How to Design a High Traffic Landscape | Ask This Old House

From This Old House.

In this video, Ask This Old House landscape contractor Jenn Nawada works with a homeowner who lives on a corner lot create an attractive, durable landscape that can withstand the heavy pedestrian traffic

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Jenn Nawada helps a homeowner deal with a well-trafficked corner of her property. Neighborhood students are trampling the grass while heading to the local bus stop, and dogs have come to frequent the yard for their potty breaks. Jenn knows just what to do to transform the space into a hardy walkway for all to enjoy.

Time: 5 hours
Skill Level: Beginner

Shopping list:
Spray paint []
Small boulders []
Stepping stones []
Butterfly bush []
Shasta daisies []
Panicle hydrangeas []
Boxwood plant []
Thyme []
Hens and chicks plant []
Geraniums []
Starter fertilizer []
Mulch []

Sod cutter []
Shovel []

Steps for designing a high traffic landscape
1. Mark out the location of the new garden bed area with some spray paint.
2. Strip out the existing grass using a sod cutter.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Stage your plants.
8. For each plant, dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the pot of the plant.
9. Remove the plant from the pot. Sometimes gently squeezing the pot will help remove the plant while keeping the root ball intact.
10. Tease the root ball of the plant gently with your fingers to loosen them up.
11. Place the plant in the hole and add starter fertilizer.
12. Backfill the hole with soil. Leave a bit of space ontop to make room for the mulch.
13. Once everything is planted, cover with mulch.
14. Water the plants.

Where to find it?
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 stoneyards 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. [].

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About Ask This Old House TV:
From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. Ask This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.

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How to Design a High Traffic Landscape | Ask This Old House