05-27-2013, 07:15 AM
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As some of you may remember, I'll be moving into my first 'purchased home' (actually, the bank will own it for while) soon. In three weeks, in fact. This is pretty exciting, of course.

The people we're buying it from have kindly allowed me permission to do whatever I want with the garden and yard, even though they're still living there. This is because the growing season in NH is pretty short, and it's not a good idea to miss any of it.


While I know what I want to do with the garden patch, I'm a little unsure about the front and back yards. I really don't like vast expanses of grass, and the back yard is mostly featureless grass.

My plan is to put up some patches of native flowering plants, and perhaps a low tree or two. Basically, I like more 'stuff' in my garden.

In the next couple of days, I'm going to take some pics of the yard as it is now, and solicit some advice from the gardeners on here. I hope you guys are up for a challenge. Smile

Stay tuned.


Here are the promised pics of the yard.

First, the house itself:

[Image: temporary-58.jpg]

It is nice and cozy, and suits our temperament.

Now, the side yard:

[Image: temporary-62.jpg]

It's got a nice cherry tree in it. The cars are parked to the right of the shot. The dog tore up a hole in the grass (as you can see), aided by all the kids.

There's a bit of a garden strip near the porch. It isn't too interesting at the moment.

[Image: temporary-61.jpg]

They planted a bit of a patch in the front too, to help improve the curb appeal when listing the house. It hasn't yet taken off.

[Image: temporary-59.jpg]

Here's the back yard. It's where the bulk of the work is needed. The brown bit is where the veggie garden will be.

[Image: temporary-56.jpg]

There's a bit of a flower patch next to the veggie garden. It's overgrown at the moment. Supposedly, there are lilies and black eyed susans there, among other things.

[Image: temporary-43.jpg]

I want to do some work in this back yard. I've already planted some peas and cukes along the fence.

37 1,731
 05-27-2013, 08:09 AM
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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I'll look forward to that, Yohann. As a big city boy with no garden I look forward to the photos taken of gardens such as Mike's and now yours, as well as others.

Will you be growing any edibles like tomatoes, zucchini, etc. or will it be strictly ornamental?

2 11,211
 05-27-2013, 08:24 AM
  • Johnny
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Bring it on. I use to do a little landscaping so look forward to seeing what you have.

173 23,288
 05-27-2013, 08:56 AM
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Freddy, there's a small vegetable patch, which will be planted with the usual - cukes, zucchini, lettuce, peppers, etc. I'll even try some tomatoes, though the lack of a real growing season may cause issues with them.

Mostly, we use a lot of greens, and those are easy to grow.


However, the landscaping will be confined to the front and back yards (away from the veggie patch).

It isn't a big plot, so that's going to cause some congestion issues if I overdo it.

37 1,731
 05-27-2013, 01:08 PM
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I live in SE NH USDA zone 5. I grow tomatoes no problem. Either start seeds indoors or buy established plants.

For flowering plants I have.success with iris, bleeding heart and Echinacea. Black eyed susan and daylillies naturalize well around here.

For you small trees be aware that the snow load can destroy arborvitae and other evergreens. I have a japaneses maple that does great in this clime.

Also NH with all it's hills and valleys creates.local microclimates that can be very different from the surrounding zone. Elevation can facor in as well if you are near the White Mtns

What part of the state are you in?


7 363
 05-27-2013, 09:18 PM
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The house and the yard look great, Yohann! Good luck and keep us updated!Biggrin

74 20,786
 05-27-2013, 10:27 PM
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Good luck with your house and land! It's a big step.

By the looks of the fence, if you planted on the fence you planted on your neighbors land. Generally, the good side faces the folks who don't want the fence, that'd be you if I understood the picture. The fence is always placed on the fencers side of the land a bit. If your peas climb the fence your neighbor owns them if I understood the picture.

The first thing I'd do, if you haven't already, is to double check the boundaries before doing more. Some neighbors are understanding and some are, well, quite frankly, not very pleasant. If my neighbor planted peas to climb my fence I wouldn't give a hoot, but not everyone is my neighbor and I. I'd also check with the neighbors if you haven't already. If you mentioned that you did and I missed it, well, I missed it. Sorry.

Where I live there's plenty of land and plenty of elbow room and some of us work together. But in town folks can develop friction that chafes. Not always, but it happens.

Sorry, can't help with anything but a vegetable garden and small livestock (chickens & Guinea fowl). I do suggest some small livestock for both food and their manure (hens and/or rabbits in town- guinea fowl may be too loud for in town) if you plan to garden. Hens make no noise; neither do rabbits. Both can be eaten, but hens also lay eggs. Both manures are >20% nitrogen. Age it a bit or compost it, or 'till in thoroughly, and you have hundreds of pounds of gardeners gold every year (plus food). If you do it right there is absolutely no odor. People come over and comment on our chicken and guinea hen coops and the almost total lack of odor. One needs to enter the coop to smell anything, and it's just the most recent deposits that one smells. FWIW, I empty the coops once a year, so it's not a lot of work to do it right.

32 6,301
 05-28-2013, 05:43 AM
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The fence is ours (or will be in a few weeks). It faces inwards. That's probably because it's the backyard fence.

