Monday, July 7, 2008

Excavating the Front Flower Beds

May to July 2008

The initial landscaping put in a stone edging around the front of the house to create two landscaping beds. But things didn't seem to grow very well in these beds. I suspected it was the result of poor soil. So I decided to excavate these beds, down to bedrock and then fill in with much better dirt.

First I dug out the bed next to the garage. I was able to dig down to bedrock (about 2 feet) in most of the bed -- digging around the crape myrtle which seems to be doing well.

I rebuilt the sprinkler system in this area, and brought in better dirt. Then Linda planted a mixture of Lamb's Ear and Ferns, with hardwood mulch.

Now we turned our attention to the other bed in the front, in front of the bedroom. This had been landscaped with liriope, an ornamental grass. But the deer liked to eat the liriope, so it never managed to grow very tall; it was normally chewed down to the ground.

So we have two options -- just dig it up and start over, or transplant the liriope, to someplace where it would have a chance to survive. If we wanted to keep it from the deer, it should be behind the fence. And the area just around the corner, on the side of the house by the air conditioner, which we had partially dug up to put in the French drain, had nothing really growing.

Transplanting the liriope on the one side of the fence was easy, since this ground had been dug up for the French drain.

But the other side, next to the house had not been dug up before, so we needed to excavate it.

and then we could fill it in with better dirt and transplant to it. Trying to learn from the work done on the other side of the house when we moved the monkey grass, we built up this soil quite a bit, so it could settle and we would not go below "level".

This worked out well, as the liriope has grown and seems happy on this side. The other side, however, almost all the plants died. Either too much shade or not enough water.

With the liriope out of the way, we could get back to excavating in the front, keeping back from the Nandina in front of the bedroom window and the Mountain Laurel at the end.

And again, we put back better dirt, and covered it with hardwood mulch. Linda says she will eventually put in Lamb's Ear and ferns, but it's too hot now (July).