Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 4:53 PM EDT
I hope you guys are paying attention because these Outdoor Design Dilemmas with our generous expert Carson Arthur of Green Force, are getting better and better! He's unstoppable! I myself am looking forward to bringing you ever post to learn new things about landscaping and get some great ideas, and in fact, if you guys keep sending your questions, we'll keep posting them every week until it's time to sweep up those leaves!
Today's Dilemma comes to us from Peter C., whose yard shape is one that I suspect many of us can relate to: a bowling alley. What's even more challenging, is it's flanked by the identical bowling alleys of his neighbours, so naturally Peter reached out to Carson for suggestions on maximizing the space and privacy.
From Peter C.:
"Hello, we bought our house a year ago and completely renovated it, as it hadn't been touched in 40 years. It's now time to tackle the back yard, which as you can see by the picture is a blank canvas. I'd like some advice on a couple of things;
- I've turned the soil over in most of the yard and in the process got rid of a lot of weeds. However, the whole yard is one big weed root. To address this I was going to cover the whole yard with newspaper and then cover it with mulch. And then next year hopefully the weeds will largely be dead. Do you think that's a good idea?
- Any thoughts on how I can make the area more private? I don't want to put privacy fencing on both sides as I think it will greatly reduce the feel of space. Well placed cedars perhaps?
Thanks in advance."
Carson suggests: Hey Peter,you officially have a bowling alley. Not to worry though, as creative people have done some pretty amazing things with spaces just like yours. Before you go to the trouble of putting down the newspaper and mulch, let's define the space first and create that privacy you are looking for.
Image from Yardistry.ca
I'd suggest making a seating area either dead centre or towards the back of the yard, with a covered arbour with lattice panels on the sides that face your neighbours. This is fantastic privacy which makes for an intimate space. Leave the back and front of the arbour open for air flow and so that the area doesn't feel cramped. Build the arbour with wood but the ground material can be gravel or stone – anything that you can comfortably place seating on.
Clockwise from the top; flower of Chocolate Vine, via LearnToGrow , Honeysuckle vine via CycleDog , creeping Chocolate Vine via OhNo Over's Flikr stream.
- Plant some beautiful vines on the lattice like Honeysuckle or Chocolate Akebia which will create amazing smells when you are in the garden or under the structure. Behind the arbour, make it lush and green. This is where you do you newspaper/mulching because this is a plant bed and it will benefit most from an amended soil.
Photo via WebGardeningGuide.com
- Have a path going down the centre of the yard to the arbour with more shrubs and flowers which lead your guests to their ala carte dinner. This gives the space charm, and even though there is no grass, anyone who sees your yard will want to explore.
If I were Peter, I'd be itching to get at that yard! Any other thoughts?
Previously on Outdoor Design Dilemmas: Exterior Cottage Revamp
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