In this video, Ask This Old House landscape contractor Jenn Nawada works with a homeowner who lives on a corner lot to create an attractive, durable landscape that can withstand heavy pedestrian traffic.
Tips for designing a high-traffic landscape:
- Mark out the location of the new garden bed area with some spray paint.
- Strip out the existing grass using a sod cutter.
- Rake out the soil underneath with a metal rake to ensure a smooth, tilled surface.
a. Any time you dig, you have to call your state’s 811. They will check for gas, electrical, and any other local utility lines.
- Pick out materials that fit the environment. Jenn and the homeowner picked out some New England fieldstone steppers for a walking path and some small boulders to decorate the space.
- Pick out the plants. When thinking of a high-traffic area, remember to look for plants with resiliency. They will need to survive foot traffic, dog urine, and winter and/or extreme heat. When landscaping a corner street, nothing so tall that it blocks visual of oncoming traffic should be used.
- First, lay out your stepping stones and boulders. These items are heavy so Jenn likes to do this task first to ensure no damage is done to the plants.
- Stage your plants.
- For each plant, dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the pot of the plant.
- Remove the plant from the pot. Sometimes gently squeezing the pot will help remove the plant while keeping the root ball intact.
- Tease the root ball of the plant gently with your fingers to loosen them up.
- Place the plant in the hole and add starter fertilizer.
- Backfill the hole with soil. Leave a bit of space on top to make room for the mulch.
- Once everything is planted, cover with mulch.
- Water the plants.
Jenn selected plants and materials that could withstand a high level of foot traffic from pedestrians and dogs, as well as snow plows in the winter.
For the walking path, she chose New England fieldstone steppers, which can be found at most stone yards and landscape supply stores in the Northeast. The plants she selected included panicle hydrangea, thyme, shasta daisies, butterfly bush, geranium Rozanne, boxwoods, and hens and chicks, which can all be found at home centers and nurseries.
Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Forever Green Landscaping, Inc.
- Spray paint
- Small boulders
- Stepping stones
- Butterfly bush
- Shasta daisies
- Panicle hydrangeas
- Boxwood plant
- Hens and chicks plant
- Starter fertilizer