Landscaping along rock wall at woods edge

by Joyce
(Fishkill, NY)

HELP!! My husband and I disagree on how to design the plantings along this straight rock wall, which you can see separates the woods from our backyard lawn. Previously we had planted pachysandra and hosta in a straight line along side the wall varying 5-9 feet deep from the yard.
Obviously, it has gotten away from us over the years, so now we want it professionally done over.
Problem: My husband wants to begin at the opening of the wall, making the landscaping area about 8-10 ft. deep from the yard to the wall with a curved edge on the lawn side, coming out between the trees; as opposed to a straight edge in line with the trees (my idea; keeping the same size as it already is).
We both agree the plants should be staggered along the area, not placed in a straight line.
My take:
1-top soil and mulch should not cover the trees at their base as this will do them harm in the long run;
2-the landscaping should take the shape of the wall, being a reflection of the wall;
3-the plants should not be too large or crowded so as to hide the wall; we want to actually see the wall since we paid to have to restored.

Our plants will have to tolerate shade and be deer resistant. We will use landscaping fabric and then mulch on top of that.

So what do you think of the curved edge on the lawn side?
Any and all ideas are welcome!!! We
want to find a happy medium.

PS. There is nothing in the backyard, just grass. We can see and enjoy this rock wall from our upper deck and lower patio.

Thank you all!!!


Hi Joyce,
Whether you do a straight line or a curved one is a matter of preference. I can think of many successful designs done both ways. I've seen (and created) bed lines with sweeping curves, while when I was in England, I saw many perennial gardens done in straight lines!

I typically design with curves though. I like the movement and interest they create. They also provide the opportunity to have varying depths of the bed. I don't feel that a bedline has to mimic the shape of a wall (sorry!).

Whatever you decide, be sure to change the textures of the plants next to each other, vary heights, add a tall shrub (or group) here and there or an ornamental tree.

Personally, I don't like landscape fabric. You are better off using a thick layer of mulch alone, about 3 inches thick. The next year, just turn it over to freshen it up. It will last two to three years. You can also use a product call Preen, which prevents weeds from growing. Apply it a few times through the year ( you just sprinkle it on the area). It really works.

You can visit this page for some shade loving plant ideas.

Shade Perennials

I love Hydrangea, but you will have to spray them with a deer repellent.

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