Monday, October 10, 2011

Tackling a Low Spot

The Problem:

Ugly air-conditioner + Poorly drained, compacted soil + Weeds = Problem
This is a low spot between my house and our neighbor's.  Whenever it rains, it becomes a big pool of water, even with our neighbor's French drain.  The problem is compounded by our dirt, which has been thoroughly compacted by equipment brought in to take out our dying oak trees in the back yard.

The only thing that grows well in this poorly draining, compacted soil is crabgrass and other assorted weeds.  Our neighbors put in lush looking Zoysia grass, which makes this strip look even more sad.

Neighbor's yard     -------      Our yard      
So what to do about a poorly draining, compacted low spot?

The Solution:

Step 1: Till that baby up!
(Can I get some Tim Allen grunting from the audience?)

Meet my new little tiller!
Step 2:  Add dirt to raise up the low spot.

Step 3:  Plant something that appreciates poorly drained, swampy areas.

I planted Inkberry bushes, a type of slow-growing holly that is native to North Carolina.  They are evergreen and develop 'black as ink' berries in the winter that the birds enjoy.

The compact cultivar Inkberry 'Shamrock' eventually grows to around four feet high and five feet wide and can easily be pruned smaller. 

Step 4: Add stepping stones

Step 5: Add lots of mulch!

The final reveal:

Step 6:  Add more plants on either sides of the stepping stones to balance the garden out and hide the air-conditioner a little better.  Sadly, our landscaping budget has run out for the time being, so this step will be completed at a later date.  

Step 7:  Convince Mr. Red House that this was not a ploy to add more garden area and buy more plants.
Like I would do something like that... ;)


  1. Well done Mr. and Mrs. Red House!

  2. What a makeover! Fantastic! Now your neighbor will think his grass looks bad next to your beautiful yard!

  3. That looks good, Indie! Although I don't think you'l have as much success with Step 7 as with the other 6!

  4. I love what you have done with this part of your property! If you ever run out of things to do, you are welcome to come redesign our property!

  5. Can I stop my Tim Allen grunting now?
    What an amazing trasnformation...well done you x

  6. Very nice... and I like that you aren't tempted to go beyond your budget. My Honeyman and I garden that way... we start with a master plan and add each element as money permits. But then of course, I sometimes add new ideas to the plan. It all requires patience but that's just fine.

  7. What a well though out project, Indie. Mister Redhouse must be mighty proud on many counts.

  8. What a great make over..of course it wasn't a ploy but you still got more garden...lovely!!

  9. Terrific makeover! There is such gratification in taking an area that is really a mess and turning it into a gorgeous little area all its own. When those shrubs mature, they will be amazing in that spot!

  10. nhgarden - Thank you! I had a lot of fun trying to turn this into a better looking area!

    HolleyGarden - Ha, thanks for the kind words! Apparently, though, I have inspired them to add more plants to their little garden area ;)

    Lyn - You should have seen the look on Mr. Red House's face when he realized that I didn't want to just stop with the bushes. It was quite funny!

    Katie - Aw, thank you! That is a high complement!

    Jane - Thank you, and I'm glad Blogger is letting you add comments again! We had rain today, and the area looked so much better. It wasn't a big puddle anymore, yay!

    Carolyn - Well, I won't say that I wasn't tempted.. :) When building gardens from scratch, patience is quite a necessary virtue!

    gardenwalkgardentalk - Thank you - he was quite pleased with the outcome!

    Donna - It's definitely a win-win situation!

    Cathy and Steve - Thank you! I was quite pleased to find a shrub that will work there. I'm hoping they will produce a lot of berries as well for the birds!


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