Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to Landscape a Corner Lot

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Today I'm sharing my solution to landscaping for privacy on a corner lot.  If you follow Serendipity Refined on Instagram, you know that over the last ten days I decided to do some landscaping in the front yard at the farmhouse.  I designed a 60 foot long berm that is roughly the shape of a boomerang and contains several varieties of evergreens as well as some flowering ornamental trees and shrubs as well as shrub roses and perennials that will not only provide privacy but will add a focal point to our front yard.



When we moved in, our front yard looked like this.  A single large pine tree was the only landscaping between the house and the street. Since we live on a corner and at the top of a hill, the headlights from cars traveling south or west after dark shine directly into the windows of two of our current bedrooms as well as the dining room.   After the renovation is complete, our master bedroom will be moving to the other side of the house but our new guest rooms will be in the front of the  house with windows that face north so a little privacy is in order!


The first thing that I did when planning this bed was to use a garden hose to lay out the outline of the bed. By using  the hose to create the outline, I could stand back to see how it looked and make any necessary adjustments before marking the outline in spray paint.  Once the design was set, we cut out the sod using a sod cutter so that we could re-use it in an area in the back yard. 


Once that was complete, we brought in nine tons (three dump trucks full) of compost mixed with sand and pulverized soil to give the bed some height and shape.  I like to use compost when establishing a new berm. I have used it when I landscaped all three of our prior homes and I found that the nutrients that it provides help new plants to get established quickly and it works like a dream for growing lawn from seed too!


I was also able to re-purpose several tons of limestone out cropping which we found buried in ground cover around a tree in the back yard when we removed the pond last year.  After the compost and stone was in place, I used sticks to mark the placement for the large trees. Again, moving the sticks was a LOT easier than moving an eight foot tall evergreen! :)


Large evergreens were installed first followed by a red bud and a flowering crab tree.  Once those were in place, I planted two types of hydrangea and several varieties of white shrub roses including some of my favorites by David Austin. 


I decided to keep this bed neutral by limiting the plants that I chose to shades of purple, silver gray and white.  The only pink comes from a subtle blush on the rose buds as they open to white and the flowers of the hydrangea which turn pink as they age.


I used two types of cat mint, fuzzy silver "lambs ears" and several varieties of my trademark lavender as ground cover in this bed.  These plants will fill in and "spill over" the edges of the bed creating a more casual feel for the front of our home. I will repeat many of them in the foundation planting for our main entry once the construction is complete. 


This is the new view from the street side of the corner.  I can't wait to watch everything grow up and fill in! My favorite part of completing this bed was placing this tiny bird bath on one of the stones facing the front door.  I've had this cherub for almost 30 years and it has been in every garden that I've created.  It has been waiting for the right spot at the farmhouse and I have finally found it!


Here is the "new" view from my front door.  The front of the farmhouse now has some definition and we have a little more privacy (not to mention the fact that the view is so much prettier).


If you're struggling to landscape a corner lot, consider a free -form "bean" or "boomerang" shaped berm with evergreen trees for year round privacy. They can be mixed with a variety of flowering ornamental trees and shrubs for texture and visual interest. Perennial plants also add seasonal color. 

 
For a more formal approach, limit flower colors and rely on the texture of the foliage to provide variety.  I hired the pro's to move the outcroppings and plant the trees that were six feet tall and over. I saved money by doing the design myself and planting the smaller trees, shrubs, roses and perennials. 


Kimberly