Pacific Northwest Gardening forum→No idea where to begin!

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Name: Melanie O
Mountain Home, Idaho (Zone 6b)
Teach me all your ways, masters!
Critters Allowed
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Smellyann
May 7, 2020 8:13 PM CST
Hey, y'all. Can you help me, or point me in the right direction(s) of where to become informed?

We bought a house in Mountain Home, Idaho, last summer. We have not done ANYTHING with it yet, for financial and schedule reasons. Now that summer is threatening to show up again, I'd really like to get to get started doing SOMETHING in the way of landscaping and gardening.

We have, basically, no clue what we're doing. We're kind of in the mountains, kind of in a valley, kind of neither, kind of both.

Our entire surrounding yards are just grass. This is not desirable. It just dies, because it's unnatural, and we refuse to water it incessantly just to keep it from dying.

Ideally, I think, we want to take out all the grass. In at least the front, have mostly stones or something to inhibit more grass and weeds from growing, and then just plant - whatever - is native to this area that is also nice to look at, for maximum curb appeal.

Overall, we want the most bang for our buck, in terms of lots of pretty with minimum upkeep. My husband is disabled, and I am plagued with several serious chronic health issues. Our kids are nearly grown and, when they fly the coop, we won't have any help.

We'd love to be able to grow food. And also have different paths here and there in the back, to different areas of interest. Would love some trees. I just don't know what grows well here, and I don't know when to plant. I need a guru or three!

Thanks in advance for any guidance!
“I like rice. Rice is great when you’re hungry and you want 2,000 of something.” —Mitch Hedberg
Name: Steve
Port Orchard, WA (Zone 8b)
BrooklynStart
May 7, 2020 8:38 PM CST
Melanie, have driven through Mountain Home, on freeway, many times. It's sort of an arid, high, near dessert, with scrub brush. Also, I have live 36 miles from Mojave, in Lancaster, CA, another arid, high, near dessert. Elm trees might work, but do need some water. Best to check with local nurseries, and to drive around and see what others have done without lawns. For front, the best might be colored gravel and a few local plants. Be open to local plants. You are not in an area to have green grass and flowering plants without providing water.
Name: aka Annie
WA-rural 8a to (Zone 7b)
Sandsock
Sep 16, 2020 3:02 PM CST
You might have found other ideas, but when we lived in Las Vegas, xerscaping worked really well and super easy to maintain. We used gravel, big rocks, a couple trees and shrubs, then had a small garden in back and a few flowers. There was no grass, the trees (evergreen) did not drop leaves and we had anything that needed water on drip and timers. The builders had put in the original landscaping and done a good start. We added, but kept it very easy. Worked on it about 1 hour a month unless we had a water leak or in the food garden. See if you can use Google maps street view to look at Vegas homes on the edges of Vegas.
Name: Jen
The Dry Side of Oregon (Zone 6b)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Seed Starter Cactus and Succulents Cut Flowers Dahlias Bulbs
Birds Bee Lover Hummingbirder Greenhouse Region: Oregon
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SassyBluejay
Dec 12, 2020 11:28 PM CST
Hey there! I'm in zone 6b, too, on the dry side of Oregon. We did the same - planted lots of rocks (because we have a ton of it around here!) and planted native high desert plants between the rocks. We have focused on native plants to ensure we're not bound to watering like crazy. We watered to get plants established that we brought in. We also allow for native "volunteers" :)

I've had great success with flowers and shrubs like Oregon grape, Indian blanket flower, penstemons, Cali poppies and other native plants. The best part is that my water needs aren't through the roof since everything I grow does well here.

Have you found any native nurseries in your area yet? That's a really great place to start - that and your state extension office. Best of luck!
"Gardening is cheaper than therapy - plus you get cucumbers."
Low-Water/High Desert Seeds
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Name: Bea
(Zone 8b)
Ponds Hellebores Composter Herbs Keeper of Koi Keeps Horses
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Aquaponics Greenhouse Clematis Lilies Cut Flowers
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bumplbea
Dec 13, 2020 12:13 AM CST
A great place to start I'd like to share my fav garden gal on YouTube videos. There is a whole lot of plant info from a Gardner who lives in Estern Oregon and owns a nursery. Lots of great plants she shows you exactly what to grow what works best for shade , sun, windy conditions, etc.

I love her and she is a wealth of creative landscaping ideas and a Master Gardner no matter what the amount available to spend for a variety of multi organized garden ideas from soup to nuts. Great for beginners. Also videos on how to grow from seed.

Best advice ...Join a garden club near you, so much info and lots of plants to share.

Just a bit from my experience ...The soil in your garden is the most important number 1 factor for a successful garden. Reading about soil is very helpful before starting any garden. I purchased truck loads of topsoil and mushroom compost for built up garden beds to cover hard pack clay, did not till in. Never looked back. Was so easy to plant in spring a soft rich soil with good ph is key to any successful garden.

Garden Answer:
https://youtu.be/5MxrjZXaqNA

Happy Gardening and Happy Holidays.🎄
I’m so busy... “I don’t know if I found a rope or lost a horse.”

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