« A Dinosaur Egg in the Fall Garden | Main | A Year by the Patio »

A Year in the Lower Lawn and Words About Maintenance

This is the final installment in my five part series featuring seasonal views of different parts of Deb's Garden. Today we will look at the lower lawn. At first I hesitated to include the lower lawn in the series, because I don't think of it as a real "garden" space. But it does help to complete the over-all plan, so here it is.

I define the lower lawn as the area beyond the front garden. It is divided in half by the drive as it travels away from the house and the front garden. This area is the farthest from the house and is the lowest of low maintenance. Except for mowing the grass during the summer, we don't do much here. Even mowing is kept to a minimum, as we cut our grass high and don't mow at all during times of drought. That means our grass hasn't been cut in two months! In the seasonal photos below, the double row of boxwoods defines the entrance to our property:

As we travel down the drive, on the right is the backside of the front garden, featuring Japanese maples, dogwoods, and a weeping cherry tree:

The main entrance to the woodland garden is on the left side of the drive, while across the lower lawn on that side, the edge of our property is defined by a screen of evergreen trees. We once had unobstructed views of rolling fields and trees when we looked out our front windows, until our neighbor built a workshop within a few feet of our property line. This massive building completely obstructed our view, and while its roofline had merit, the commercial-like side of the building was unattractive. I solved the problem by planting a border of evergreens. It is an eclectic grouping, including Canadian hemlock, white pine, Arizona cypress, deodar cedar, and upright yaupon holly. I also planted dogwood, Japanese maple and redbud trees to provide some seasonal color. Despite their diverse homelands, all of the trees have grown well, and I no longer think ugly thoughts about my neighbor when I look his direction. Here are seasonal views of the lower lawn, looking toward the evergreen border:

And finally, the right side of the lower lawn is bordered by natural woodland, including native oak, pine, and dogwood. The woods are edged by a row of oak leaf hydrangeas:

If you have followed the entire series, you are now thoroughly acquainted with Deb's Garden! Some of you have wondered about the size and maintenance of my gardens. Our property covers 3.5 acres, with at least one acre being untouched woodland. Lou and I do all the maintenance ourselves, and we have full time jobs that keep us busy. It is not as much maintenance as you would imagine! If you examine my photos, you will discover that most of the color comes from trees and shrubs, which naturally require less maintenance than annuals or perennials. I love flowers, but the backbone of my garden comes from sturdier, more permanent plantings. 

Here is a summary of our maintenance chores:

1. Pruning of shrubs - once or twice a year, depending on plant

2. Weeding of pathways - thorough weed job once in spring, then once a month or so as needed. Weeding is something I often do as I stroll about. A handful here and there keeps the chore from becoming obnoxious.

3. Mulching of pathways - once every couple of years

4. Edging of lawn - once in spring, as needed again in fall

5. Fertilization of shrubs and flowers - once or twice a year, depending on plant

6. Fertilization of grass - twice a year with a natural "weed and feed" product

7. Mowing of grass - every two weeks or so during the growing season, except during times of draught

8. Watering - as needed. Newly planted areas or marginal plants need to be babied. Well established, native plants can take care of themselves.

9. Mulching of planting areas - once or twice a year. Mulch helps to conserve moisture, cuts down on weeds, and improves the soil. We use a lot of pine straw, which is readily available and complements our acidic soil.

10. Enjoyment of garden - daily! And I do include this in maintenance, because a garden that is loved is going to be a happier, healthier garden.

Thanks to everyone who has followed this series. I very much appreciate your comments. Happy Gardening to all of you!

You may also enjoy:

A Year in the Woodlands

A Year in the Front Garden

A Year in the Lady Garden

A Year by the Patio

My Secrets to a Low Maintenance Garden


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (15)

This series on your garden area through the seasons has been fun to follow. You've done a wonderful job with your garden, as it looks fabulous throughout the year. Your tree and shrub combinations in that second set of photos are very appealing, lots of colours and shapes.

