Sunday, March 23, 2008

Landscape Design ~ The Town House Plan

Practicing my version of architecture means I get to geek out on simple things, like designing my garden. Rather than just say what I want, I'll use AutoCAD to create a comprehensive set of plans which will included elevations and sections for the decking / bench / stair element, site-work for the electrical and landscaping trenches, plans and etc. Let's do it. So after some measuring (and a year of living at our house in order to gauge what would be best for the garden), we have a solid plan in place. We had a spare weekend. We had a day laborer to dig our ditch. Hence this blog post, post spare weekend and post initial implementation.

Phase I - plant the screening. We chose bamboo as the privacy screen since the plant does quite well in the Pacific N.W. and isn't overly hedgey looking (my blog - my words). Our old house had bamboo running rampant, but some quick research revealed a way to conquer the power of rhizome. In short: dig a 21" deep trench with a slight funneling towards a narrow bottom. Install a 24" tall bamboo barrier, ours being a 40ml thick polypropylene sheet. Support the barrier with rebar, then refill the trench half-way with the original dirt and tamp down. Fill trench the rest of the way with a delicious compost/dirt 50/50 mix. The end goal of which is too encourage the rhizome to grow up towards the surface due to 1) being contained by a barrier that slopes outwards and guides shoots up 2) create an undesirable growing medium below (tamped down dirt) and a desirable growing medium above (delicious dirt). That way the rhizome can't escape its confines by travelling underneath your defenses.

This image shows me securing the ends of the barrier together using metal plates and bolts. Don't want the rhizomes able to sneak in between the overlap thereby bypassing my defenses! Anyhoo, the 21" deep trench with 24" tall barrier means you'll around 3-4 inches of material above the ground. The reason for this is to force shoots to expose themselves when trying to launch an invasion over your defenses. Pluck ... Ghandi goes the rhizome. Additionally, you fill the upper 3-4 inches with mulch to further lure shoots upwards into a warm and moist sunny surface. We plan to also cover the mulch with black rocks, which will make for a zen-like design. That being bamboo, cedar fence, black rocks, buddhaful.

Tricia donned her garden outfit ("fatigues" and pink gloves, fashion shades, ponytails) and started placing the the bamboo plants. Ours were purchased quite tall so that we don't have to practice patience. Privacy Screen Now Please. We adopted and planted 8 bamboo clusters. Already there's a huge difference at the townhouse. Also, my back feels great. Advice: hire a day laborer for heavy work. Ours had to axe through roots that were the size of trees. If I was doing the grunt work myself, one of two things would have happened after being blocked by the root: 1) broken back 2) the root would have become the designer (my trench would have stopped there)

Next we'll do the groundwork for the electrical run and the patio. The plan includes a water feature in front of the privacy screen, and uplights to highlight the existing laurel and newly planted bamboo. So another trench for the conduit, and then over that will be the patio. In our case we'll be installing a border of pressure treated wood, leveling and tamping down the area within this border, and then laying stone. I'll publish another post at that point.

6 comments:

swerer said...

Where was your rhizome when I had to dig out an unruly bamboo in my own backyard? I could have used this post about 8 months ago before sacrificing my own back at the hands of a spade. Thanks for the tip.

Amos said...

"fatigues" and pink gloves, fashion shades, ponytails... I would expect nothing less!

sweet said...

Tricia, I hope you have gotten all you deserve, especially for all you have done for people. . .

stagingworks2009 said...

The landscape townhouse plan looks nice and gives some ideas on it. Thanks for this Matthew. I owe some ideas. Let others know also about Home Staging Tips

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angelo h said...

Love the floor plans of the house.

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