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Old 05-18-2019, 09:55 AM
 
14,026 posts, read 14,521,462 times
Reputation: 41393

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I moved to Denver from Central Jersey almost a decade ago. I love the idea of gardening, but I've had so many false starts here. After wasting all kinds of money on plants that never survived and whatnot, I'm planning to actually do something about my front and back yards. A lot of it is landscaping, and I'll be hiring someone for that (I want to get rid of the lawn - they're ridiculous in this place). But I intend to put in beds in different spots on my property for vegetables and flowers and also do some container gardening.

After a ton of false starts and wasted money, I'd really like to just hire an expert to advise me on what should be planted where and what kind of bed should be built. I'd probably need an hour or two of their time. Is there any way to find a master gardener or someone with similar credentials that would just come over and help me develop a plan? I know exactly what plants I want, but I have no idea WHERE I should plant them. The sun is just SO intense here and it's so dry.

Honestly, this would never be necessary in Jersey. I helped so many of my friends start gardens and it was EASY. My vegetarian best friend just pokes some seeds in the ground every year in the spring and then has food for the whole summer. Her decorative hydrangeas and lilac bushes THRIVE no matter what she does. But here it's just been frustrating - everything withers in the sun or gets killed off by hail.

So what kind of professional can help me? Can I just talk to a landscaper or do I need someone with more specific expertise?
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Old 05-18-2019, 10:28 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
24,303 posts, read 31,380,829 times
Reputation: 48781
flower beds are a lot more work than lawn. If you get weeds in lawn, you can just run a lawn mower over them. Beds must be hand weeded.


what i have seen that wouldn't be too difficult (but would cost a lot), I saw on several properties in England. the front yard was paved with brick pavers and around the edges, were raised beds made in pretty curved shapes. Hardy perennials and drip irrigation in the beds. i suspect that the brick area was used for parking, but even without being a parking area, it sure looked nice.


Raised beds are easier to maintain, only because you can weed them without getting down onto the ground.


as for plants, grow whatever your neighbors are having success with.
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Old 05-18-2019, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
8,563 posts, read 11,455,178 times
Reputation: 9140
Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
I moved to Denver from Central Jersey almost a decade ago. I love the idea of gardening, but I've had so many false starts here. After wasting all kinds of money on plants that never survived and whatnot, I'm planning to actually do something about my front and back yards. A lot of it is landscaping, and I'll be hiring someone for that (I want to get rid of the lawn - they're ridiculous in this place). But I intend to put in beds in different spots on my property for vegetables and flowers and also do some container gardening.

After a ton of false starts and wasted money, I'd really like to just hire an expert to advise me on what should be planted where and what kind of bed should be built. I'd probably need an hour or two of their time. Is there any way to find a master gardener or someone with similar credentials that would just come over and help me develop a plan? I know exactly what plants I want, but I have no idea WHERE I should plant them. The sun is just SO intense here and it's so dry.

Honestly, this would never be necessary in Jersey. I helped so many of my friends start gardens and it was EASY. My vegetarian best friend just pokes some seeds in the ground every year in the spring and then has food for the whole summer. Her decorative hydrangeas and lilac bushes THRIVE no matter what she does. But here it's just been frustrating - everything withers in the sun or gets killed off by hail.

So what kind of professional can help me? Can I just talk to a landscaper or do I need someone with more specific expertise?
Not what you want to hear but do not, repeat do not put in flowers if you are having trouble with a lawn. Flowers die off and you may need to dead head them. The beds get weedy after a while, albeit landscape fabric does do a decent job and also mulch helps. Flowers are a lot more labor intensive than a lawn.

Another thought is, it may be your soil and not the sun that is killing your plants. Take a soil sample to the Cooperative extension nearby and have them analyze it. That may be your problem. Or you could be picking the wrong plants given the location. You are at a higher altitude so there are different requirements for watering and if you are in a snowy area the soil may still be retaining some of the winter wetness a little below ground.

I would try a landscaper for what you are looking to do.
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Old 05-18-2019, 10:58 AM
 
14,026 posts, read 14,521,462 times
Reputation: 41393
Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonwoodsmoke View Post
flower beds are a lot more work than lawn. If you get weeds in lawn, you can just run a lawn mower over them. Beds must be hand weeded.


what i have seen that wouldn't be too difficult (but would cost a lot), I saw on several properties in England. the front yard was paved with brick pavers and around the edges, were raised beds made in pretty curved shapes. Hardy perennials and drip irrigation in the beds. i suspect that the brick area was used for parking, but even without being a parking area, it sure looked nice.


Raised beds are easier to maintain, only because you can weed them without getting down onto the ground.


as for plants, grow whatever your neighbors are having success with.
I don't mind weeding except when it's over 100 degrees.

I don't want a sprinkler system - too much can go wrong with it and I've heard too many horror stories. I have an old one that came with the house that I've never used. It just seemed like more trouble than it's worth. Planning on investing in an above-ground hose system for drip irrigation (which a lot of people have here) that I can monitor and shift more easily. No need for sprinklers once I finally get rid of the lawn.
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:24 AM
 
3,950 posts, read 1,735,653 times
Reputation: 8064
Our county has a master gardener program and they give out the phone number at any community event. A lot of the people are seniors who have time to take the required classes to get the master gardener certification and we can call the number with questions and see if someone can come out and help with our issue.

Most State U's have an extension program in each county that will help you with things like testing your soil and they could certainly help you with knowing what will and won't grow where you live. Native planting is a big deal in most areas now and that's an idea since they have very different root systems. Since there's very little, if any, money involved (maybe for the soil test) I would tend to trust them. I know they helped my father a lot when he moved into this area and his amended flower and vegetable beds are still better soil ten years after his death than all the ground surrounding them.

Look for those numbers in your local phone book or see if you can find them online. If you have a farmer's market nearby, they usually show up there.
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