The lone voice of horticultural reason

Now We’re Getting Somewhere!

6-30-05 – The only thing more fun than starting a new landscaping job is FINISHING one. Job #1, Suburban Back Yard, is done!

In case you are joining the project updates for the first time, the client had a plain grass back yard that bumped up to her neighbor’s chain link fence and his back yard. The view from the yard was ghastly; from her oft-used deck, it was gruesome.

Her wish was for a mixed evergreen/deciduous border that would block this view while providing spring and summer bloom, fall color, winter interest, and year-round contrast of color, form, and texture. My kind of job …

To catch up on the first two chapters of this landscape’s planning and development, click here.
Spring 2005 Update: Patience is a Virtue
Project #1 Update & General Spring Foofaraw

The client is a very good gardener—she will select and plant the perennials and annuals that will fill the soil beds you can spot curving through the front of the raised bed.

Renegade readers have e-mailed that they’d like me to include my plant list for the projects I publish this year. Well, all you have to do it ask! Plant list appears below, after the pictures I’ll use to tell the rest of the story …

Before …

… and after

Plant your trees first, here a compact Norway pine and clump birch. Note early definition of functional dry creek bed.

Place larger background shrubs and rock outcroppings next.

‘Dart’s Gold’ ninebark in front of ‘Monlo’ ninebark, the oldest trick in the book.

Drip irrigation was installed before mulching, trees circled twice, shrubs once. Note advancement of creek bed installation.

Renegade foreperson Judy fiddles with her cell phone when she should be finishing installation of aluminum edging.

Always think contrast.

Completed creek bed.

Note curving soil beds where homeowner will plant perennials.


Qty Description Common Name
1 Aronia melanocarpa ‘Autumn Magic’ Chokeberry
1 Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’ Dogwood
3 Cornus sericea ‘Isanti’
1 Euonymus alatus ‘Compacta’ Burning Bush
2 Fothergilla major ‘ Mount Airy’ Fothergilla
3 Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’ Lilac
3 Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Dart’s Gold’ Ninebark
3 Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’/Diabolo Ninebark
1 Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii ‘Marleen’ Snowberry
3 Stephanandra incisa ‘Crispa’ Stephanandra
3 Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’/Tiger Eyes Sumac
3 Viburnum lantana ‘Mohican’ Viburnum
3 Weigela florida ‘Alexandra’/Wine and Roses Weigela
2 Chamaecyparis thyoides ‘Heather Bun’ Chamaecyparis
1 Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Kings Gold’ Chamaecyparis
3 Juniperus chinensis ‘Daub’s Frosted’ Juniper
1 Juniperus scopulorum ‘Medora’ Juniper
1 Taxus cuspidata ‘Monloo’ Yew, spreading
3 Pinus mugo ‘Slowmound’ Mugho Pine
2 Pinus resinosa ‘Norway Compact’ Compact Norway Pine
1 Pinus strobus ‘Fastigiata’ Columnar White Pine
1 Picea glauca densata Spruce
1 Betula szechuanica ‘Royal Frost’ Birch, clump
1 Cornus alternifolia Pagoda Dogwood, clump

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener