Create a Roadside Bed
Areas along a road can be especially tricky to create. Here’s a few things to consider when creating a road side planting bed.
Obviously, the road itself is the concern. The road and what it brings with it; namely dirt, snowplows and salt.
The photo here illustrates a few measures we took to deal with the road in this planting bed area.
The most obvious feature is the retaining wall. You can see how the driveway comes off the road on the left of the photo and down a slope. The existing slope that was there was pretty steep, so we took up part of that slope with a beautiful fieldstone retaining wall. The remaining slope would be manageable to plant and the mulch would stay in place and not erode away. Not only were those practical aspects considered, but the wall is gorgeous. There was an existing boulder outcropping, so our stone mason built the end of the retaining wall to end at the outcropping which made a very unique and artistic touch!
Up along the edge of the road, there’s a strip of fabric with crushed stone over it. This acts as a barrier to slow down any water at the edge of the street that would make its way into the bed and erode the dirt and mulch. It also catches sand and road dirt which tidy’s up the edge of the bed.
If you look closely at the base of the wall, a small ‘lip’ of blacktop was added at the base of the wall so that not too much water would make its way to the base of the wall and do any undermining. It is subtle yet effective in this instance.
Then the plants themselves were carefully chosen for the site. The plants are mostly perennials. This means that the foliage above the ground dies off each winter and it regrows in the spring. Perennials are a good choice because snow piles won’t be breaking their branches...there aren’t any branches!!
There are a couple of ornamental trees and a few shrubs which are a little further away from the road, so snow piles shouldn’t harm them. Lastly, the plants that were chosen are particularly tolerant of salt. Roadside beds may take a little more upkeep sometimes than other beds mostly due to having to clear out winter road debris and prune out broken branches, but you can definitely make this area impressive. And to be sure, this is the first area that people see when coming to your home, so first impressions and curb appeal are important in this unique planting bed area.