Problem areas. Almost every landscape has at least one, whether it is a rocky spot, a slope, or a place so heavily shaded that design options with plants are limited. When drought strikes, even a normally enviable piece of land is transformed into a problem area. Or what if your land is plagued by the opposite of drought, and you're left with a muddy mess? Fortunately, you have several landscaping allies that present themselves as landscape solutions for dealing with these and other problem areas.
"My Land is Too Rocky": Rock Garden Designs
If a rocky slope is your problem area, then a rock garden design presents itself naturally enough as a landscape solution. Why not use the terrain's rockiness to your advantage, rather than fighting it? If you live in a region dominated by drought (see below), you may even wish to build a rock garden on flat land, planting the rock crevices with drought-tolerant plants to form a xeriscape.
For an FAQ on beginning a rock garden, please click on the link below, or access my tutorial on rock gardens if you prefer pictures:
"My Land is Too Hilly and My Soil is Eroding": Retaining Walls
If a rockless incline is your problem area, consider the possibility of importing rock to build a rock garden (see above) from scratch -- it will help hold back the soil and cut down on erosion. But a more popular erosion-busting option is to build retaining walls.
For instructions on building a retaining wall, please click on the link below:
"I have a problem area pounded by the sun, and it dries out": Landscape Solutions for Drought
If rock gardening is not your cup of tea, you might consider the xeriscape as a practical alternative to more traditional yard designs. Although xeriscaping is associated with drought-plagued areas, don't underestimate the benefits it can bring to yards far-removed from the desert. You can save yourself time and money by planting low-maintenance, drought-tolerant perennials, in addition to grouping plants with similar irrigation needs together in your yard.
To read about drought-tolerant perennials and xeriscaping, please click on the links below:
"I have a wet spot on my land": Dealing With Drainage Problems
Some of you flooded with excess water runoff may be envious of folks with dry areas and their consequent "problem," considered above. For you, wetness is the problem. If water puddles in an area of your yard, making it unusable (or worse yet, if runoff threatens your house foundation), installing a French drain may be the answer for you. Or perhaps you're simply looking to grow plants in such an area, and everything you try there balks at the bogginess of the soil? In that case, I have descriptions of some wetland plants that may be the right landscape solution for you. Yet another option is a decorative "drain" of sorts: a dry creek bed.
To read about installing French drains, dry creeks or selecting plants that will thrive in wet areas, please click on the links below:
"I have a spot too shady to grow plants": Coping With Shade
This sort of problem area, too, could be considered the opposite of the sun-battered problem area previously described. If you have a shady spot, don't fight it: fill it with shade-loving plants, such as shrubs that grow in shade.
To read my Top 10 list for shade-loving plants, please click on the link below:
But what if the landscape solution you seek does not concern a challenge presented to your plants by the elements, your soil or your terrain? On Page 2 we'll consider some landscape solutions that don't necessarily fall into any of these categories....