Arlington Renovation

Within the same neighborhood as our ongoing improvements  at The Old Lacey House (click the link for detailed history of this Civil War Era home), green•eye•design recently completed a landscape improvement project for a lovely 21st Century-constructed home.

The owners approached for improvements over the ‘pre-installed’ tree & shrub choices the building contractor installed as the home was being finished. I have observed quite often that a builder will become comfortable with a small palette of trees and shrubs and then never waver from those selections, often to the detriment of both the home’s lines as well as site conditions, sun exposure, etc. Another move is to simply find whatever is on sale at the local big box chain store and use that.

Certainly this landscape was no exception, with trees planted near the foundation that– when mature– would have completely eaten the facade. Boxwoods were planted in southern exposure and were baking in the all-day sun. (indeed, several were already dead). Plants which need even moisture were planted in raised rain gardens in which their roots would be periodically inundated with the stormwater runoff from the roof’s downspouts. So, I whipped up this design:

front raised rain gardens, click for humongous version

For this:

An existing Crape Myrtle was transplanted down to the small front lawn area where a flowering Cherry had expired over the winter, and a small specimen of Amelanchier canadensis ‘Autumn Brilliance’ (Serviceberry, Shadblow, Saskatoon) was planted at an appropriate distance from the foundation.

A few soil issues were addressed also. Now all the plants are both floriferous and attractive, and have the benefit of enjoying ‘wet feet’ during times of periodic root inundation. Many of the choices also produce attractive berries for wildlife or for cutting. This came together very well, next we’ll talk about the backyard’s improvements.

A to-do list and plant materials list:

  • Pop out grasses & nandina for replanting after grading
  • Remove Boxwoods and save best for rear yard transplanting (4-5 total for both sides)
  • Remove Crape Myrtle for replanting where dead Prunus is on front lawn
  • Remove and discard dead Prunus
  • Add approximately 4″ high quality, largely organic screened topsoil, regrade so front of bed elevation matches front right raised bed. Regrade to take out 2″ or so of the depth of the catchment shape to the bed.
  • Plant in new plants as per drawing
  • Top dress with double shredded hardwood or pinestraw

Front right:

  • (Boxwoods)
  • Transplant existing Japanese Maple to rear yard corner garden focal point
  • Plant in new plants as per drawing
  • Top dress with double shredded hardwood or pinestraw

Myrica cerifera ‘Fairfax’, Ilex verticillata ‘Red Sprite’, Chionanthus virginicus, Camassia quamash, Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’, Clethra alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’