Far Southwest Corner - Landscape Plan including Hemlocks

This is the fourth in the series of different snapshots of our emerging landscape plan for our #newoldbackyard.  The other three are here and are worth visiting to get a sense for the overall plan.  
So, now back to the drawing at the top of this post.  That's the far Southwest corner of the #newoldbackyard.  The big circle in the the top right is a trampoline.  Or our tramampoline as I like to call it.  I went out and snapped a photo of this area recently so you can get a sense for the scale.

And here it is annotated with the existing species marked and some of the new elements overlaid on the landscape:

The items in red circles.  You can barely make out the King Crimson Maple behind the trampoline.  There's a big tree in the far corner.  And if you notice in the plan at the top of this post, they call for a buckthorn tree to be removed.   Turns out it is an invasive species and is marked as "illegal to sell in Illinois' by the Morton Arboretum.  And then there's Natalie's Corkscrew Willow.  This was a Mother's Day gift from the Girls and me to Natalie - as she said she really wanted a Willow.  We planted it as far back in the yard as we could because, frankly, they're filthy trees.    

But you can see that the landscape architect didn't really account for it in the plan.  They did, however add a bunch of new plantings back here.  Specifically:
  • Three new Canadian Hemlocks - which are three of nine that they've spec'd for the entire yard. 
  • One Chicago Lustre Arrowwood Viburnum.  Monrovia describes it thusly"Extremely durable and attractive large upright, rounded shrub with arching branches. Produces clusters of tiny white flowers followed by blue-black fruit that provides forage for songbirds. Withstands heat and drought. Glossy, dark green foliage turns yellow to burgundy in autumn. Use as a tall screen, hedge or specimen."  Sounds perfect, right?  Flowering, has fruit that birds will love, is tolerant of lots of things.  Gives a little show in the fall.  And can provide screening.  Done and done. 
  • Eight Ostrich Ferns.  You guys!  You know by now my love of ferns.  I actually love just about all shade gardening.  Think it is because that's what my Mom did mostly.   We had a very wooded lot growing up, so shade gardening was just about all she could pull off.  So, it is in my blood to love ferns and hostas.  
  • Three Alice Oakleaf Hydrangeas.  Again, let's see what Monrovia has to say:  "Among the largest of the Oakleaf Hydrangeas, this bold selection is handsome and stately for foundation or border. It has deeply lobed, oak-like leaves and a profusion of large white blooms. An added bonus, foliage turns brilliant crimson in fall."  Handsome?  Check.  White blooms?  Check.  Fall color?  Check.  The section of the plan that is against our southern fence line also has these Alice Oakleaf Hydrangeas.  
  • Ten Lenten Roses.  I had never heard of them, but a quick peek around the Web shows these.  They're stunners.  I told the designer that Nat loves her some Peonies and Anemone.    These Lenten Roses have a lot of the look of those flowers, but are shade tolerant.  American Meadows says:  "Lenten Rose illuminates the shady garden with charming, unique blooms."
  • And finally...in the corner, you can see a 'spotlight'.  Yeah...landscape lighting.  Something that Nat and I don't agree on, but something that all of the landscape design folks have said we should do.  That's likely in Phase 3 of the landscape.  
Speaking of phases, as I start to put together the budget for the yard for the year, I've begun to think about what we should be tackling first.  I see it in a few big sections - in no particular order:

1.  The privacy hedge of Frans Fontaine European Hornbeams.
2.  The walkway and 'entrance' to the backyard.   Pavers and steps from driveway to patio.  Might also include planter boxes and retaining wall.  Also...my dream is to include a water feature like this one down and under the stairs.
3.  The pizza oven and patio expansion.
4.  The other trees - like these Canadian Hemlocks.  But also maybe something like a Weeping Alaskan Cedar or the London Plane Tree/Shingle Oak (Live Oak replacement) or even a Bald Cypress - which aren't contemplated in the current plan. 
5.  The rear and side foundation plantings and beds.  They need some organic material and all the plantings.
6.  The perimeter plantings and beds - part of which you see above in this post.  The beds need outlining, organic material added and all the plantings.

Some of those can be combined, but due to the cost of the materials, others of them won't be.  Priority one this Spring is #1.  After that, I think we have to address the walkway issue, but when we're talking about water features, planter boxes, etc...the cost skyrockets.  Those are both pro jobs.  But there are others like #5 above, which I think can be a DIY project.  We can go to the Home Depot or a landscape supply house and pick out the materials and get them in the ground.  One of the projects we probably need to take on is to improve the soil around our house.  That's also, perhaps a DIY job?

Lots to get done and lots to consider this Spring.  Winter is a good time to dream about the garden, isn't it?  


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