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Old 10-22-2012, 08:39 PM   #1
MGN54 OP
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Back yard renovations

Looking at some houses in an effort to get off of a busy state highway that is due to be widened...making a bad situation worse! Have found a few possible houses to consider but the back yards look like ass. Drought conditions the past summer or two have wreaked havoc on landscapes. I guess the good news is you can clean out and redo some landscaping to make things look nice again. Problem is, I just don't have the imagination or creative side to come up with some ideas of my own. So, would like to see some before/after pics of some of you inmate's renos. One house we like is on a half acre lot. Back yard is probably a 1/4 acre. WTF do you do with all that space?

TIA!
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:43 PM   #2
fire fox
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Call around to the local nurseries and ask if they have or know of anyone that can draw you up a landscape / hard scape plan. Around here that runs between $100 to $300 depending on the designer. Once you have a plan you can implement as you have time and budget.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:59 PM   #3
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Any nursery/garden center has somebody on staff who will draw you up a plan, bill you for it, and give you that $ in credit for plants or hard goods. The good ones are great, the bad ones will still have a few decent ideas. You don't have to do everything they say. I worked for one for a few years in college, it is actually pretty fun work. At least there is something to look at, when you're done.



Related: I spent a bunch of time helping a family friend re-do some abandoned landscaping before listing a house for sale this summer. This was all perennials and shrubs (and a shitload of weeds), I did some massive trimming, relocating, leveling, and planted grass. She had the bluestone path done a few years ago, just a few had to be re-leveled.



She never could decide what to do with the section along the fence, we used it to stage mulch and whatnot, the new owner can figure it out.



I wanted to tear more of this out and put in some grass, she wanted more of the daylillies and perennials and mulch, and it is her place, so that's what I did.

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Old 10-22-2012, 09:13 PM   #4
Manuel Garcia O'Kely
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We found a guy thru a friend, who came up with the plan, laid out the sprinkler system, and he and his crew did the work - we could have done any of it having paid him for the design, but we wanted it done, and it was a matter of a week.

BUT, it's easy to do something like this yourself in stages:

1. Design it - layout pathways, planted areas, etc. How are you doing dividers - are you paving, brick, pavers? What are you saving? Fences need any work? Gates, any concrete to take out or to support something? Clotheslines?

2. Demolish what has to go - After demo and removal of any concrete or such - I suggest an industrial roto-tiller to really go deep - it makes it easier to dig for your sprinkler lines as well as allowing you to mulch it really well. Also makes it easier to level out everything if you want to.

3. Sprinkler system: If you are installing any permanent walkways, you really would be happier laying this down first - at least the main lines to all the beds and zones so that you don't have to install them later. If you want to run out some remote hose bibs instead, again, do it now. There are plenty of books on how to do this yourself. We put a micro spray system here in our flower bed and have been pleased.

Walkways and permanent dividers and raised beds.

Plant...

Don't forget room for a vegetable garden!
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:18 PM   #5
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The discussion of irrigation brings back a central issue: wtf can you really grow in a yard in 'central texas'?

I'd think a bigass tree to shade the house would be high on the list. maybe that, and a lot of rock.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grainbelt View Post
The discussion of irrigation brings back a central issue: wtf can you really grow in a yard in 'central texas'?

I'd think a bigass tree to shade the house would be high on the list. maybe that, and a lot of rock.
For landscaping in flowerbeds, Lantana, Verbena and Mexican Heather do quite well in this area. Succulents are also a viable option and require little water.

Bermuda grass does pretty well, even in drought. Just don't subject it to alot of traffic.

Live oak, pecan, Chinese pistache are great trees in this area. I'll add mountain laurel and crepe myrtle to that.

Weeds seem to propagate quite well, too, if my neighbors yard is any indicator.
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Heyload screwed with this post 10-23-2012 at 07:56 AM
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:08 AM   #7
JimVonBaden
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Basic, but it works for us:

It started like this:


We dug out for a patio, and redistributed the dirt to the low back yard.


Ran all the downspouts underground.


Layed about 900 pavers.





Added grass and a few touches to finish.



We did the front at the same time:

Before:


After:


This was all done over a 1 month period, 6 months after we bought the house.

Jim
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:34 PM   #8
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:39 PM   #9
MGN54 OP
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Wow! Some nice landscapes gentlemen! I'm jealous as hell. Thanks for the info and all the pics. Some good food for thought. Keep em coming!
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:30 PM   #10
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Oh.... and I should mention that my "rock garden" has dozens of trials lines in it! Intentionally.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:26 AM   #11
Grainbelt
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Good fences make good neighbors.

Weed barrier fabric under any rock area or patio.

I'm a huge nerd for eco-friendly solutions like rainwater cisterns, compost bins, green roofs on garages, etc. If you're starting from scratch, you have the option of building in some ways to reduce runoff and reliance on irrigation.

Set aside space for a vegetable garden. Nothing quite like fresh food right out of the backyard.

Spend a long time researching turf options. Your local land-grant university website should have info on varieties and blends, their water requirements, and characteristics.

Take a soil sample to your extension office for a pH test. A little work up front with manure, peat, compost, or other soil remediation will go a long way toward health and viability of your lawn and other plantings.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:48 PM   #12
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Did the traditional stuff several years ago in VA--koi ponds, pretty little bridge, landscaping, etc. Also did a nice veggie/fruit garden.

Last place was a rental and I went the other direction and just stacked a bunch of crap up until I had something rather entertaining.


My advice is rocks, piles of stuff, and a trials bike
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