Luckily, our town just voted to allow up to four hens, and we're certainly going to start keeping them. It may be next year before we actually go through with it. We have a lot of changes going on at the moment, so we want to space things out.

37 1,731
 05-28-2013, 07:34 AM
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
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Yohann, congrats and good luck on the house. Looks wonderful.

We live in Zone 5 in Western MA and this is our first rural home. I was born and grew up in big cities until 2007 (I am 47).

Now we have a veggie garden, started on some fruit trees (cherries) and bushes (blueberries, raspberries, black currant). We also plan on adding more food bearing plants where the great expanse of monoculture lawn was. We have been in this house for 6 years and have reduced the amount of lawn considerably.

A lot depends on where the south is on your property and what's in the shadow and what's not. If you eat lots of greens (kale, collards, etc.) then you can build cold frames very easily and cheaply and keep having fresh greens late into fall and start enjoying them as early as April some years. The hearty greens are amazing and grow well here. We eat a lot of them, so for us growing organic greens is like printing our own money at today's health food store prices.

We have just added a large patch of garden this year. We have lots of dairy farms here and the neighbor down the road keeps a horse, so there is no shortage of cheap/free manure for soil enrichment.

For flowers and visual beauty, lilacs do very well here and are absolutely amazing plants to look at and smell. They are some of the first fragrant flowers here. We have lots of echinacea, hosta, bleeding hearts, rhododendron, azalea.

We also have not used any pesticide or herbicide on our property since we moved here and there are lots of "weeds" like dandelion, lams quarters, violets, clover, etc. We encourage any and all local grasses and flowers on our "lawn" and it is becoming more and more beautiful every year. We had so many violet flowers this year that our friend came and harvested them to make violet jam. We try to make pretty much everything that grows eatable. We eat dandelion greens, violet greens and flowers, etc. We make green smoothies in the morning for breakfast and most things that grow on our "lawn" go in there. Delicious!

My wife is an amazing gardener and she is managing tomatoes, hot peppers and even melons (they are small, but still we can grow melons here!). Most of our garden, however is hearty greens and berries. We have some wild raspberries (both red and black) and we are encouraging them to spread. They are amazingly tasty and plentiful, but very thorny.

Hope that gives some ideas. I can take some pictures of our various patches if you want. It's hard to recommend anything without knowing the orientation of your property and how the light and shadow play out during the day. You may want to observe that because it's key to some plants.

25 1,695
 05-28-2013, 07:55 AM
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Yohann, the house looks great. May your family and you enjoy it for many years to come.

2 11,211
 05-28-2013, 10:24 AM
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Hi Yohann

Congratulations on your new family home, I hope your family gets to share many happy times there Smile

Which garden is south facing?

Which garden (area) receives early morning sun?

Which garden (area) receives shade late in the day?

Which garden (area) if any is in complete shade?

Do any areas in the landscape collect water, remain wet (damp) after the rest of the landscape dries?

Is there any areas of the landscape that drain toward, into, the house?

Start a compost pile (or composting system) as soon as possible, a well managed, maintained compost pile doesn't smell (bad), therefore having it near the house (if it makes sense to do so) shouldn't be a concern.

Having some "curb appeal", flower beds (defining those areas "edges" with some kind of physical edging makes maintenance that much easier) in the front shouldn't be underestimated...

Having some flowers near or in your veggie patch is a good idea...

Personally I've become a big fan of native grasses, "ornamental" grasses and sedges, they come in a large range of sizes, colours, etc. are extremely easy to grow and maintain as they pretty much look after themselves. Quite a few of them can be divided every 2 or 3 years to give you more even plants, thus helping to feel in those bare spots you begin to notice as time goes by... Plus a number of them offer good winter interest in the landscape.

Look into what are considered "native" plants for your area, those plants will generally do better in your climate, soil conditions...

Personally I don't do annuals (though I understand their appeal and "benefit"). I find perennials easier, less work... though also understand they can take a few years before they reach their "full" size and make the impact you're looking for.

Spring (flowering) bulbs are a great way to get some early season colour in the garden, plus they're near enough maintenance free after you've initially planted the bulbs -- just be sure to let them die back naturally each year, thus giving them the best chance to come back the following year.

Breaking areas, projects, down into manageable workloads is well worth doing. Correctly measure out those areas, then sketch them out (play with different layouts, arrangements), will give yourself a good idea of what is needed, how it will look afterward... are worthwhile exercises, which can save you time, money and energy further down the road.

You local Extension Office will be a great resource -- University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension -- as will be Botanic Gardens in your area, independent locally owned garden nursery's, local gardening clubs/organisations, etc.

Good luck and remember to have fun.

Take care, Mike

ps Feel free to contact me via PM anytime, we can then discuss much more if you feel the need to...

Edit: Corrected the "ps" message and cleaned up some of my thoughts a little.

23 1,872
 05-28-2013, 05:49 PM
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In the last pic above, it was late evening. You can see from the shadows that the plot is on a NW line, and the back yard spends most of the day (and all the afternoon and evening) in the sun.

The front of the house is more shaded.

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