Our Mission:

Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Dappled Shade Refuge

A whole new look

These Urbandale homeowners really wanted their backyard to be a relaxing, usable space that felt natural and serene.  With a rambunctious young dog, and a large Ash tree shading most of the yard, grass was really a struggle to grow here, and they were beyond frustrated with the mud.

Before pics

The fence was also really in disrepair and with more dogs next door, they needed something better for a safety barrier and peace of mind.  You can also see the downspout pipe temporarily helping with the mud and drainage issues.  Several neighboring yards had rainwater runoff directed along the rear property line as well.

Our solution was to use a dry stream bed to direct water through the low spot, keeping the water in a designated place.  Functional, yet decorative, stone and boulders armored the channel.  Native plants were used along the stream and in the terminal rain garden to mimic the natural appearance of an intermittent stream and vernal pond. 

Although shaded, this area does get some sun, so our palette was limited but not terribly so.  Turtlehead, purple coneflower, blazingstar and sedges were included.  The rain garden will hold and sink most rains, keeping stormwater runoff from other yards and the sewer system or local streams.

Plants waiting to go in

You can see the new cedar privacy fence going in at this stage too.  It matches the one on the other side that we put in several years ago.  Cedar is naturally decay resistant and smells great!

Plantings allow the stream to meander, yet keep the turf edge
straight for ease of care

Finally, the remaining yard was sodded with fescue for quick coverage with a more shade tolerant turfgrass.  We also over seeded with an additional fescue/bluegrass seed blend for resiliency.  Overseeding each Fall with a blend of fescues, some perennial ryegrass, and one that also includes new shade tolerant bluegrass varieties, like Sabre III™, will help maintain this lawn long term.

Native woodland plants were used in the shadier foundation plantings to tie the space together with the woodland edge theme.  Plants included woodland phlox, wild ginger, columbine and ferns.  Corners were softened to make mowing quick and easy.

Stream close-up with echinacea color popping 

Another angle

Rain Garden in the corner, dappled shade