New House front lawn and garden are horrible, need tips for garde

KarroogMay 6, 2013

As the subject suggests, I have a new place that I have moved into with a front lawn and garden area. Lawn area is about 4000 square foot, is uncared for but just needs some overseeding and fertilzer and it should be ok.

My concern is over what use to be the flower gardens. There are two islands near the edge of our road and the section on the front of the house. There is a front porch that the garden warps around. I am unsure what the previous owners did, but its completely horrible.

Top layer looks like red mulch, then dried soil, pebble rock (Is this even correct to do?) and then plastic tarp. It looks horrible. They had cut certain shrubs that use to be there down to the root. On top of that the edge is being overrun by the grass.

My plan of attack was to dig it all up till I get potentially to actual moist dirt or to where the plastic tarp is at (ripping it up of course). After that I'm completely lost and I need some direction.

The front of the house points south, so it gets decent sun for most of the day. We are looking to put in shrubs and annuals hopefully. What is the order of operations for layering for a flower garden? Once I have those basics I bet I can get my head around everything else, but I never talked anything like this before.

Thanks to all again for your help! Any information that might be helpful I will post as best as I can.

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Congrats on your new house!

You're right about digging up that plastic. You can't garden until it's removed. Is there a border/barrier separating lawn from bed? If not, that would be my first order of business, installing one.

After removing the plastic, smoothing things out a bit, an inch or two of compost would be great. Top off with fresh mulch (3-4".) I don't think I'd bother with many, if any, really small plants this year for 2 reasons. First, they are the accessories which should be added after whatever trees and shrubs you want have been placed. Second, with all of the disturbance you are about to do, the soil layers need time to readjust to their proper levels, I'm a firm believer in letting the microbes and soil dwelling critters do their thing. Tiny roots of tiny plants might not find this a good situation this year, but shrubs or baby trees would have much bigger root balls that would be installed more deeply. Sitting potted plants on top of the mulch is a good way to have some flowers this year while the bed is recovering from the digging.

How much gravel is in there? I don't think I'd bother with trying to remove it unless it's more rock than dirt. The gravel likely won't bother whatever plants you want there later, it's perfectly normal for rocks to be in soil.

If you have a pic (or several) you could add to the discussion, that always helps the advice to be as specific and relevant as possible. You can add one pic per post, so make several posts if you have several pics.

If it makes you feel better, I'd much prefer to move to a house like this than one with beautiful landscaping that didn't necessarily suit my tastes. A basically blank slate is always more fun, IMHO.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 10:03AM
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