Since moving to Central New York in 1987, my private landscape experience has been one of renovation.
Both of our homes have been situated on very small lots (both less than 6,000 square feet) within ten to fifteen blocks of downtown Syracuse. Both were quite shaded by closely spaced homes and numerous volunteer Norway maple and boxelder trees. And, both landscapes (if you could call them that) had been a bit neglected (top two photos at right).
For the past dozen years at our Syracuse University neighborhood home, patience has certainly been a virtue. As our time and budget have allowed, we've replaced the lawn with mostly herbaceous perennials, bulbs and ornamental grasses (along with a few shrubs - though no evergreens). These are plants are tolerant of the dry shade created by nearby trees and compliment each other to offer year-round interest.
We've also developed a comfortable outdoor living space by:
While we've reached a point where we're generally pleased with the space we've created, there's always room not necessarily for improvement - but at least for change. For example, every year we experiment with new combinations of annuals and tender perennials in large containers that we set on the patio and along the driveway. And, I'd sort of like to figure out a way to add a tree peony or two - and possibly a marginally hardy, fall-blooming camellia!
So, stay tuned!