What should I plant in this border??!?

ahaynie(z6 UT)February 20, 2007

After almost 2 years of living in this home I'm still at a loss as to what to plant in the border next to our driveway and going up to the front of our house. There were rose bushes planted in this border but we removed them (they looked like a jungle). What would you plant here? It's about 18-24" wide and extends about 30 feet down the driveway then up to the house. Would you keep the plants small (as in heighth) or vary the heighth? Our driveway is narrow so I don't want it to be too much because it might get stepped on a bit and we still want to be able to get out of our cars. But I do want it to look nice (of course). Any suggestions?

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Have you thought about putting in some rocks w/ cascading plants like thyme; something that would be okay to step on. Also dep. upon your climate, some shasta daisy's, or creeping phlox or maybe some ornamental grasses. Here's a url for what I was thinking. ( just googled rock garden)

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 12:51AM
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Have you thought about making the border wider? Plus, usually the soil next to the driveway is compacted and relatively nasty.

Anything you plant in such a long, narrow strip is going to look pretty skimpy and/or cramped, imo. And as a practical measure, do you have space on the other side of the driveway for shoveling snow?

Personally, I'd probably make it a bit wider, with a gap of stepping stones so you can go to the yard. Then, make the front border extend to connect to the tree, so it looks more connected.

Or, you could put pavers next to the driveway as an edging, and put plants in front, again connecting the border to the tree. Maybe even going around front again to create a sitting area?

Try getting a copy of Gordon Hayward's The Welcoming Garden for more ideas...(my library had it).

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 11:30AM
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ahaynie(z6 UT)

I would like to make the border wider or even remove it completely but I'm not sure I can talk my husband into that much work. That's a lot of the reason the border is empty up to this point- because we keep thinking of putting pavers in it instead (at least up to the top of the driveway) but I've decided that I just need to plant something in this border so it looks nice instead of sitting empty. I do like the idea of a rock garden (I just have to get my husband to get the rocks). Any other ideas of specific plants I could plant?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 4:58PM
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This probably isn't what you want to hear, ahaynie, but I'd either:

a. Plant a shovel in there and make the border about 3x wider, or

b. Rip it out and add sod up to the edge of the driveway.

A planting strip that's only 18" wide while stretching 30 feet long is going to look awkward and out of proportion to its surroundings. Any plantings will just call attention to its dimensions, and not in a good way.

You'll end up with a skinny row of "soldiers" marching one by one down the edge of the driveway -- typically a hot and inhospitable place to plant anyway, especially if they're getting stepped on too. Honestly, I think it'll look ridiculous, no matter what you plant.

If you're truly concerned about whether the driveway's too narrow to be fully functional, sod the border over so that you can easily walk on it. If not, dig that border out to 5-6' wide.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 7:45PM
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ahaynie(z6 UT)

You're right, it's not really what I want to hear but I really appreciate any feedback that anyone has since I am at a loss as to what to do. Truthfully, I would love to take out the border up to the edge of the driveway but realistically we have so many other projects on this house to do it's probably not going to happen anytime soon. But in the meantime I would really like something to plant here so it doesn't look so bare.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 12:35AM
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It isn't my strong suit to do a fancy cost analysis, but Â

If you are going to do a row of low growing perennials and/or a mixed planting that would be a "rock garden", then there is a cost involved.

You want short plants, so you will need at least one every 12 inches or so. Right now, I'm not commenting on "soldier rows" and actually how they will look, just the desire for some sort of quick coverage. So that means you will want to pack them in there. You are wanting perennials? Then you might need 30 to 40 plants? And you want a quick answer? Then you won't be buying the smallest sizes or mail-orderingÂ

You might be able to get some type of thyme for $5.99 per 4 inch pot? Other heat tolerant sedems etc. would be pricier. I am really guessing here, but if you want to plant this, amend the soil, incorporate attractive rocks here and there, and care for this 30 foot border in the blazing heat, then it could cost you a minimum of around $300Âand it might be much more. Someone please chime in about thatÂI'm using rough figures based on my region. It just doesn't take that long to spend the heck out of several hundred dollars for decent perennials, even ground covers. SoÂ

In my opinion the border is way too narrow and the cost, labor, and potential for a disappointing outcome far too high. Lawn may be your best bet and you don't have to go the sod route. Only downside is that your best season for putting in sod or seed is probably the fall. This summer plant "pretty flowers"Âlots of pretty flowers. What I mean is annuals, which will sort of test your willingness to tend a perennial border. Annuals are inexpensive; I can't suggest what might work for you, but choose heat tolerant varietiesÂ


    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 8:58AM
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Brent_In_NoVA(z7/6 VA)

At my previous house I ripped out the shrubs (yews I think) along the driveway and planted perennials in the bare dirt. After living with this bed along the driveway for 5 years, I wish that I had converted it to grass. It was such a pain to get in an out of the passenger side door.

If you really want to experiment with this bed, then I think that the suggestion to use annuals is a good one. You could also try growing annuals from seed.

- Brent

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 11:16AM
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If you really want to plant something, I agree with the idea of trying annuals to see if you like how it looks. And maybe put some sort of stepping stones at the areas where you are most likely to get out of the car.

I'd probably go for something low-growing so it doesn't look too gawky, and more blends into the lawn. Tho, you could try some taller things to see how you like it - or don't like it.

(I recently moved, and I've got a narrow strip between my garage and sidewalk, and can't afford to move the sidewalk right now. For this year, I'm doing some allysum, and maybe some millet as taller accents, to see how I like it.)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 11:49AM
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It wouldn't cost a dime to remove the concrete border keeping the grass out and let it grow in. If you were in a bigger hurry you could even take plugs from your lawn and fill it in even quicker.
It is to small and will look funny but I like the creeping tyhme idea most of all. You can grow it from seed and spend $10.
Two ideas, no husband or dough required. I do like cheap.lol

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 2:35PM
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Blueberries are my favorite thing to plant next to driveways... makes it very welcoming when you walk up to the door.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 3:30PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Blueberries might work where the previous poster lives, but they'll die in ten minutes in the blazing heat and alkaline soil of Utah.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 4:10PM
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