Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Laurel Removal Update

august garden with lauren 2
As some of you may remember, earlier this year I removed a large Laurel from the Southeast corner of our house. I honestly had no idea, at the time, of what I was going to replace it with.

post laurel dirt and chicken
I can't tell you how good it was to finally remove the monster Laurel...here you can see the large area it occupied. This spot became the favorite place for our neighbor's chickens to take dust baths.

post laurel sitting area 2
I covered the area in gravel...and then tried to decide what to do with the space. The only thing I knew for certain about this spot is that I wanted a seating area there...but I wasn't 100% positive that it would work. Would it feel too exposed...would it look super-tacky from the street? Unsure of things, I didn't want to invest in expensive chairs. Have you ever looked at garden furniture...it's CRAZY-EXPENSIVE! I bought a cheap pair of plastic Adirondack chairs from a local big box store, to test out the area.

boots in sitting area
The cats were sure this was a great spot. After a few days, I realized I really like this setup...but now, what to plant around the sitting area?

trialing grasses
I knew I wanted a certain degree of screening...but whatever I chose had to be fairly narrow (the space isn't huge) and not TOO dense. Of course, as well knew all along, that meant grasses. Here, I was trialing a few different varieties (I believe Panicum 'Ruby Ribbons' and Schizachyrium 'Blue Heaven'.)

calamagrostis and panicum
In the end, however, I ended up using some plants I already had. In the front parking strips, a trio of Panicum 'Huron Solstice' had been invaded by seedlings of Calamagrostis brachytricha. While pretty right now, the vigorous Calamagrostis was already starting to overtake the Panicum. Since I had to break them up anyway, I decided to move the Panicums up to the new seating area.

sitting area october
It made sense, really, since I already had a few Panicums up here...this just bulked up the planting nicely. Hilariously, however, there are now 3 different Panicum varieties in this area, 'Heavy Metal', 'Ruby Ribbons' and 'Huron Solstice'. The somewhat sad-looking grass on the right is Andropogon 'Red October', which was being crushed under the gargantuan Agastache 'Blue Blazes' in the back garden...so got moved up here where I can actually enjoy its fabulous red fall coloring. It may actually get moved into the front parking strip next spring...I haven't decided yet.

view from seating area
I can't tell you how much I love sitting in this spot now...it's just hidden enough that you don't feel like you're on display as people walk by...and as the grasses mature and fill in and get taller, it will feel even more secluded. Plus...I get to enjoy the garden from a new vantage point.

foggy october laurel less area
Is this area perfect...no...and it's not what everyone would want...but I'm loving it. It still looks pretty bare, but that's to be expected, I guess. I was thinking of putting a trellis behind the chairs at some point and growing Jasmine on it...that would improve sitting here even more! Of course, now I have to start saving up money for some real chairs ;-)

34 comments:

  1. Prediction: in a couple of years you're going to wish you had more legroom. Especially if you add a trellis, a move I wholeheartedly support! Looks like a nice area in which to sit and enjoy the sounds of construction. ;)

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  2. I can totally see that happening, Alan…it's not a huge space anyway…and I've made it smaller! I will probably go as minimal as possible with the "trellis", most likely just twine or fishing line strung in a grid between a few 10' tall pieces of rebar :-)

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  3. Now THAT is reason enough to hide back there, Linda ;-)

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  4. Clearly the area is perfect - it's chicken and cat approved!

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  5. Hahaha, too true, Kris!

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  6. I think the new area works beautifully, but the real test is whether you sit there and enjoy it and have fun putting plants in it --- and you do, so that makes it a huge success. A garden is more than lots of plants. Humans (and cats and chickens) are part of it too and your design incorporates all in a way that a big laurel or any other accent plant never would. The chairs are kind of nice visually, but you probably want something more substantial. They look perfect as is, though. Love the whole area!

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  7. I actually quite like the chairs. If my experience holds, the cheap chairs will give out about the time you've saved enough for their sturdier replacements. Now how about getting Norm to sit in one so you can show us a shot from the sidewalk? The trellis idea should fly.

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  8. What a great space. Sometimes it's hard to decide what to do, but it usually solves itself.
    I also see your neighbor across the street has lots of grass. Are you going to remedy that when you
    run out of planting space at your place?

