Out of Ideas for Side Yard

jubilanteSeptember 28, 2012

It's been about a year since I started the "mother of all hellstrips" project, and I am straining towards the finish line. Our corner lot is very large. We've tamed most of it, but I still have the out-of-sight and out-of-mind yard between our driveway and fence.

The area is 26ft by 39ft. I'm tempted to just choose a large tree, toss a few bushes in and call it a day. I'd like to get something going within the next couple months. Any ideas are welcome--especially about suitable trees. We are in Monterey County. The area is NW exposure and our soil is a bit alkaline. Thanks!

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Central_Cali369(Sunset Z9, Fresno, CA)

I would choose a beautiful focal small tree such as Eucalyptus Macrocarpa, and plant two or three in a row down the center. I have grown mine from seed, but I do know of a couple of vendors in CA who sell them. Then I would fill the entire rest of the area with those blue festuca grass clumps you have in the front yard or mexican feather grass. A simple arrangement could go a long way.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:18AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

There's absolutely nothing wrong with covering the area with a thick mulch (for weed prevention) and waiting a while before you plant anything. No need to be in a hurry--you might find a particular tree or shrub that you really love if you take your time and think about it for a while.

Whatever tree or trees you might choose, be careful that they have non-damaging root systems so that they do not eventually crack or buckle your driveway, which looks fairly new and in excellent condition.

You might check with someone who has lived in the neighborhood a long time--was there a tree there before you moved in that caused problems? (Why not learn from other's mistakes?)

Think about the amount of litter any particular tree might generate, the mature size of the tree, and the prevailing winds or breezes. If tree drops a lot of litter, and the winds in your area make that litter all end up right in front of your garage door or on your front door, that can get quite annoying.

Will the tree or trees cast shade where you want it to cast shade? Another thing to consider.

Are there any sewage or power lines running through that area? Will tree roots affect them? Another thing to consider.

If you plan on remaining in your home for a long time, be extra careful in choosing. Having a large tree removed after problems develop can be very expensive.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 4:46PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Your front yard is beautiful. I agree with Hoovb's advice.
You may see exactly what you want a month from now. Mulch is nice.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 12:58AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Can you just continue the types of plants that you have in your front yard? It looks so good.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 2:36PM
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How about a beautiful olive tree - swan hill fruitless if you don't want olives dropped, and then some rosemary, sages and lavenders?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 11:23PM
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I'm back and ready to go! Well, sort of. Hard to believe a year has gone by since this original posting.

The semi-annual sale is coming up soon at a large wholesale grower near our area (we're between Monterey and Salinas), and I'd like to take advantage!

I did buy a catalina ironwood for the corner area where the fencing comes together (new fence underway, shrubs long gone). I'm still leaning towards some plantings birds would like and grasses.

Any great combos anyone wants to suggest? I'm still liking the other side of the yard, even with the lawn added to please my other half, but want this out-of-sight area to be super easy care.

Thanks for any favorite plant suggestions or ideas!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 2:17PM
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My neighbor has a wonderful winding brick path which has a wide spot in it for a bench under a crepe myrtle tree. On the driveway side are low plantings, and behind the bench around and behind the tree are taller plantings. A vine covers the wall behind. Even if no one is sitting there it looks so charming and restful. They also have a few pots of color by the bench that they water by hand. I would copy cat it if my spot was wider.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:24PM
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