A new home, especially a newly constructed home, often comes with a blank canvas for a yard. Our new home has the front simply landscaped but the backyard barely even has grass in it. Well, to be fair, the builders planted a fast growing rye grass to cover up the soil;kind of. We are plagued with low spots that tend to flood with the melting snow and the rain. Of course, the clay soil here in the Fox Valley isn’t the best for drainage.

So what is the landscaping dilemma? My husband and I have always had beautiful yards. We are the type A personality of a weed- free yard, lush, green yard planted with beautiful flowers that have always attracted visitors and people walking by to make comments. Now, with the blank canvas of a yard, we have been visiting greenhouses and landscape companies looking at plants and trees, changing our minds, and redrawing plans over and over again.We actually planted a few trees, knowing that we really wanted a maple, apple trees, and a small crab tree for both the beauty and as a pollinator. If anyone watched us measure, remeasure, and measure again before we planted, it would have made for a great YouTube video! But the trees are in and will soon be leafing out.  One of our big problems is that our backyard backs up to an open field and the winds blow strongly across the yard. Therefore, we need a bit of a windblock. So after many trips to the landscape yards; including Vandeheys, Shade Today, Home Depot, Steins, Lowes, Shopko, and Wolfraths, I finally did for my husband exactly what I would do for clients. I moved the plants around and laid them out so that we could visualize a basic plan. I know that I want all year color so we will combine evergreens with a small red twigged dogwood. We want a variety of evergreens to bring in different colors and textures. We finally settled on three varieties and sizes of evergreens. But now, we face more problems.

We love so many different plants. We really want a yard that requires little work as we loved the condo living lifestyle that we just left. We now have to work on controlling our impulse buying. We don’t usually have a problem with impulse buying, only when it relates to landscaping. We have promised ourselves that once we get our berms built and plant the evergreens, we will progress slowly. Of course trees and evergreens are nice but we both are individually studying different plans for a perennial garden. We look lovingly at rhododendrons every day and covet hydrangea trees, rosebushes, and the newer hibiscus trees. When things progress, we will post pictures. Of course, we are buying smaller plants in order to buy more plants and to keep it affordable.

Our big landscaping dilemma really boils down to keeping it affordable, narrowing down our selections, and determining the best spot for each plant. Of course, we also need to decide whether to kill the rye grass, regrade the yard, and replant new grass. Controlling my impatience for spring, green, and a beautiful yard also adds to the landscaping dilemma.

What is your biggest landscaping dilemma?



  1. I have a very similar dilemma! I love and appreciate too many plants! One of the things that attracted me to my property were the large established trees on the south side. I imagined curving beds of perennials wrapping the yard with four seasons of color. The reality is- the large dominant maple shades out most of the full-sun blooming perennials, keeping them stunted. I have chosen to buy more for interesting foilage than flowers, but long for a fenceline of hollyhocks, delphiniums, poppies and monarda! Let me know the next time you are visiting a local nursery- I’d love to come along shopping!


    1. Our trips to the greenhouses are always spur of the moment. We did plant knockout roses, small pink weigela, and Japanese Maple, and reseeded the lawn this weekend. Thank you to my husband for my Mother’s Day gift of landscaping. He also got the rose garden he covets. We are still waiting for berms to be built, and a patio before we mulch and add the actual flowers. Katie, we can always go flower shopping together or dream over catalogs!


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