creating woodland around new house

imolinAugust 7, 2007


I've just built a new house in the woods and moved in last fall. The cleared area around the house was full of 'weeds' this year. What would you suggest to do in order to restore more of the natural woods feeling to this area? It's really big, so I don't really want to do the ground cover thing all over. Should I just build my paths and wait for the area around it to grow up? Any help is appreciated. The ten acres of woods around the house are beautiful as is. Just need to do something with the areas between the woods and the house. Thanks.

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How large is the cleared area? Is it flat or sloping?

Try drawing what you would like it to look like both looking toward the house and away. Ask yourself do you have children or relatives that will need a grassy open space for games. Are you intending on growing vegetables, fruit? If the space is large do you have/want a water feature.

Remember that you can plant slower growing trees as under canopy trees and then cut down the faster growing trees when the others are tall enough.

Right now fight the urge to kill EVERYTHING and plant all at once. This is your home. Try to do things so you are not discouraged with the amount to do. You have years to work with.

First plan an area for you to escape. If not for hours at least a few minutes to recharge.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 9:51PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

I was faced with a similar situation some 40 years ago. We planted grass in areas around the house, but not in the wooded areas. The next year I tilled in several loads of horse manure into the front woods to improve the soil. This area had been affected by the construction. Then I started planting native plants - trilliums solomon seals, ferns, etc and underplanting with hative trees and shrubs loke flowering dogwoods. I built paths through both the front and back woods and added a small pool in the front woods. I kept adding wildflowers and ferns to the front woods as well as the back woods. Because the land had a gentle slope, I separated the front woods from the small front lawn with a stone wall rising to 30 inches or so at its highest point. Over the years many of the plants have multiplied. For example from a half dozen or so trillium I now have several hundred.

I would reiterate the advice above - go slow, take your time and enjoy. In the front I have a large 2 x 3 ft boulder that is my 'sitting stone'. Don't kill anything unless you know what it is. About the only thing we removed were some haws because there were so many of them.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 10:01AM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I would consider mowing the weeds to prevent too many seeds from setting, then mulching the shady areas this fall with leaves. I have created woodland gardens in several places by placing a thick mulch of leaves, perhaps over several seasons, then planting a year or two later. In the fall most towns will be full of fallen leaves. You can either pick up bags of leaves placed at the curb, or perhaps contact the city department that collects them and have truckloads dropped at your house. Three feet of leaves is not too much to use - it will be only 1 foot deep by spring and the decomposing leaves will start to create a woodland soil as well as keeping weeds under control. Once you have lots of leaves on the ground you can take your time planting things you'll like. Use lots and lots of leaves!

i wouldn't try this is sunny areas. Unless you plant trees and wait a number of years for shade, it isn't possible to have a woodland garden with too much sun. A little sun on the edges is OK, but not full sun.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 3:48PM
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