Now you'll have to include a map to show the layout, although your descriptions have been good for seeing how they tie in together. :)

October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNorthern Shade

Hi Deb, Your garden is beautiful in all seasons. We don't have seasons here. Well, except for rainy season. So it is really interesting to see so many different looks of the same garden. It's good to know that the two of you are capable of maintaining such a wonderful garden by yourselves. You have definitely made the right selection of trees and plants.

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOne

Debbie - it has been a wonderful series to keep up with. I am in love more with your garden now than ever before as everytime I read a new post I will be able to visualise where you are. You really do have extensive grounds to maintain so I can understand now why you concentrate on low maintenance. That must be a lovely driveway to go along especially as you get closer to the house where there are more varied plantings. Now you'll have to let me see what you cut those lawns with - my friend years ago sent me a picture of their ride on lawn mower and it was huge.

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

Dear Deb - well thought out, well kept, well-loved. Your woodland garden is a shining example and truly inspirational compared to the shrub selection usually associated with the Low-Maintenance garden. What a lovely place to come home to for two busy people.

p.s. the conifers look great against the borrowed landscape of your neighbour's workshop. Shows off their silhouettes so well

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatioPatch

You have done a great job of showing your garden to us. I love the feeling of your property and can tell the care and thought you have put into it.
Always Growing

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan

I loved this series and followed along. I said before what a great idea you had photographing from the same vantage point throughout the year. Nice photographs and the garden is beautiful in all seasons. Your property is quite large, and I can see why you try to reduce maintenance. It is good you seem to have a system too. Having a lot of trees and shrubs keeps the garden full, colorful and lower maintenance, plus gives good structure to the garden. I have help with my tiny yard, I can not imagine having 3.5 acres and doing it all myself. WOW.

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

I imagine "working" in your garden is such a joy in such a beautiful setting. Thanks for the seasonal pics -- so soothing. I would love to take a stroll in your garden in person, but will settle for a blog tour :-)

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToni - Diggin' in the Dirt

I love those four chots of the drive.

If I had 3.5 acres, I'd have more work than I care to think about. I'd have ripped half of it up and made so much work, but then again, I am an idiot! At least you've kept it nicely ticking over.

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Idiot Gardener

A thoroughly enjoyable series of posts and I plan to come back to them again for some ideas and inspiration. Your property is stunning. You've achieved the balance of open views and gentle enclosure throughout.

I like that you include "enjoying the garden" as a maintenance task. I set aside time to walk around my gardens and peer at them and sit in them as a "task" too. It allows me to assess, plan, and make sure everything is growing ok. And it's a task I love to do.

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

Dear Deborah, This has been a wonderful chronicle of a year in the life of your most beautiful garden. I can understand how you must have regretted screening the neigbour and so missing out on the extensive views, but, for my part, I really love the way that the drive now affords an almost secret entrance to the house and garden. Only a little is revealed at any one time and that does make the voyage of discovery more exciting.

I wish you many many more years of happy gardening!

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEdith Hope

It's been an absolute pleasure strolling through all the parts of your garden and getting a look at how they all change through the seasons. I have followed all the instalments and come back a few times to enjoy the seasonal changes ... which of course is not something I enjoy in my own garden. Thanks for this great series.

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBernieh

Deb your property is beautiful in all seasons and you've done an amazing job with it.

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Bay

It's amazing you can keep up with 3.5 acres! It is quite a lovely scene and garden for sure.

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertina

Thank you so much for a wonderful series! I so love your garden and it's really generous of you to share it with us. I particularly loved that you put your maintenance chores in there. It's good to know what gardeners actually do in the garden. Too often, new gardeners don't realize how much or how little other gardeners to and it's always useful information. Thank you again!

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Barrow

Love the seasonal history. Has stopped me bemoaning summer gone!

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercatharine howard

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>