Landscaping in stages - how to minimize cost & disruption

GWlolo(9b/ Sunset 15)March 19, 2013

We have a fairly large & mature yard but we need to redo the landscaping as we did a major remodel that included new water lines etc. It would be better for us $$ wise if we do the landscaping in stages. Can you help me figure out the right way to sequence this to minimize upfront cost but also disruption. The worst thing would be if something we delayed to a future date ended up ripping up or destroying what was done in an earlier stage. Here are the high level things we want to do and I have sorted this in what I thought was a logical order. Please advice if somethings are better done together and earlier than later

1. Completely new irrigation for main areas (lawn, veg bed, flower beds)
2. New irrigation for additional areas which are currently not landscaped or have no irrigation (hand watered currently). I was thinking to provision a irrigation tapping point)
3. New sod
4. Vegetable bed (14x14) prepare the soil, add in manure and compost, make paths
5. Fencing for vegetable bed
6. Plant fruit trees
7. Plant berry & fruit vines (kiwi, grape, raspberry, blackberry, currants)
8. Two new beds for perennials (flowering, foliage and some edible perennials)
9. Remove old juniper and liquid amber

  1. Plant new gingko in the same spot as liquid amber being removed
  2. Landscape lighting (my landscsape guy prefers low voltage over solar) main area (paths, a couple of main plantings)
  3. Decomposed granite in the sidewalk area (this is currently dirt and gets muddy in rain and is very dusty in summer)
  4. Decomosed granite under some redwood trees. This is just a big mess of leaf droppings here and I want to be able to use the area for kids to play and be able to sweep the leaf droppings away
  5. New wire trellis on brick fence wall for espaliered fruit trees and flowering vines like clematis
  6. Garden shed
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gobluedjm

The only advice I can give is plan, plan and more planning and be prepared for disruptions.
Once you have it all laid out on paper then you can begin the process of designing your sprinkler system. You need to know what kind of plants go where before putting sprinklers in.
Don't put anything in until you have your sprinklers in.
I would also have anything removed first before putting anything in. It could change your plans.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 8:09PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Here's the standard methodology:

1. Demolition (for gardens, removing all unwanted plants/trees

2. Any hardscape (walkways, walls, fences, raised beds, structures)

3. Irrigation and lighting

4. plant trees and large shrubs

5. smaller plants go in next

6. sod is always, always last.
so I would re-order your projects as follows:

9. Remove old juniper and liquid amber

  1. New wire trellis on brick fence wall for espaliered fruit trees and flowering vines like clematis

  2. Garden shed
    4. Vegetable bed (14x14) prepare the soil, add in manure and compost, make paths
    5. Fencing for vegetable bed
    1. Completely new irrigation for main areas (lawn, veg bed, flower beds)
    2. New irrigation for additional areas which are currently not landscaped or have no irrigation (hand watered currently). I was thinking to provision a irrigation tapping point)

  3. Landscape lighting (my landscsape guy prefers low voltage over solar) main area (paths, a couple of main plantings)

  4. Plant new gingko in the same spot as liquid amber being removed
    6. Plant fruit trees
    7. Plant berry & fruit vines (kiwi, grape, raspberry, blackberry, currants)
    8. Two new beds for perennials (flowering, foliage and some edible perennials)

  5. Decomposed granite in the sidewalk area (this is currently dirt and gets muddy in rain and is very dusty in summer)

  6. Decomposed granite under some redwood trees. This is just a big mess of leaf droppings here and I want to be able to use the area for kids to play and be able to sweep the leaf droppings away
    3. New sod

A couple of things, #12, are you expecting DG to act as a sidewalk? DG in rainy conditions is not walkable and will be a mess. It also washes away pretty badly. DG is best in dry spots. Use pavers or flagstones instead for a walkway. And anything under redwood trees is kind of iffy. Keep in mind you are going to be fighting a living thing that can live 2,000 years and get 100 feet tall.

Another thing, you are making a lot of ambitious changes, make sure you can maintain what you plan to have. Berries can turn into the bramble around Sleeping Beauty's castle if you don't keep up maintenance on them, for example.

Good luck with your projects!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:48PM
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GWlolo(9b/ Sunset 15)

Thanks for the great advice.

Hoovb --> That is very helpful. The sequencing helps me think through things.
I confess I do not know about decomposed granite. Decomposed granite was suggested by my contractor as a way to be able to use the area under the redwood. We have a several redwoods in the corner of our lot and there is a nice bit of area under it that kids like to play in. I was trying to clear it and put something that would let water drain but be sweepable to keep it in a OK shape for kids to play, put up a playtent etc.

The sidewalk area is also the same. Some neighbors have asphalt and I am not a fan. I just want to do something that will not be a muddy puddle in rain or a dust bowl in the summer.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 11:50PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I think DG would be fine for the play area, depending on how much you use and how well it is compacted. I know some people love DG and others hate it, I've been told that if you compact it enough it can be as hard as concrete but the trees probably wouldn't appreciate that very much.

There are lots of options for the path, you might find something you love by looking through some inspiration slideshows, sunset, better homes and gardens, and hgtv all have good examples of pretty garden paths. My boyfriend and I installed a gravel path in front of our house that gets used by foot traffic every day, it's been there for two years now and is still weed free and fine to walk on in the rain. To make it we dug down 3 inches, lined it with landscape fabric, outlined with rock (mostly for appearances but also to keep the gravel in bounds,) and then filled in with 3 inches of gravel. I think the most important thing is to come up with a plan and commit to the work, in landscaping halfway measures usually end up looking funky and not functioning very well.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 11:26AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I have DG paths and like them, but they are not walkable after a heavy rain. They are hard as concrete when dry, but rain makes them turn into a kind of sticky pudding. If you are in a rainy area of CA, then it could be a problem, although if the redwood roots are extensive, those roots may suck up so much water so fast it could be fine. If you are in a dry area, not so much a problem. Best to check around your neighborhood and see who has had success (or failure) with them.

I have loose gravel paths as well and like them too, but find elderly guests can't handle them, if you have Grandmother and Grandfather visiting, something to think about. Crushed rock that can be pounded down for a firmer footing is better. (Crushed stone aka road base gravel) Also crushed stone or gravel can be tough on kids knees if they fall.

DG is cheap, you can try it and if it doesn't work out, you haven't lost much.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 6:59PM
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