landscaping large yard

charleston8January 17, 2008

I've always dreamed of an English garden, but my lot is full of gorgeous palms. any advice on landscaping a large lot and combining both styles? We also want to put in a pool but are not sure of where to locate it? Close to the house for easy use or far away so we can see it from our elevated house? Thanks!

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I think the first thing you need to do is ask yourself some questions: How much gardening experience do you have? How much time do you have to put into this project? And...what do you want to achieve with your landscape? We built a new home four years ago and I started with a blank slate. I have gardened for more than twenty years, but I knew that I was simply not up to the task of planning an acre and a third from scratch. The smartest thing we did was hire a professional who came and talked with us at length and then drew up a master plan. He laid out all the beds, driveways, sidewalks, etc. for us. We (I) really enjoy gardening, so we paid his company to install our sod, and we have done all the rest of the installation ourselves, in stages, over the last few years. We're still not done, but that's not the point for us. We enjoy the process. If you don't want to spend every free minute, every week-end, and some vacation time working in your yard, that will tell you something too.

I love the design process, so I had my designer draw in borders that I have designed myself over time. But in other areas, he made lots of suggestions for plant material and I am glad I have taken his advice and followed his plan. (That's another thing, if you pay someone for a plan, you should be disciplined enough to follow it. You'll be glad you did.)

So...all of this being said, the best advice I can give you is to give plenty of time to the planning process before you ever go to the garden center to buy the first plant.

As far as an English garden is concerned, It's pretty much an impossible dream here in the deep south, although, you can have some elements: no delphiniums, but you can have larkspur; no peonies, but you can plant roses....etc. If you don't have a copy of the Southern Living Garden Book, that would be a good investment. The first step to success for gardening in the south is knowing what will and will not grow here. So many people get discouraged and say they have a "brown thumb", when in actuality, the things they are planting can't be grown here successfully by ANYONE.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 5:20PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

As far as the pool goes, what would you do more, use it (need it close) or look at it (put it further away). I would consult your pool contractor. There may be other reasons you want to place it in a certain spot (elevation, drainage, underground pipes) that may make your decision easier.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 9:04AM
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Since I'm a Realtor, I see lots of other people's houses, & most of the pools are very close to the house, for the convenience of the people who use them;
imagine how weird it would feel to have to hike across a huge yard in your bathing suit, or run fast to get back to the bathroom!

If you decide to place the pool far away, you might think about a cabana or pool house.

There are places in England where palm trees grow outside, courtesy of the warming Gulf Stream;
you may want to look up the use of palm trees in actual English gardens.

Have fun!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 11:20PM
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I suppose there is a fair amount of material out there on "tropical English gardens" since the British had so many tropical colonies. Old expensive books perhaps.

I don't know where you'd start looking. Why not post your question in the palm forum?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 8:51PM
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What is the average cost to have someone come out and draw up some plans?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 9:53AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I had plans done, and it averaged about $500.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 6:06PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

It depends on who does the plan and how large and extensive it is. I spent $800 for my plan, but it was for an acre and a half, included a good bit of hardscaping and drainage, and was quite complex. (On the other hand, I told my master plan guy to include areas for some perennial borders that I would design myself. I am sure this saved me a good bit of money over what it could have been.)

I draw garden plans for friends (foundation plantings, flower borders, such as that) and charge only about $100. I don't have a degree or the overhead of a business. I do it as a hobby, really.

I would advise you to make some phone calls and ask some questions. You can always begin with a plan for just one area and then have your designer come back some time later to do more.

One place you might be able to get some good, low cost recommendations would be through your county extension agent. Alot of Master Gardeners are quite good garden designers and might charge much less than a professional.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 6:07PM
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In Charleston you can achieve a very English look with antique roses. I'd get a copy of the book Landscaping with Antique Roses and hand it to your designer. Many designers are not aware of how many easy-to-grow shrub and climbing roses there are. There are two major suppliers in SC-- Ashdown Roses and Roses Unlimited, both of which will ship. These roses are usually greenhouse grown on their own roots, and are not likely to be found in your local garden center. Have fun!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 9:33AM
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Please spend some time reading this site on Charleston and its gardens!!

Also, this month there is the annual Home and Garden tour that should give you a ton of ideas:

The Garden Club of Charleston Annual House and Garden Tours: Downtown Charleston, SC March 28, 29, 2008
2-5 PM For more information, please call 843-530-5164. Plan on visiting Charleston for a most unique house and garden tour. Visit beautiful homes and gardens in Charleston's famous historic district.

Historic Charleston Foundation Event: Festival of Houses and Gardens March 13 - April 12, 2008. Daily tours feature the interiors and gardens of nearly 150 historic private houses in 12 colonial and antebellum neighborhoods during the peak of the city's blooming season. Information and tickets can be obtained by calling 843-722-3405

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 6:27PM
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