Hi! Xeriscaping Turf for Shade, et al

doc_mikeymikeApril 1, 2014

Hey guys! Just joined the forums today, and its good to be here.

Long story short, my fam and I will be moving to the Harrah/Newalla area after we build, and I am super excited to landscape our new place. Doing my research, I came across 'xeriscaping', and thought the whole concept is awesome! I'm excited to try, but I have a few questions.

1. Our lot is pretty wooded (lots of black jack trees). Some of these will be cleared to build, and probably some in the back (I would like to have a flower/vegetable garden in the back), but I anticipate that the front will still be pretty shady. I read that buffalo grass isn't very good for shade and well-used areas. Any suggestions on what to use? I have two small children who will want to play outside. Should I forget buffalo grass in the back?

2. Any recommendations on how to accrue some of the beautiful native plants that I've come across online? It seems like hitting up farmer's markets is one way. I didn't know if there were any local nurseries that have a decent selection. Maybe plant exchanges or clubs in the OKC area?

3. Any recommendations on landscape layouts, xeriscaping garden plans? I'm still trying to refine my 'landscaping skills', and I would like to have a good plan going into this.

Sorry for so many questions!

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wulfletons(Zone 7a)

You will be living in our neck of the woods. I would suggest you visit k and k nursery on Sooner Road in north norman...they have a large selection of plants and have been very knowledgeable. You might consider hiring a landscape architect to draw up some basic plans before you build. That way you will know exactly what you want to clear. Most landscape architects will design a plan for not too much money, and then you can implement or adjust as needed. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 9:56PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

I would use a fine blade fescue grass for your shade grass areas. Someone may have a better idea...but that is what I use. If you want a can't-kill-it-if-you-tried lawn in the sunnier areas, Bermuda is generally the go to on that...but I should warn you...all of us use Bermuda as a cuss word...it loves to grow in all of your nice amended beds!

I don't know how old your boys are....but if you will plant a variety of things...they should have fun with the bugs! Look at butterfly host plants too...lots of fun caterpillars there.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:23PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

We can provide you with our favorite "Don't plant" suggestions too :) or just check out some of our recent posts...there have been several on that subject!

The link below lists out some of the past winners of the Oklahoma Proven suggestions. Google it for the more recent ones too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oklahoma Proven Plants

This post was edited by lisa_h on Wed, Apr 2, 14 at 8:49

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:29PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

How much shade are you talking about? Also, if it is very dense shade versus dappled shade, it might be too shady for any lawn grass, and in that case, ground covers would be a better bet.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:27AM
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wulfelton: Can't wait to move! Good suggestion on the landscape architect. Are there any you'd recommend?

lisa_h: I can understand the bermuda sentiment. It is a bit of a cuss word for me, as well, and I was hoping to avoid it. Thank you for the suggestion on the fine-blade fescue. The OK Proven is an awesome resource that I happened to already stumble into. It really awoke my green thumb. I'd love to have a list of what 'not to plant'. My boys are almost-2 and 3, so bugs certainly are the thing right now.

okiedawn: It's hard to predict: we haven't done the earthwork yet let alone build the house. I would describe the 1-acre lot as being quite wooded, but I imagine a lot of the trees will be thinned out. Thank you for the ground cover suggestion.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:10AM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Welllll... :) If you see my badly spelled Photinia thread (hate we can't edit those too!), you will see the size a photinia bush really likes to be. They have their place, but it is NOT next to a foundation unless you really enjoy clipping bushes! Also, be careful how close you plant to a foundation. It is tempting to plant too close when the plants are so small. They look funny when they are placed where they should be at full grown size!

Bradford pears are beautiful in the spring, but they are super weak trees. Ice storms maul them frequently.

I really like my chaste/vitex tree. It is also a softer wood/small tree, but the blooms are great (scent maybe less so) and butterflies and hummingbirds love it. I haven't had any branches taken out by an ice storm yet, but it grows very quickly and blooms on new wood.

I love crape myrtle trees...the large ones. They provide bloom at a nice lull in the season.

If you have a sunnier spot for vines...passionvine (passiflora) (the purple ones, the red will kill the caterpillars) is a host plant for the gulf fritillary butterfly. The caterpillars are dark orange with black spikes....VERY cool to a little kid. They are easy to raise too.

So, more what to plant, than not to plant there :) but I'm sure someone will chime in!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:53AM
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I second K and K Nursery. What Mary doesn't know (short list), John does.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 11:39PM
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Excellent! Thanks for these suggestions , folks!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 8:59AM
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wulfletons(Zone 7a)

Depending on where you are, you may find trouble finding people to come out to you. The only landscape architects we were able to get to travel out to us where Tony's (they charged way too much for a consultation for us, though), K and K, and Cadence (out of Edmond). Your builder may also be able to recommend someone. We ended up going with K and K, although we did really like the people at Cadence as well.

Good luck with the whole project!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 6:20PM
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Thanks wulfleton for the tips and the encouragement!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:20PM
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