Updated: Jun 23, 2019
Measure the area you want as a park strip to figure out how much soil and additives you'll need
Get a soil analysis, utility line check, and water check
Design park strip
Kill turf in the park strip area, till in dead turf, and remove all rocks and debris
Add soil additives and plant
Reduce weeding by adding pre-emergent herbicide and mulch
Maintenance plants by trimming and deadheading
You've finally settled into your house, everything has been put in it's proper place inside, and you finally feel like everything's coming together. You walk outside and you realize, you hate the look of your front yard and you really think it needs a change. Maybe you've lived in your house for 20 years and are finally getting around to fixing your yard up to something you could be proud of. No matter where you are in your landscaping projects this outline of park strip design should help you out, even if it only acts as a check list.
Where to start
There's a few things you'll want to with. First measure the strip you are wanting to turn into a park strip. So you can determine the number of plants and amount of soil amendments you'll need.
You'll want to contact the city to get a copy of any landscaping ordinances. Larger cities often have ordinances restricting residents on how tall your trees, shrubs, and plants can be, even what type of plants can be grown.
Next, you'll want to do a soil analysis. Contact a county extension agent for a soil sample packet or send a soil sample to your local university (if they do soil analysis), check around to see who does it. If you live near Utah, Utah State University does soil analysis for a fee.
Another option is to do a home soil test for free. All you need is to fill a quart mason jar with some soil, about a fourth of the way up, fill the rest with water and give it good shaking. The layers of the soil will settle at different rates allowing you to see the texture of the soil, giving you a rough estimate of the composition of your soil.
If you'll be using a sprinkler system, you'll want to do a water audit. Utah residents simply need to contact Slow the Flow and get a free water audit. You may have to modify your current sprinkler system though.
You'll want to get in contact with your local utility line location services. Here in Utah, Blue Stakes can help you out. You can submit a request online or call them at 1-800-662-4111.
At this time, start coming up with a landscape design. You can bring in a landscape designer or search for a template online. A good resource for Utah residents is Localscapes. They have several templates that work well for the Utah climate that can be adapted to needs.
The Good Bit
We then move on to actually creating your park strip. If the area is covered in turf, you're going to need to take that out. The most effective way is simply to kill that section by using Round-up or any other glyphosate based herbicide. It may take a second round of application, but wait 7 - 10 days before the second application.
Once the 7 - 10 days pass and the area looks dead, start tilling the area. This will loosen the dead roots, rocks, and anything else that was hidden below. Once done rake up all of the roots, rocks, and debris.
Now it's time to add in the soil amendments. This means organic matter (such as manure), top soil, coir fiber, anything your soil needs based off of your soil analysis. This is to prep the area so all the plants will grow the way you want them to.
If you created a design of your park strip before hand this part gets a whole lot simpler because most things should've been taken into consideration. If you didn't, keep in mind space between the plants, height of the plants, if/where the walk way will go.
Note on planting: If plants are placed too close to each other one plant may crowd out the other. We run into this problem at the nursery. Also keep in mind that no single plant will bloom from early spring to late fall. We encourage you to take into account that plants bloom at different times and the best gardens have plants that bloom at different times through out the year.
The Nitty Gritty
Now that everything's planted, you're done! Just kidding, there's quite a bit to do. To reduce the future weeding work, a pre-emergent herbicide can be applied. This herbicide doesn't harm anything that's currently growing, it simply stops germination. Adding mulch to the top layer will also help control the weeds and even retain soil moisture.
Getting the watering times right is also key. Most plants in your park strip aren't swamp plants, so figure out when the best times to water are and for how long.
Last thing is with every plant there is an inherent amount of care, one aspect that is overlooked is deadheading. Deadheading means removing the spent blooms. Deadheading is vital to keeping the plant looking pleasant, healthy, and in some cases, causes the plant to continue blooming.