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  9. Thanks, Laurrie…I agree, the true test of success is that I actually do love sitting out there…especially with a cat on my lap :-)

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  10. Thanks, Ricki…I like them too…it's Norm that really hates them. I love Adirondack chairs…but wooden ones are so pricey…this way I get the comfort but still have money for food ;-)

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  11. Thanks, Susan…you're so right…yes once I finally make up my mind, it's amazing how fast I can actually make it happen! I wish I could convince ALL my neighbors to let me rip up their lawns and plant gardens!

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  12. I think you'd like these Panicum, Jason…they are a bit shorter and less vigorous than 'Dallas Blues', and they have nice red coloring later in the summer/fall. I like how you think…and I was planning on planting some more lilies in front anyway!

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  13. If you love it then the area is perfect! Quite a nice spot really and looks conducive to relaxing especially now that you've put in plants to make it more secluded. Looking forward to seeing how this area evolves in the following months to come.

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  14. Thanks, Fellas :-) It really has turned out nicely…and, even better, the view from my office inside the house is now much nicer…I may even move my desk so it faces outside :-)

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  15. I like those chairs, Scott. Their color goes perfectly with this setting. What a great idea. Simple, inexpensive and it works.

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  16. Thanks, Grace…I rather like them too :-)

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  17. Oh, I love this new area! The chickens and kitty made me laugh. The trellis is a brilliant idea too, especially with jasmine on it. It will smell wonderful!

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  18. It is lovely!

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  19. I think this whole project is just fabulous! And of course since the chairs are "my" shade of green I love them, plastic or not. One question though. I see two smaller chairs stacked in the middle. Are those for the kittys?

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  20. It's perfect. My only addition would be a little table so you have somewhere to put your glass of cider. :)

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  21. Sit? When do you have time for that? Seriously, it's a fabulous improvement over the laurel! I love the color of those chairs in with all the darker greens browns and reds of the garden.

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  22. Jenni @ RainyDayGardenerNovember 27, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    I can't wait to see the grasses offering a discrete cover for you to sneak peeks at people passing by. I really think it's a wonderful spot.

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  23. Me too, Jenni...I can't wait for it to fill in!

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  24. Hahahaha...yes, that's a problem for all of us, isn't it, Jane!

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  25. Hahahahahaha...I wondered if anyone would spy those! We got them originally because we couldn't find the foot rests that go with these chairs...so we got these instead...but we joke that they are for the cats ;-)

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  26. Thanks so much!

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  27. Thanks, Alison! I'll probably be asking all of you which is the best Jasmine to get...I have NO experience with them...except smelling them in other people's gardens and being intensely jealous ;-)

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  28. Nice change, and a good example that even a small space can be cleverly exploited. I am very curious about the future effect ...

    Regards
    Blazej

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  29. I'm cracking up over your idea of "pretty bare," Scott. This looks so full to my eyes -- wonderfully so. I love little tucked-away seating areas in a garden. Hey, how about a picture of it from the street in your next post? I'd love to see it from that angle too. And aren't those colorful plastic Adirondacks handy? We use them for extra guest seating. http://www.penick.net/digging

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  30. Tony Mascarello @LandscaperDadDecember 10, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Love the spot. The Panicum will grow up to just the right height to seclude those Adirondacks perfectly once established. One of my personal favorite grasses. Regarding the seat selection, as a garden center manager, I think it was frugal and an excellent choice. I may be a terrible salesman, but the furniture we carry is pretty pricey, and these will do the trick just as well as anything else. On another note, I don't know that you really need a trellis if your will to cover that porch railing just to the left of the chairs if all your going for is fragrance, however, it would serve to give the seating area a bit of a "back wall". Is there a window the laurel was covering? I would get a shorter trellis, if you go that route, so that you don' tend up blocking the window again, but that's just my suggestion. I love the whole space and think your doing an excellent job continuing to develop and grow with it, teasing it to your liking as you go. Thanks for sharing.

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  31. Thanks, Błażej! Yes, it will be interesting to see how this matures as a space, as the plants get larger.

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  32. Hahahaha, well, I guess it just seems bare to me, since I hate seeing any bare ground. I'll definitely do another post showing it from the street…although, to be honest, it's practically invisible…the chairs JUST show up above the grasses.

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  33. Thanks, Tony…glad you like it…and glad my seating is up to snuff :-) That's exactly what I want the vine/trellis for…just to go behind the chairs, under the window…it just seems a bit bare now, just looking at the side of our house! You're absolutely right, though, I don't want to block the window again, I love being able to finally look out of it at the garden…don't want to lose that view again!

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