Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Library Landscaping

I am anxiously waiting for spring to arrive. Over the past few months, I have been thinking about the space around our little library and I’d like to spruce up the landscaping; however, I face a few challenges. I have only been able to grow grass in the area for the past decade. When it comes to plants, I prefer a low maintenance, sustainable landscape. I conserve water during the summer months and inevitably the grass dies and becomes a hay patch. Excessive rain in the winter causes the area to become muddy.

During my urban design coursework, I networked with an array of talented individuals including city planners and landscape architects. I contacted one of my former classmates, Paula Leyton, who recently graduated from UBC with her master’s in landscape architecture and asked her for advice on the space.

Here is what she suggested:

Around the post of the little library use ornamental grasses and combine with small rock boulders and some ground cover. Refer to this link for a recommended plant list provided by the City of Vancouver.

For ornamental grasses she recommended: Carex buchananii, Carex flacca blue zinger, Carex Helictotrichon sempervirens, Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra', Molinia caerulea moorhexe, Stipa tenuissima, and Pampas grass.

For ground cover, she advised using Thymus pseudolanuginosus and highlighted Erica calluna and Sedum spurium tricolor as they flower nicely in spring. 

She provided this image of the space with foliage:

I like her plant selection and the addition of colour to the area. I think it will be easy to maintain and require minimal watering during the summer. What do you think? Should I leave it alone or go for a new look? 

If you hear of any upcoming plant sales, keep me posted. As a former member of the Abbotsford Garden Club, I know they are planning their plant sale in May but I am not sure I can wait that long!

Thank you Paula for your sharing your expertise, insight and ideas! Always a pleasure working with you!




  1. Hi Jackie I love the idea. Would you put pavers as a little walk way? Especially like the idea of the red grasses. I will keep an eye out for some deals for the plants. Bettyann

    1. Hi Bettyann! I was thinking the pavers could serve as walkway. In terms of the design, I sort of like the organic shape of flagstones as opposed to the square pavers shown above. I love the red grasses as well! I never would have thought of that. I was checking out this site for some ideas and images on mixing grasses, ground covers and flagstones: http://www.houzz.com/garden-flagstones
      What do you think?

    2. I like the pink and purple together as well. We have some of the purple lavender in our garden. It does really well in the sun. It will be fun to see what you come up with. The fun is in the planning.