Challenges of A Large Landscape Design | Volunteer Gardener

Challenges of A Large Landscape Design | Volunteer Gardener

July 19, 2019 1 By Kailee Schamberger



– [Troy] On landscape
design projects of any size, there are always challenges. But big projects like this one often present even
more challenges. One that we had here was
a downhill drainage swell that we needed to
control the erosion in. So in this instance, we
used a dry creek bed. But that was not
the only challenge that we faced on this project. This stone arch that serves as the entrance to the
house and the forecourt is inspired by the stone
arch at the Sewanee Cemetery, which is about the same
size and proportion, also covered with wisteria, but we made a
conscious choice here to use our native wisteria. This property sits right
on the edge of the mountain and backs up to
pristine woodland. So we didn't want to
take a chance with the Japanese or Chinese
forms of wisteria that are so capable of
escaping into the wild. So we used wisteria
frutescens amethyst falls, which is one of the cultivars
of our native species, one of our native species. The thing that I
love about this plant is that it's less aggressive,
so it's easier to maintain its size and shape on this arch, and it flowers more
than once a year. We get a big flush of
bloom in the spring like we see now, and
again two or three times during the summer we'll
have a smaller flush of repeat flowering. One of the most spectacular
shows of the year happens right here at
the front of the house. The iris are just
coming into bloom now. We're not quite at
peak, but we're close. And in another week or so, this will be a 200-foot
long river of iris. We have three species in
here, iris versicolor, actually have two species
of iris versicolor. Iris virginica, and then
flowering right in front of me, a cultivar of iris virginica
called contraband girl. And I chose these because
these are water-loving iris, and we have a space here
at the front of the house that stays damp all the time. So this was the perfect
plant as a solution to a wet place. One of the big
challenges in any garden this day and age, whether
you're in the city or whether you're in the
country, are animals. We have deer, raccoons,
chipmunks, voles, you name it, especially up here
on the mountain. We have all kinds of challenges. But one of the biggest is deer. And we learned our
lesson early on. So you see cages around
all of our smaller trees, and that is to keep the bucks from rubbing their antlers
when they're trying to shed them in the fall. We didn't do that early on,
and we learned a hard lesson. We lost some trees, and
these trees that are two or three inches in caliper, that's the perfect
size for them to hook their antlers around
and rub up and down trying to shed those
late in the fall. And they can really
do very serious damage in a very short period of time. One of the many
challenges of this site was the steep slope on the
back side of the house. We wrestled with
a number of ways to sort of alleviate
that and make this house feel like it wasn't just
perched on the ledge of the mountain but
was actually kind of growing up out of it. And the solution to that problem was this, what ended up being one of our favorite features, this large, three-tiered terrace that takes you from the
main level of the house down to the level of the garden without having a 12
or 15 foot drop off at the back of the house. We regraded this. We planted thinking that we were basically in a drier area
that would need irrigation, and about a year into the
planning and planting, this became a wet area. We have a little
wet weather spring that seeps out from
under the terrace, and so our original
planting did not work. We moved many of the plants. Unfortunately we lost a few. And we have now come back
in and replanted plants that will tolerate
having wet feet, like the Virginia sweetspire. We even have some water
iris growing up here. It's wet enough
throughout the season that we're able to grow iris that normally would be
found on river banks. And I even have
some true bog plants growing up along these
edges, like marsh marigold. So in this particular area,
when we were faced with a challenge, we had to
rise to that challenge and find something
that would really work. One of the really important
things in this garden was to take advantage of
all of these sweeping vistas and views that we have here. From every point on
the property, there
is something to see, and we really tried hard
to take advantage of that. And then again, on
the list of challenges here on the property,
here about a year ago we had a big wind storm, and we had one of our
largest trees come down, and in a very fortuitous
move by Mother Nature, she laid it down right
across the end of the garden without hitting anything else, and we've decided not
to take the tree out but to just let it
be the end point to a beautiful, natural garden. One of the final
challenges we faced in designing this garden was to create a sense of privacy,
because while we are up here on top of the mountain, we do have neighbors
on either side. So we created evergreen
screening with arborvitae, magnolias, Nellie
R. Stevens Hollies, and I think we've really
created a sense of privacy. We also had to maintain
those other challenges that we faced, with wet areas, with water moving
on the property. We are on the side on the
lip of the mountain up here, so we have a lot
of water movement and we had to address
all of those challenges, and I hope that we've done
that in an effective way. – [Announcer] For
inspiring garden tours, growing tips, and
garden projects, visit our website at
volunteergardener.org, or on YouTube at the
Volunteer Gardener channel, and like us on Facebook. (mellow guitar music) (soft country music) Behind every Pick
Tennessee Products logo is a real Tennessee farmer. Pick Tennessee Products
has helped people find those local
farmers, food, and fun for over 30 years.