Senior Citizen Friendly foundation planting

petuniaxyzJanuary 6, 2011

I had a tree service give me an estimate to take down an ailing dogwood that is in the middle of my postage stamp lawn. In addition to the tree I decided to have them take out the 28 year old dwarf hinoki cypress, dwarf Alberta spruce, Andromeda and yew which make up the foundation plants in the front of my home. The evergreens are too big to manage and it looks like shrubs are devouring the house. Years ago we were all advised to plant evergreens at the corner of our homes � now my neighborhood is dwarfed by these huge conifers.

I would like to get some suggestions for shrubs, grasses, and perenials that are senior friendly. I have too many ailments to climb ladder to trim shrubs and I need your advice on selecting some shrubs and plants that will stay small.

I live in zone 6 � my soil is clay. It is a south west exposure that will get full sun. There will be no shade once the dogwood is gone. The area is about 15 feet long by 10 feet wide.

I have a bay window flanked by 2 window wells in the front of my home to consider. My siding is blue gray.

I think my seasonal interest would be summer, fall and winter as I have a zoysia grass lawn that does not green up until May.

Your advice is welcome. Many thanks.

PS. Would limelight hydrangea and knock out roses be a possibility?

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It would help a lot if you could post photos :-) One could offer all manner of plant suggestions, however a visual of the situation would narrow down the very wide range of possibilities as well as offer suggestions for placement. Certainly the hydrangea and roses could be a possibility, but their season of interest is rather limited. For the front yard and especially at the entry, a more uniformly year round look is desirable and that generally leads to more evergreen plants. But there are also many excellent evergreen (or year round interest plants) that will stay small/compact or within scale without excessive pruning. 'Senior citizen friendly' can be more loosely translated to 'low maintenance' and that is often a major landscaping criteria for many homeowners, regardless of age and ability :-)

Including more specifics about where in zone 6 you are located is also helpful.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 10:10PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

It sounds like the perfect setting for junipers, notwithstanding my total ignorance of your zone. And maybe other kinds of dwarf conifers, as long as you can water enough the first couple of years to get them established. If there is a specialty nursery in your area (check with the conifers forum if you don't know) you should be able to get a nice variety of really slow-growing specimens that will like your conditions.

I think anything deciduous is going to be more work than evergreens. But as long as you choose smaller shrubs, as I understand these limelights to be, should be well and good - if they can take the sun.

Spring bulbs might also be a good thought.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 11:51PM
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Thanks Karin for your response - I am in Union County NJ. Deer are not a problem here, but an invasive like barberry is.

I guess I am thinking that if I need to sell in a few years that I would like the front of the house to be tidy and attractive.

The houses in the neighborhood were all built around 1940 and the newest owners have replaced their old shrubs with pom pom and spiral arborvitae that look really out of place with colonial revival homes.

Thanks again for your help.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 12:46PM
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