Getting started

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2008
Getting started
3
Tue, 03-11-2008 - 1:33pm

I've got a new house, with almost NOTHING other than dead grass, weeds and large (nice) trees.


Front yard is about 20' x 10', has a large oak that's just lovely and casts nice shade on the left side of the side walk.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2003
Mon, 03-17-2008 - 8:52pm

Hello & Welcome to the board! :)


I have a 63lb nosey mutt myself so I know exactly the worries about trying to get the yard you want, and the desier to be dog friendly yard as well. One of the things I have done is planted close to the house and the dogs are good about staying out. In fact (very lucky for me) I didn't have to yell too much to keep them out. You can also use chicken wire to help keep your doggie out. You can start out by using it while you train him and then remove it later on once you think he's lost interest. Doesn't mean he necesarrily will have, but it's worth a try.


If you want a bed that's further from the house a raised bed will help keep the dog out too. He'll naturally be cruious, but again that's where you can do the chicken wire - or one of those wire fences where you can easily move sections as your plants grow and you need to weed and harvest. It will help keep him out, but give you the functionailty you need when working.


If the yard is just dead grass then you'll probably want to do some basical soil care in the areas you plan to plant in. Adding top soil, peat, and composte mixed in will really help your plants grow. Before helping the soil I would probably put down a weed barrier of either cloth or plastic. These are realitively inexpensive and will help cut down on the weeds. Put your new soil mixture on top, and then add some preen. The soil will be pretty pure, but not perfect so adding the preen will really help.


From there you can plant whatever you like. Do your flowers in front and veggies in back or whatever you like. Seems how you're in an area where water can be a problem I'd suggest a soaker hose. Burry it in the ground before you plant and plant around it. I did this for the first time last year and thought it was really great! I will plan to put more in this year. I do not have the water restrictions but felt it really did a great job of watering so I did it less.


Full sun is PERFECT for veggies - so I'm sure that area will be great. If you want to get a headstart you can start seeds inside now. You didn't mention where you're located so I can't tell you what Zone you are in (which is helpful for you to know), but here is the map where you can check: http://www.arborday.org/media/zones.cfm


Whatever you plant under the oak you'll want to be sure they are shade happy plants. Bulbs are (at least to me) the most easiest. Pretty much you dig the hole, put the bulb in, and let it do its thing! :) Perenials can be a real time savor because they grow back every year. Annauls give you the opertunity for constant change. I usually use annuals for my potted areas. But you can do it however you want.


Bushes are a great way to cover up ugly fences, an azelia, or the liliac would be great. Anything that flowers. If the fences are far enough away you could try morning glories. For ground covers you have to decide if you want leafy, or flowers...you can do just about anything as far as that goes.


There is a lot to cover here - LOL I know I only touched on things for you but I hope that gives a good start.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2008
Fri, 03-21-2008 - 8:21am

Oh, I'm zone 5, right on the edge of zone 6 - so lots of freezing going on here.


The grass is dead because the PO apparently NEVER watered, so it's died off.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2003
Sun, 03-23-2008 - 8:33pm

I am in Zone 5 too, so I know exactly the kind of wather conditions you are working with.


It is good you have a tiller, and that you have lots of ideas, I bet you'll be just fine with whatever you want to do. Don't get discouraged if a certain plant doesn't work the first time you plant it, try again, some times they take off some times they don't. Its finding the right combination for the plant to get them to go, go, go!


I'd give the