Need landscape ideas on a budget
July 21, 2013
Ready for a lot of questions?
Because my partner and I have landscaped our entire property ourselves (starting with the lot full of clay that surrounded our home when we built it 2 yrs ago), its funny I'm stuck on something so simple! I know what I want the side and top of my driveway to look like, but I can't make it happen on my (nonexistent) budget.
I'll explain what I can envision and I'd love some ideas on how to work elements of that in on the cheap. We're still feeling the pain from the gigantic stamped concrete patio we had poured in our backyard so my budget is definitely under the $1,000 mark.
What we've done: yanked up that awful sod going up the left side of the driveway, removed the builder's drain rock next to it, replaced it all with top soil and are working on grading. We have a strip of arborvitae that still need to be pulled from the top of the driveway because they clearly hate me.

What I would like: mulch everywhere, add several evergreen shrubs and a few dwarf trees (dogwood, dwarf cypress, etc) w/ a few 3 man boulders as the "anchors" for the plants. I'll add mounding perennials, bulbs and annuals for color.

I have a trouble spot around a drain that likes to bog up no matter how hard I try to fill it. In one picture you can see lots of fill dirt piled on it (not the blue tarp on top).
Maybe a bed of rocks at that corner of the driveway where it meets the gravel? It'd be a 3-6' area of rocks. I have a lot of river rock & several 1-man boulders (~1-2'). I bought a 6' tall dwarf hinoki cypress tree today that looks great there, gives it a very Japanese look so the rock could fit right in.

I want a pergola spanning the top of the driveway where my dead arborvitae are now. I can replant or maybe have one tree alternating with a trellis and a vining plant? I need something to block the neighborhood next door. Could just extend my fence I suppose.

The best part - a waterfall at the top left corner by the pergola, ending somewhere near the drain, making it about 10-15' long. Since I've got that low spot that won't drain, can I use it to my advantage and work the end of the water feature around it somehow? I dont care if the waterfall ends in a pond or a dry pond as long as i can hear it from the house. The box drain thats installed there is attached to a drain that goes to the street drain. I would only have an expert do most of the waterfall install so for now I suppose the goal will be to design a dry bed to mimic it and act as a placeholder.
I've seen people do deep dry rock ponds in areas with drainage issues but never seen one actually used as part of a water feature.

FYI, my property line is about 8-10' from the driveway at the street, but moves in gradually so by the time I'm at the very top it's actually a couple feet to the RIGHT of the neighbor's fence. We are still mulching and planting there, but a waterfall would probably straddle the line.
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dalma darling
Hi Rachel! I recently finished a complete landscape project as well and would love to know what stage of the planning process you are in now as I see your post is from a few weeks back now. I'd love an update on anything else you've done since you posted and then go from there.
1 Like    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 3:26PM
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Major Mulch Installations
You'd mentioned you would like some pretty extensive mulch coverage. We have some good high-res photos of our mulch types that you could use as part of an ideabook. They're listed on our profile at: Keep in mind that color enhanced mulches will usually hold their color for about six months before they start to fade, so you will want to take that into account when choosing a mulch.
    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 4:32PM
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