Landscape Challenge

Updated on May 16, 2008
L.V. asks from Lyndhurst, NJ
8 answers

Hey All
I need some advice on landscaping the front of my house. My home has a small retaining wall in the front and the top of the wall is grass which is half dead.

Does anyone know if there are any online websites that may specialize with landscape designs specifically for homes with retaining walls...not the traditional front lawn yards. I would like to take the grass out on both sides of the front lawn and replace with stones and flowers but I am challenged as to how to do this. I want to do it myself as we cannot afford a landscaper at the moment.....

I once saw on HGTV that there was an online service where you could upload a picture of your home and do the landscape design online but I do not remember the website.

Any ideas are appreciated.

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answers from New York on

Hi Linda,
I had a problem with my front lawn area also but found a way to fix it myself and it is now beautiful. Give me a call.
cell ###-###-####. L.

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answers from New York on

OK, you are in zone 6, like me.

I also garden on slopes and have a retaining wall that is half shaded and half full sun. My favorites are dianthus (pinks) asters, bird nest bush, miniture barbary bushes, lambs ears, buttercups, columbines, coral bells, bleeding hearts (full shade), astilbes (full shade), hydrangias (part shade), and heather, and Jacob's ladder (full shade), minature boxwoods, minature gold junipers, and butterfly bushes. Lillies also look nice in this area and do well and come in a bunch of different colors. So do Montauk daisys - I have shasta daisys, but I took them out of the retaining wall because they were too tall.) I also put crocuses and daffodils randomly in my planting bed, they are the first to come up and the first to be gone. My biggest fear is deer, which browse in my wall all the time. One of the easiest ways to get a plan going is to go to a knowledgeable garden center and ask for help planning your garden, and you will also have the ability to lay out the plants in containers at the garden center to see if you like the arrangement, take a pic with a digital camera to remind you of what you did. All the plants I mentioned above are periennials (the overwinter well her in new york without any special care and are not deer favorites) In a retaining wall, it is important to pay attention to the mature height of the plant, so that they do not overgrow and ruin the wall - so avoid trees even slow growing ones, and avoid bushes that are not the minature. We had to repair our retaining wall from the previous owners planting of juniper bushes.

The other think I would do is mulch after planting. It finishes up the bed and keeps the moisture in the bed and weeds out.

If you are just looking for one color and no maintance, vinca minor is a good choice. It has a carpet of blue flowers and has evergreen leaves - it takes over though, so don't mix it with other plants.

If you want something simple, just alternate a couple of easy maintenance bushes, like gold junipers and barbary bushes. They both have mounding habits- grow in a circle without much trouble. I'd send you a pic, but my flower garden is just getting started, so the plants are not in full bloom.



answers from New York on

not sure where you live, but Eiselle's in Paramus will design for free, hoping you pay them to execute the plan or just buy some of your plants there.



answers from New York on

I am doing the same as you. I am finally starting my flower gardens this year. And I am only putting in perennials as I'm not doing this every year. One of the great plant's I'm putting is is Sunny Perennial Phlox. It's a low plant with little flowers that bloom in spring and it will hang down over the edge of the wall. As a back drop against the house I'm using English Lavender. It's about 20-24 in high and gets very bushy and pretty. Also has a great smell. Infront of that I'm using Columbine. Gets to about 36 in tall. Pretty flowers in all colors. Just look at the zone your in (I'm in zone 5) and wether it's shade/full sun/or any combination. And for some great ideas I looked on ebay for plant's I liked. Most of the nurseries listed the info about the plant and then I went to Home Depot and bought what I wanted.



answers from New York on

Gardening is a lot of hard work. I suggest before you start. You spend time doing a lot of reading first on the subject. Or join a local gardening group. The library has much info on it. It's always best to know as much information as possible before actually investing money on plants and the tools that are needed. There's much to learn not only about the different plants but also about the soil and care it all needs.....plants flower at different times during a season so one can keep the colors flowing through out the will also need to learn what plants and flowers grow best in your area and when is planting season in your area....and how tall and wide a plant will grow before actually designing a garden. It's a fun hobby so enjoy.



answers from Buffalo on

Hi Linda,
HGTV is where I would go. Search their website. Alternatively, think about collecting rocks and stones to install short walls or breaks. You could do this over years with a good plan. Dig out the top fourth, for instance, and put in your row of rocks with low shrubs or creeping jenny or similar plants. Leave the grass in below it until you have enough rocks to do the next layer down. I have been collecting rocks on my travels for years and recently carried most of them to a new house! Also, check your local nursery for ground covers that hold the soil. Good luck!

L. (Mom of 2 sons, I'm also in a home based business)



answers from New York on

Linda V,

You can take the grass out yourself and replace the grass with stone and flowers.

Best of luck,




answers from New York on


I think HGTV is a great resource, they give great ideas. There is another web site also.

I have a similar probem in my yard. We have three city main water lines running through our yard which makes a big hill and hard to maintain. We're thinking of putting up a retaining wall on each side and having steps on each side making it look like a bridge. I think I have a program that can help you out. Let me check and I'll get back to you.

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