Friday, April 26, 2013

I hate our grass - landscaping plans

I've been staring at our front lawn coming up with landscaping plans. I apparently can't focus on one project, I need to take on a few to drive myself (and Aubrey) crazy.

Our front yard is significantly better than when we first bought the house thanks to the amazing landscaping design of Bill Chandler (who I think is one of Toronto's top landscape designers) I met him because he worked on my parents back garden and he helped us with our front walkway both with designing and installation. Although Bill came up with a gorgeous planting plan in addition to the stairs and walkway, we only did the stone work because budget. You can see the evolution of the front of our house here.

Fast forward to today - the reason why I'm focusing on the landscaping again is because our front grass never survives. This is due to of a variety of elements- neighbours who don't weed (and therefore we get weeds no matter how much we do), too much sun, too little water.... Every Summer I curse as I'm pulling out crab grass or standing out there with a hose watering that it will be the last year I invest any money in trying to save the grass. I feel badly when it dies and everyone elses grass is so lush - be it that they have more shade, or maybe a better routine with watering? But everyone else seems to have wonderful lawns, when mine is brown and patchy.  A few weeks ago I walked outside to get the mail to see that racoons had torn up our lawn looking for grubs. And that was that - No more grass

Thankfully the new walkway is probably the most major expense out of the front landscaping makeover - and that is done so we're just looking at doing some plantings. My idea is to add some plantings that have height and I keep going back to one landscaping design I quite like from in our neighbourhood that I blogged about here.  This look is kind of what I'm thinking of doing....

They trees look like serviceberry trees which we have in our backyard and LOVE (see them in this post) They have a beautiful bark colour, are branchy, produce edible berries and in the fall have the most gorgeous orange and yellow leaves. So my thought is to plant two or along the path. Perhaps three. I think it will give some height, privacy, and visual interest to our front yard.

As a side note, I'm still a fan of this walkway spotted in our neighbourhood that I think is welcoming...

Isn't it beautiful? I think it would be relatively easy to recreate however I don't think I want to get into this level of construction. But I still think these "fences" are the most beautiful thing ever. Anyhow, that is my plan. I've promised Aubrey to hold off on digging up the front lawn until after he finishes demoing the bathroom.

As I've been thinking about all of this I have realized that I think hiring a landscape designer in many cases is a great investment - they know what works well in different environments, what needs a lot of care, how plants change throughout the seasons. It's one of the reasons why I really liked Dirty Business on HGTV - they gave a great insight into that kind of thoughtful design. In our case, Bill's walkway design was something I couldn't have envisioned or implemented myself so I'm so glad we hired him to do that part.

Anyhow, that's my thoughts on the front landscaping! The next step is buying serviceberry trees and then digging up the grass. Well, after the bathroom that is. ;)

Other posts of interest:
See the evolution of the front of our house here.
See Bill's planting guide for us
Bill Chandler Landscape Design 


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