There was another major concern regarding the entrance to the backyard. Unfortunately there was a beaten path due to so much traffic, and I considered several options. The installation of a small concrete walk resolved the area from the side door to the gate entrance. However once inside the gate the idea of poured concrete did not seem suitable and would have reduced the lawns to a degree of too much concrete and not enough greenery.
Finally it was decided that small precut slabs would be installed. However a quick stop at a shop selling flagstones was fitting, but I was somewhat concerned about the price. Much to my surprise the total cost was comparable to the precut stones. To purchase nine huge flagstones in the colour of my choice the cost amounted to $105.00. The total weight was 580 pounds and the installation was quite simple. Place the stone on the area you desire, cut around the stone with a knife, remove the flag and carefully peel the grass away. Then set the flagstone in and use dirt to level. This procedure is not difficult just time consuming. The finished result was far superior than I had imagined. The stone is very natural and lends a very welcoming look to the entrance of the yard. Also the grass is protected and I did not have to sacrifice the overall look to achieve my goal.
Any major cuts to trees or shrubs (half inch or more) should be treated with pruning paint. Be sure to adhere to this practice immediately after cutting. This is a very simple procedure, just spray paint the area. Otherwise the cuts may cause the sap to leak out, very similar to bleeding. Always keep a tin handy. It is available at your local nursery.
Pay attention to spacing. I have a beautiful dwarf fragrant lilac and planted a Sedum Autumn Joy on either side. This year the lilac did not bloom and I realized the Sedum had grown so much it was stunting the growth of the lilac. I put one Sedum in the ‘hospital bed’ and gave the other to my sister. The reason for the ‘hospital bed’ is not only sickly patients are there, also any patient that does not have a home. In the years to come if a Sedum does not survive in another garden I have a replacement.
A friend of mine gave me several varieties of Lungwarts. Just for fun I planted three varieties together. The result is spectacular. A beautiful Lungwart display with three brilliant colours and no problem with the spacing. As I said earlier you must keep an eye on certain plants and realize their potential size before they overcrowd existing plants.
There was another problem I encountered with spacing. I planted two Spiny Greek Juniper trees too close. They fought and one died while the other was browning at the bottom. The browning area at the bottom was clipped. The existing Spiny Greek Juniper tree is doing well and is unique looking. I have never seen a tree with this shape but received many compliments on my unusual evergreen. That was merely a case of trying to salvage a plant and the new look created quite a stir. The browning from underneath has almost turned completely green. My Spiny Greek was altered from a juniper to an ornamental tree. Plants are like sculptures only limited by your imagination.
Placing urns in gardens requires a small slab being inserted underneath the soil. This way you level the urn and prevent it from sinking.
Make sure all your planters have a good sized drainage hole in the bottom. Sometimes the older urns have no run off holes. This is easily resolved using a (half inch) masonry drill bit. The technique is successful and I have never encountered any cracked pots. When planting annuals in these urns, throw some crushed stone or gravel in the pot. They will provide excellent drainage and your annuals will be spectacular.
Beginning a new garden enables one to choose a shape of their preference. For example I am fond of oval and this year I started a very small garden and cut it out in the shape of an oval. Triangles are pretty, anything with a curve or angle, just think about a shape before you dig.
After purchasing concrete scallops for edging and defining gardens I noticed some left over pieces. Instead of putting them in the garage or returning the items I walked around the house. Sure enough I found an ideal place for these scallops, just a tiny garden but very cute.
Sometimes plants do not thrive in particular locations. Don't be afraid to move the plant. However you should wait until spring or fall to transplant. The survival rate is far better. Transplanting during the hot summer months must be done in the morning or evening. Try to avoid this practice unless absolutely necessary. Be sure the new hole is dug and whisk the plant quickly to it’s new home. Remember the roots can and will burn, so expediency is of the utmost importance.