Garden Beds under construction - HELP!

pat_tea(PNW, Van,WA)November 12, 2011

I am a visual person and can't seem to see things on paper so I have created temporary paths to outline my new beds. I covered the path to the front door with landscape cloth and bark so that we are not spending anothr winter in a darn mud pit. Once the beds are planted I will edge the paths and cover with gravel. There will be a fountain in the center of the circle path with roses around it.

I am covering the beds with cardboard and topping it with the composted horse manure that I have been hording since last fall.

Please critique the progress and give your recommendations as to shape, scale, etc. etc. Any and all comments are welcomed.

Here is a link that might be useful: PHOTO BUCKET

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Pat tea- Congrats on the garden design! First of all, I have to say...those are some very cute garden helpers...all three of them :)

As for your design, I think the fountain with roses around it sounds beautiful! What kind of roses are you planning to use? I think that will be a wonderful focal point.

As for the second circle...I'm not sure about something. Is the bed the big circle by the house? Are you going to have paths or stepping stones to reach the plants, closer to the house? Are you planting/having beds on the other side of the circle paths (further from the house) or is that going to be grass?

I think you've made a great start and I'm looking forward to seeing more pictures this spring!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 8:32PM
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That looks very attractive! Love the helpers too. :)

The only thing I can think of, if I'm looking at the photos correctly, is that the planting beds seem to be very deep, not sure if I'm looking at it right, though. I know when I planted my garden, I wished I had made the beds narrow enough that I could reach all the way into them to weed without having to walk on the soil. If I ever start another garden, all my beds will be no deeper than 3-4 feet so I can reach into them to weed without having to trample on the plants to get to the weeds.

It all looks wonderful, can't wait to see it planted!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 9:26PM
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pat_tea(PNW, Van,WA)

Lavender, yes the beds will be on both sides. I thought about grass but I will have so much grass everywhere else on our 2.5 acres that I thought I would do borders on both sides of the path. It is kind of hard to tell from the pictures because of the yard art (the tractor lol) that is still sitting because it broke down and my husband is working out of town. OG, I have also been concerned about the width of the beds. The one closest to the front door is 16' deep. Any suggestions. I was thinking that I would put a narrow maintainance path winding through the shrubs and plants. I want large flowering shubs, hydrangeas, lilacs, roses, drawf conifers for structure and other cottage flowers and such.

My colors for the front gardens will be pinks, lavenders, white and blue. The house is fire brown and those colors look the best against it.

It is going to be a long winter for me. We have been in the house for two years. My husband hurt his back which required surgery the first year we were here but this year he moved "a lot" of dirt, put roads in and now finally I am able to get some real gardens started. I spent my time these past two years clearing and creating paths and gardens including fairy gardens in our wooded area. I could work up there and stay out of the way of the dirt work. Enough for now. Thanks for your responses.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 10:51PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I'm so jealous of your location and the beautiful work you've done so far! I want to put in a cautionary note about gravel paths. They look beautiful at first, but can become a chore to maintain as debris falls and degrades and weeds start to rear their ugly heads. And once gravel is down, it's very hard to remove. I much prefer mulched paths or, if you can afford it and want permanent paths, paving stones or concrete. Good luck and enjoy your process.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 8:44AM
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Wow what a wonderful family project you have going on there!
This is something they will always remember and enjoy as your vision comes to light.
I never made a circle garden myself, but yours is inspiring me to make one. somewhere.
love your plant choices too. keep posting pics of your progress.
:) Laura

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 10:29AM
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pat_tea(PNW, Van,WA)

Thanks Martha, I hear you about the gravel path. Our landscaping budget is at ZERO due to medical bills, heart and back surgery after selling our house and buying property. Husband is well now and works so hard using gifts from our land (rock and timber) and rescued plants from Craig�s list and much creativity and brawn to create places for me to create my gardens. He will do anything to keep me busy and out of trouble, lol.
Aunty, yes in deed! I have such wonderful memories of helping my grandmother in her garden and hope to pass the legacy down to my grandchildren (11 of them and a great grand on the way).
Here is a link to a photo journal of what we have done so far.

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo journal of garden progress

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 11:04AM
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Pat_tea ~
Welcome to the low or even no budget garden club where we spend more sweat than cash! You have an amazing amount of land & a great start by preparing the beds now. It's so exciting to create gardens & watch them grow.

I've used lots of partially composted horse manure as bottom layers then added used coffee grounds from St*rbucks + shredded leaves to prevent weeds from sprouting through the manure. In a pinch you can use burlap bags as well to keep it moist & by spring you'll probably be able to plant right through the bags or if not decomposed you can lift off. The worms will love you for it!

I have 3 ideas for you to garden on a budget and to shorten your winter.

1. Read this book by Marianne Binetti from Enumclaw, WA:

Tips for Carefree Landscapes: Over 500 Sure-Fire Ways to Beautify Your Yard and Garden

Her ideas help you decide on a style & what type of plants and focal points to use. She's helped me through the years think cheap & work smarter not harder. Grow plants suited to your site and when they're growing well you'll be able to divide & replant to complete sweeps of color.

2. participate in free plant swaps

Most of us bring lots of plants free to good homes, so trades aren't necessary.

3. winter sow seeds from free seed swaps

Go to GW's Winter Sow forum for info on how to do & the Secret Santa swap or newbie packs.

Hope to see your pics posted here with plants in the spring!

Here is a link that might be useful: free plant swaps in WA state

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 6:59PM
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I love your plan!! I just put in a huge flowerbed, about 70' long, as wide as 40' in some places, and after it was put in decided I had totally lost my mind. We're into the last weeks of being able to plant anything, and I had tons of stuff that needed to get into the ground, decided to just "break the rules", get everything in the ground and if it has to be moved so be it! Gardening is fun!!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 11:46PM
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pat_tea(PNW, Van,WA)

Corrine, I just ordered the book. Thank you for the tips. I have been to the Kelso plant swap and got many natives and such for my woodlands and have been having fun learning about winter sewing and plan to get in on the newbe seed giveaway.

Ogrose I am so mad at myself right now. This evening I smashed my finger in my truck door and split it in two places. I am typing with one finger tonight. Very painful
but what I am most upset about is that it will end my fall prep for the garden beds for at least a few days. It continues to bleed when I bend it at all so may require stitches. . . darn it heck fire anyway. I want to get out there and break some rules.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 12:10AM
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freezengirl(3aMN and 5AK)

In a couple of years you will look back on your pictures and be shocked how much your vision has come to life. :-) You and your husband and grandchildren are doing an outstanding job of getting the bones of your landscaping done. It is easy to see that your gardens will look good year round and give you many years of pleasure. My first reaction on checking out your pictures was "WOW" and the more I study them, the more impressed I am!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 1:40PM
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