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I need help getting started!


my husband and i had a get deal of work done to our house last year, including the addition of a front porch (which I love). because of the added depth, it required removing all existing plants in front of the house. i have contacted and/or paid several landscapers over the last several months to get a beginning landscaping plan; however, they have just drawn rough plans and expect me to contract the work with them without any real explanation. furthermore, the plans have varied greatly in their symmetry leaving me even more confused. i feel the landscapers are more concerned with making money than making me happy. at this point, i feel like i have a blank canvas to work with and getting started should be fun rather than frustrating.

here are the basics:
-the house faces southeast
-i am in zone 7 but close to zone 6 in Charlottesville, Virginia
-the house is 30 years old, in an established neighborhood with many large mature trees
-azaleas thrive in my area so im guessing my soil is somewhat acidic
-drainage seems good
-i have small dogs that love being out front, requiring wire tie-outs. i plan is to use a 1 foot tall physical barrier to protect the plants from the dogs
-i would like to start with 3 layers of plants but dont want those to extend more than 6 feet away from the porch
-the front of the house is perfectly symmetrical
-all plants selected will be grown locally
-the more southern side of the house lattice is 48" tall and the other end is 40" tall
-the steps are 7’ wide
-the width from the side of the steps to the corner of the house is 15 1/2’ (both sides)
-we have a circular driveway as well as a straight driveway

at this time, i have decided to use a business landscaper that does the work at my husbands store. that will take some of the financial motive away from the residential landscapers while insuring a good planting. the work done to the house required removal of most everything around its perimeter of the house but am concentrating on the front right as im having so much trouble. after the front is done, i will still have so much to do, including multiple other areas in the front, both sides of the house, the backyard and around the new back deck and screened in porch. i have so much to learn and getting started is very intimidating.
i would love to hear from someone that loves basic landscaping and i can learn from as i am eager to begin!

More blog posts by TrueBeginner

Next post: Symmetry or Not?



Its a shame we live so far away. We love this sort of creative challenge!.
Best wishes Grenville and Alan.

27 Apr, 2008


Hi Truebeginner welcome to goy from us here in sunny UK(!) very interested in your comments thought the customer was king in the US.Such a large undertaking is going to prove very difficult for anyone not on site to advise you on.Surely having paid contractor(s) they have an obligation to supply you with more than a sketch you dont understand.Clearly you will need plants that scale relative to your property and contractors should take this into account.You say plants will be professionally planted yet you not happy with plans.Please stop then as things could get very expensive.Approach the pro planters and seek their advice do they know or work with someone who could help you.If both you and they try to work from plans that neither of you comfortable with things could get very messy.

27 Apr, 2008


I would get another landscaper. If the two you are working with can't give you the information you need...go elsewhere. In that area there are plenty of landscaping companies that will help you.

You might want to go to a smaller company as I think they are much more helpful than larger ones. Good luck and post some pictures of your yard. We might even be able to help.


28 Apr, 2008


I totally agree with Floridagardener. I would go with a small company. There are landscapers out there in your area I'm sure that are just getting started in their business who are very skilled and have a lot to offer including a more reasonable price.

28 Apr, 2008

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