GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2002 show3
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Show #3

This year on "The Southern Gardener" we'll be landscaping two very different homes. The first is a new house, on a steep hill, on a lake, in Georgia. The second, we'll visit in several weeks, is an older home in the historic district of Asheville N.C. Both present very interesting, yet
challenging concerns. We'll come back to these homes throughout the
season and see how the work is progressing. Although both houses may be different than our viewers, some of the landscaping ideas should apply to your yard or garden. Today we're visiting the Georgia lake house, we'll look at some of the problems this homeowner faces, then develop a plan that addresses these problems.

Rain and the management of rainfall is a problem with the Georgia house, built on a side of a steep hill. One of the most powerful forces on earth is the raindrop, not individually but collectively they can be a
problem. Rain from the down spouts, from the road, the hill, the
driveway, all channel to one area. We need a simple, inexpensive
solution to catch the water and move it down the property. The homeowner has tried a French drain and placed mulch in the path. Both are not as effective as they could be. The French Drain is a four inch corrugated pipe. The corrugation is good, it slows the movement of water but it should have holes in the bottom of the pipe to allow water to percolate through the soil as it moves down the property. At the end of the pipe the force of the water is eroding the soil and will eventually damage things like tree roots.

In the south we'll often see severe cuts made in the soil. This causes
severe drainage problems, water will cascade over this cut and erode the soil. This will cause problems like erosion, silt, ruts, etc. We must
come up with a better way to solve this drainage problem. Some people handle drainage problems with large rocks called RIP RAP. This does slow down water and solves drainage problems but it is unsightly. Possibly vines, mulch, even a deck could be used to cover this unsightly mess.


This property is located next to "green space," or community property.
This corridor is approximately 30 feet wide. It's lower than the house,
thus water moves in this space, we've got to be careful about restricting water flow. In this case people have used it a a dump for
grass clippings, branches, underbrush, even pine straw bales, etc. It can become unsightly. We want to clean this area up, make it a low maintenance area, yet make it attractive and allow circulation so people
can get to the lake.


Ken Miller with Miller Landscape Design Group in Chatsworth Georgia has created a landscaping plan that addresses the problems and concerns with this property. First he wanted to make the home more visually attractive as it is approached from the road. A Deodore Cedar is recommended at the corner of the house to screen one side of the house. He's placed two River Birch Trees on either side of the driveway to frame the front door. He's used a lot of native plants in the front planting area and along the foundation of the house to soften look in the front. He's developed a plan to move people from the front yard back to the lake area. Ken has recommended an extension of the existing deck allowing people to move easier to the lake, yet not blocking the view of the lake in any way. He has planned for a space for a gazebo to be placed, allowing a direct view of the lake. As in the front yard, Ken has placed under story trees under the native upper story trees. Recommended here again is River Birch and an Eastern Redbud. The plants recommended for the "green space" are native plants. The area won't look like it's been landscaped, yet will enhance the area. Ken has suggested evergreenplants that will hide the foundation from the view of the house from the lake.

We review some of the plants suggested in the landscaping plan developed by Ken Miller: The first is the Deodar Cedar, or Cedrus Deodara a native of the Himalayas. It is fast growing, can reach 80 feet tall, loves full sun and well drained soil and can tolerate any zone in the south. It is fine textured, great for screening and very stately. You can find these trees bluish green or yellowish green, choose depending on your surroundings and taste.

We're also using a shrub called Eleagnus. The particular variety used
is Ebbingil which is a little denser. It's sprawling, has an irregular habit, fast growing and is an excellent screen to hide unattractive parts of a house. It loves about any condition, tolerates full sun, can take a little shade, likes dry conditions but can tolerate a little bit of wet feet. It has berries, thus attracts birds and has two different colors on its' leaves. The front is glossy, the back a speckled silver. It will grow 10-12 feet tall.

River Birch has been selected for this home. It is fast growing, can grow 50-90 feet tall, is native to our area, thus thrives in the south. It tolerates very poor soil and poorly drained soil. A couple favorites of Dr. Rick are Heritage or Duraheat.

A plant that contrasts well with River Birch is Otto Luken Laurel, Prunus Laurocerasus Otto Lucus. It will reach 4 feet tall, has long glossy leaves and has a coarse texture. It is evergreen and has little white flowers in spring.

We're also using Carolina Yellow Jessamine, Gelsemium Semper Virens. It is great for a trellis, put it over a fence, it's also a good ground cover, let it sprawl. It does a good job of holding the soil and has little yellow fragrant flowers early in the spring. It loves full sun, tolerates a little shade and poor soil.

Hollies serve as an anchor at the corner of a house. One, Savannah Holly has a medium sized leaf with bright red berries. It is Diaecious which means there are male and female plants. Pick females is you want red berries. Hollies are a good choice for the south, they tolerate a wide range of conditions, full sun, shade and about every soil condition with the exception of particularly wet feet. Hollies are a great plant for foundations around your house.

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