree or a serviceberry. Both are really nice trees, but since I opted for spring flowering shrubs I decided I wanted a tree for winter interest. After researching several options, I've settled on a compact river birch - Betula nigra 'fox valley'.

Under the tree, I have an area for perennials of my choice (my backyard plan has a lot of designated perennial areas for me to play with). I have decided to make this a butterfly garden (since the Viburnums also attract butterflies). I have ordered some: monarda (beebalm) , allium (wild onion), nepeta (catmint)... 

At the corner of the patio, are three (3) Spirea betulifolia 'Tor' (planted in 2012 per the garden plan).

foreground: spirea ---  along fence: sweetspire

And finally, along the picket fence, I have three (3) Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet'. -- also planted in 2012. (The plan was for 5 Ribes alpinum but I didn't care for them).

To do:
Finishing this area is the first thing on my spring to-do list. By early May, I should have received the tree, viburnums, and butterfly garden perennials to plant. Besides the plantings, the picket fence needs to be extended to reach the house and a gate put in.

This is all so much easier with a plan!


Carol said...

The river birch is a great choice because it is fast growing and beautiful all year around.

Barrett Elmore said...

Laying a perfect plan before doing any renovations will set our goals straight, and I like that you have clearly stated yours. I like your choices of plants, by the way. They don’t only look good on our patios, but they also help our planet in many ways. And about your fence, do you plan to paint it? White would look good on it, as it is a clean-looking and interesting color.

Barrett Elmore

Nelson said...

Having the right plan as well as the eagerness to finish it is a big factor whatever you do.

Certainly the river birch is the best choice as it is an excellent specimen or accent plant because of its pyramidal form and delicate foliage. It usually has several trunks with papery peeling bark that reveals salmon or rust-colored patches.