Mailbox garden design focuses not only on the mailbox but on the space around it as well. Gardening around a mailbox will add curb appeal, but mailbox gardens can be more than just some plants trying to hide a mailbox. They are an opportunity to brighten up an often neglected part of a garden and enhance the front yard while tying this space into the rest of the landscape. How extravagant you get is up to you but consider the following before you begin planting:
1. Make sure you take into account US Postal Service guidelines:
- A mailbox should be at a height that is 41 to 45 inches from the ground.
- The mailbox back should be 6 to 8 inches from the front of the curb.
- If there is no raised curb contact your local postmaster for instructions.
2. Another thing to take into account is the view of other drivers and your neighbors:
- Make sure the plants you choose don't block the view of oncoming traffic or your own view when you exit the driveway.
- If your mailbox is adjacent to that of your neighbor, discuss your plan with them before you proceed.
3. Your plan also needs to conform to local ordinances and any homeowners-association covenants. It's far easier to check on these before you plant anything than to receive a citation and have to remove the plantings.
4. Call 811 to contact your local utilities and have them identify any underground service lines. Don’t forget your underground sprinkler system if you have one!
Once you’ve assessed the space it’s time to decide on your design. A simple plan of the mailbox area should suffice. Some things to consider in your plan along with the plants themselves are color, size, and height. Evaluate the soil type and select plants that have similar light requirements. When installing the plants, plant the tallest behind the mailbox with the shorter plants to the sides and underneath it. You can find all of the planting information on the plant tag.
Maybe you already have perennials that need to be divided or a plant that has outgrown its location and needs to be moved. Annuals, perennials, tropical plants such as Elephant Ears, and even shrubbery are all candidates for mailbox plantings. Try incorporating some of these into your design. Remember that plants in this location are often near the roadside and might have to contend with chemicals that melt snow and ice, the heat that radiates from the road or sidewalk, and perhaps even dry conditions. When planning the space, don’t forget to be considerate of your mail carrier. Avoid plants that have thorns or attract stinging insects.
One of the most common methods to enhance the mail space is with a vine. Perhaps a Clematis or Honeysuckle vine? Don’t forget to consider annual vines such as Morning Glory or Blue Hyacinth Vine too. Whatever you choose remember to plant it behind the mailbox and keep it pruned away from the door so the mail can be easily delivered. Whether you have a small space or decide to remove some grass and make a larger area, the plants need to fit nicely. Small space plants include ground covers or annual bedding plants such as Marigolds or Zinnias. If there are no overhead power lines in the area you might even consider adding a tree such as a Japanese Maple or ornamental Cherry Tree for some early spring beauty. You can also keep things very simple yet interesting with some showy grasses that wave in the breeze or a cornucopia of fall and spring-flowering bulbs.
Every gardening project should reveal something about your personality. A mailbox project is no exception. You can express your personal tastes while captivating people walking or driving past your home by creating a Mediterranean, English Flower, or desert-themed garden. Just make sure the plants for your theme will survive and thrive in the space with minimal intervention. Finally, add creative touches like a birdbath or create a more natural feel using mulch, stones, and pebbles.
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