Do you help plan gardens for a semi-shaded front yard about 100 yards from the bay?

Asked May 19, 2017, 2:47 PM EDT

Hi. As I plan my front gardens, two small (roughly 15' x 5') plots flanking my front steps, I want to be mindful of the bay. I don't want to plant anything invasive, and am fairly new to gardening altogether. Do you all offer any planning tips or advice? I can certainly do the grunt work myself, but if anyone can help tell me what to plant where, that'd be a big help. I love hydrangeas and peonies and boxwoods, maybe Alberta spruce. I am happy to amend my soil for good root structure, etc, but I really feel overwhelmed a little bit. Thanks, Heather H.

Baltimore County Maryland sustainable gardening and landscaping landscape design

1 Response

Thank you for your interest in planting a bay-friendly landscape! We recommend that you start by reading the "earth-friendly" section of our website (http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/earth-friendly) and check out the resources on our native plants page: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/native-plants. Observe how many hours of sun/shade you get in the area you want to plant, and have your soil tested so you can be familiar with the soil conditions you have. (Here is a link to soil test information: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/soils/soil-testing.)

Once you're familiar with the light and soil conditions, there are many great resources you can use to identify specific plants that will do well on your site. Here are just two, for starters:

Think about what you want to achieve in your garden. Do you mainly want shrubs? Do you want flowers blooming throughout the season? Do you want to create more shade? Once you have an idea of your goals and the site conditions, you can do research using the sources listed above and select plants that fit your criteria.

Here also is a link to good "Bay-wise" landscaping practices: https://extension.umd.edu/baywise/home-landscape-best-management-practices

If you need guidance on removing turf, see this page (which also includes some suggested alternatives to lawn). http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/alternatives-lawn

We hope this helps you get off to a good start. Take it one step at a time and don't hesitate to contact us again with additional questions as you proceed with your project. We would love to see photos of how you create your Bay-friendly landscape!

CKC