The Q&A Archives: Garden Design Ideas

Question: I need design tips for my unplanted backyard. I like a traditional/english style garden. I get full sun most of the day. I need privacy screening for a fence line, a tree (like a myrtle or pear tree, shrubs; I need it all. I would like most to be evergreen and some that would flower. The planter bed will run along a white fence that is approximately 50 ft and 3-4 ft in depth. Any suggestions?

Answer: I would start with a piece of paper and a pencil and sketch out the area, making circles or squares where you think you'd like to plant trees and place flower beds. Once you have a basic idea, you'll want to either walk the neighborhood to see what grows well in your neighbor's yards, or visit several nurseries and garden centers to see what most appeals to you. Make a note of the mature sizes (listed on the plant labels) and sketch your plants into your design. When you are happy with the look, purchase your plants and set them out in the garden where you think they will grow well. Rearrange until you're satisfied and then plant them. In addition to thinking about planting a tree or two, you might want to consider a narrow, tall growing evergreen such as Thuja (American arborvitae). These plants have a columnar growth pattern; 25-30' high and only 2-3' wide, which will fit perfectly along a fence or property line. You can plant several of them 4 to 5 feet apart and allow them to grow into an attractive privacy screen. Trees will be slower growing than the Thuja, but here are a few suggestions: Acacia, Citrus, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Olive, or Pyrus (evergreen pear). Hope these suggestions get your started on your new landscape. Best wishes with your landscape!

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