Holly Tree Cove :: Please Help
Building Moxie
October 5, 2012 in Design Dilemma
I have a few things circling through my head but I wonder if Houzzers might have some ideas on how I might address this area of my yard. It gets virtually no light. Ivy originally grew wildly there. I like the positioning of trees because they provide a shield against the street. I like the idea of doing something with stone but my wife has systematically overruled because of year round falling holly leaves, which are hard to remove. I have thought about a low slung deck or even randomly placed boards. Open to thoughts though. thank you. ~jb
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I think large slate pieces would be great! Could use a blower to get the holly leaves into one area and then clean up. I'm talking the BIG slate stones and just lay out a pattern on the ground and fill with sand/gravel mixture.
I'm sure you will get advice from those that are way more knowledgable about this than I am.
3 Likes   October 5, 2012 at 11:33AM
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Building Moxie
Thanks... I have a lot of flagstone-shaped fieldstone (technically) on the property and do own a leaf blower (but plan to test that it would work before I do any install). I like it and again thank you.
0 Likes   October 5, 2012 at 11:38AM
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Welcome. Maybe some landscaping folks will offer some professional advise for you.
1 Like   October 5, 2012 at 11:55AM
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Brown Richardson & Rowe, Inc.
As a landscape architect, I like the idea of stone pavers but worry that installing them on a proper base course of gravel will kill the nice Holly trees. Their roots are always close to the surface. Therefore a permeable paving like peas tone or stone dust or a raised cantilevered surface like wood decking would preserve the trees. Nice Hollies! Keep them happy!
0 Likes   October 5, 2012 at 5:49PM
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I would love to chime in, but I have no idea where holly leaves fall. Do love your window and the soft yellow paint.

1 Like   October 5, 2012 at 6:26PM
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Building Moxie
thx Judy. Brown Richardson & Rowe... I think you know where I am coming from. I have never worked with stone dust, and the issue my wife seems to have with the stone idea is trying to keep them/it in place (even if compacted) as we (read: she) rakes or blows the leaves. Holly Leaves as you probably know are very firm and do not "break down" quickly.
0 Likes   October 5, 2012 at 7:47PM
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Low deck with hole cut out for trees. Surrounded by evergreens or fragrant bushes.
4 Likes   October 11, 2012 at 11:05PM
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I had that problem in an old back yard. 40 foot tall trees, made barefooting impossible in our yard and the neighbor behind us. We cut the trees down to shrub height and they filled in within two years, looking great and our neighbors were happy too.
1 Like   October 11, 2012 at 11:07PM
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How about encircling both trees with a raised bed for multi color bushes - with the perimeter of the bed made with stonework or manufactured, decorative blocks. Build the stone shelf wide enough for seating.
0 Likes   October 12, 2012 at 12:31AM
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Those are beautiful trees. Right now its difficult to tell what the function of the space is, but if the space is simply a garden alongside the driveway, why not let it be just that - a wide garden space with a defined hard border (split face block, stone, brick, etc.) where the root-zone/edges currently are and some occasional low growing shade and acid loving plants just along the inside edges of that border that will help to 'corral' the leaves in the open space left between the plants and trees.

You could still retain the stepping stone pathway alongside the house, just clean up the edges of that pathway, re-level and arrange the stones if needed to make the path itself more apparent. Sometimes just cleaning out random elements and zoning or 'defining the space' with edges makes a big difference.

Avoid filling the garden border/burying the natural foot and trunk of the tree with soil much above the roots as it is unhealthy for most woodland trees. Combined with a blend of other natural wood mulch the fallen leaves could be gathered and/or left inside the border to decompose and return nutrition to the trees. They could always be 'blown out' if too many collect on top but if you live in an Eastern US climate, as I'm guessing by the photo, you probably get enough moisture during the year to help them decay fairly quickly.
There isnt much that you can do to make it a safe zone for a patio/deck though. Those leaf spines can be nasty to sit on or in a tender foot, a good enough reason to just 'let them be' in their own space.
2 Likes   October 12, 2012 at 1:48AM
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Building Moxie
thanks everyone for the feedback, @ cyn222 I especially appreciate the model. I certainly will not cut the trees down (despite my misses pleading). While I think the hollies are unfortunate in some degree, they are evergreen and are laid out almost perfectly. @bprince300 I like your ideas ... it is not so much what the space would be used for as much as I just want to give the area a more finished look, perhaps adding a bench and/or ornament giving maybe a quiet cove feel. I do have another area in our yard where I planted Vinca earlier this year and am waiting to see how that does. I don't know so much that I want to that here though... simply because yes those falling leaves fall both inside and outside the area. Removing them would likely still be the plan of attach and I fear that additional plantings would just complicate that matter. Anyways, again - thank you all. will consider.
0 Likes   October 15, 2012 at 10:29AM
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