Foundation Yews

theresa2(z5)February 7, 2011

So I'm planning my front yard landscaping. I have a 1929 reddish brick tudor revival house with a low and narrow row of clipped yews spanning the front of the house. Many of my neighbors also have those same ubiquitous yews. Some neighbors have left them in place and planted shrubs and perennials in front of the yews to give their landscaping more depth and update the look. To me this look seems fine and I am thinking of going this route. I mean why remove them if in summer they are almost not there and in winter they provide warmth and greenery. Any thoughts?

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Well-growing and maintained Yews are great foundation plants, in my opinion. They're dependable, green year-round, and take well to shaping. They're not always the most interesting shrubs, but it sounds like you've got a plant to jazz things up a bit (in front). I'm with you on your reasons for keeping the Yews.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 12:46PM
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What is not to like?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 5:43PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

As long as they're trimmed to stay below the windowsills, I say keep them!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:34PM
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Yes, they are far below the windowsills. I'm glad you all agree that it would be OK. Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:51PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

What is making you think that you should maybe remove them?

My only caution would be to ensure you can still get to the yews to clip them - put paving stones in your deeper bed to get to them, for instance.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 6:06PM
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I'm worried that it might look as if I was too lazy to remove the ultra formal yew foundation hedge from another era before installing the new updated, less coifed, mixed foundation plants. If I'm going to spend the money and time, I want to do the right thing. Pulling them out later might be possible, but may be hard on the new plants, not to mention the design. Keep in mine I plan to plant a mixture of taller and lower growing shrubs and perennials in front of the yews.

My neighbor has a mixed foundation planting in front of her yews. Her house is also a tudor. She has sumac, boxwood and other shrubs and perennials. It's exceedingly attractive, but the front of her house is not as long as mine, so the horizontal effect of her yews is minimal if that makes sense.

I'll look at it all again come spring. I just wanted to see what others thought about it.

KarinL, for sure I'll make room for proper maintenance.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 9:00PM
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Leaving the formal background has an added bonus.It is a hugely unifying element in the planting which allows you to add a great deal of variety in front of it withouth the total composition falling apart visually.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 7:14AM
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Thank you laag, that's something that I hadn't considered. The idea that the yews will pull the composition together is by far the best reason for keeping them.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 6:48PM
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I was hoping you all might ring in to a question I have been mulling over since we are on the subject of yews.

I have an old red brick house on a city corner lot. I have to shovel the snow the whole way round. In the front of the house the snow has to be piled in the foundation planting area.
The shrubs that are there (arbivits) are splitting apart from the snow falling let alone what is piled around.

Will a yew hold up to snow falling and the being thrown around the base area??
I tought I would move the arbiv. to the back yard.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 12:58PM
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