We need assistance on large landscaping project.

by Laura G.
(Belle Fourche, SD)

I've attached pictures of the area we are wanting to landscape. Our home is for sale in rural South Dakota (Zone 4-5)and we'd like better "curb" appeal. This area is on a private road. Our soil is pretty good, however evergreens do not thrive well here. I have not had ANY luck growing Maple trees, either.

We'd like to "dress up" the driveway somewhat, including the shallow ditch to the west of it. The house sits almost exactly north and south, so the driveway is also north/south. I have 25 Boston ivy seedlings waiting for Spring to be planted along the shed, as well as about 50 Vinca Minors to put in the ditch. We do not want any plantings along the east side of the driveway.

The dog eared fence seen in picture 0506 to the left of the house (and that end of the house) have Joseph's Coat climbing roses, grapevines, peonies, shasta daisies, galliardia, clematis, other roses and various perennials well established and thriving. There are a couple short lilacs at the end of the driveway and 2 Russian Olive trees at the end (east side) of the driveway. Otherwise, there isn't much.

Our thought is to plant a few large trees along (or just in) the ditch and inundate the ditch with wildflower seed, Vincas and other ground covers. In the large grassy area, we were thinking of randomly planting shade trees, so as to look "natural". We are open to planting along the taller privacy fence, too. We are not wanting to spend a lot of money or add any "hardscape" to the area.

We have an almost unlimited supply of chokecherry, Russian Olive and Cottonless Cottonwood seedlings. My brother owns a nursery, so I can get stock for next to nothing.

Any ideas you may have would be greatly appreciated!


Good Morning Laura,

The street appeal for your house is going to be obtained with plants that can be grouped together or are large enough (like trees) to make an impression. Work on defining and cleaning up the edge of the driveway. I know you don't want to install any hardscape or an edge, so spend some time working on making the edge not bleed into the ditch. Don't plant the trees in the ditch. Plant them to the field side of the ditch. If you are not lining both sides of the driveway with trees, plant them in groups of 3-5 plants with an irregular spacing between the groups. In the open area, plant some large trees with groupings of smaller trees preferable flowering ones among them. This is very showy from the road. It sounds like the fence is covered during the growing season. It is a shame you can't grow evergreens there because they do such a good job of accenting your property all year. I imagine you are under snow most of the winter, however. When planting the ditch, keep in mind that seed can be washed away easily. Cover the seed with excelsior cloth that will protect it and give it a better chance of survival. The vinca is evergreen, but prefers shade and may have trouble growing in this location. Vinca major is more tolerant than Vinca minor. Is there planting at the end of the driveway by the road? Creating a nice entrance planting of flowering shrubs, perennials and groundcover increase the street appeal as well. Good luck With your landscaping and sale of your property.


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