See how the owners of a large townhome have a landscape designer solve the problem of a sloped backyard and a dull front yard.
By June MaysMore in Outdoors
A Birmingham, Ala., couple couldn’t believe their luck when a larger townhome down the street came up for sale. Before moving, they wanted to have both the new front yard and new backyard redesigned and landscape plans drawn. The busy professional couple were not gardeners, so low maintenance was a priority. They wanted year-round good looks, so evergreens were sure to be part of the solution.
In the front yard, previous owners had taken the shrubs with them, leaving only a dogwood tree, small pane of grass, sidewalk, driveway and mailbox — practically an empty slate.
The backyard would be more of a challenge because the developer had used a bulldozer to scrape the building site out of a steep hill of chert. There were no surviving plants and only thin soil on that hillside. At the top of the hill along the property line was a chainlink fence. An existing 25’x 25’ wooden deck extended from the house. The only hardscape was an existing deck. The owners’ intention was to replace the existing deck flooring and try to make the steep, scarred chert slope look presentable.
Alongside the driveway, a line of evergreen holly, Ilex crenata ‘Soft Touch’ (zones 5-9), was chosen. Growing only 2 to 3 feet tall and wide, it will not interfere with passengers getting out of cars, will need no pruning, yet separate their front yard from the neighbor’s. At the beginning of this low hedge, behind the mailbox, a specimen of Calamagrostis x acutilfora ‘Karl Foerster’is planned for interest.
The panel of Zoysia grass was left bordering the street. Around the dogwood and under the windows, Camellia sasanqua ‘Mino-No-Yuki’ (zones 7-9) was selected for its glossy dark evergreen leaves and pure white long-lasting blooms in late fall/early winter. It is a slow grower and will not need to be pruned for several years. A pyramid holly (Ilex aquifolium ‘Pyramidalis’ zones 3-9), another dependable slow-growing evergreen, will mark the corner of the house.