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Projects: Waltham Duplex Phase I

Completed Summer 2006
Total Cost: Under $3,000
Designer: Elizabeth M. Lowe

The Site: Before

I was hired by the owners of one unit within a two unit condo in Waltham. While they plan to enhance much of their yard over time, they wished to focus on two problem areas first. Previous owners had put down weed blocking fabric in a sunny area between the house and a fence on the property line. In the intervening time, a layer of old mulch had become host to a wide variety of weeds. Their other problem was a lack of privacy in the front yard.

Waltham Duplex No Privacy in Front

The Design

Along the side of their house, the clients wanted a low maintenance area which they could walk through, so I included an irregular stepping stone path. This path is surrounded by bearberry, moss phlox, and prostrate heath aster. These are all very low growing plants, and over time they will create a varied green carpet which will bloom in the spring and fall. Closer to the house, I included taller perennials such as purple coneflower and black-eyed susan. These plants will bloom from midsummer into the fall, and generate the feeling of walking through a wildflower meadow.

Waltham Duplex Design

To enhance front yard privacy, I included 5 evergreen shrubs: 2 Yews which will provide an excellent backdrop, and 3 Mountain Laurels which will be covered with flowers in June. I also included some ground covers that prefer shade to fill in the area.

The Installation

This client worked on the installation with me and my assistant, both to save money and also to understand the garden better. We started by arranging the stepping stones, then sinking each one into the ground. Next we planted the perennials and shrubs, and finally topped it off with a layer of mulch. The weed blocking properties of mulch are particularly needed on this site since the bright sunlight stimulates rapid weed growth.

The Results: Before and After Views

Along the Side of the House

View Along Side: Before View Along Side: After

Coneflower Closeup: After

Future Plans

Because this client wanted the work done in stages, we started with the most critical pieces. The next step will be to complete plans for the rest of the yard so that we will be ready to install additional sections when the time comes.

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