Please help with curb appeal

ebmcdFebruary 11, 2014

hello! We recently put in a fence and lined the inside with English laurel as we are on our corner lot and hope to get a little privacy as they grow in. Now WE NEED HELP determining what to put in front of the fence in order to soften up the look. I am fairly new to gardening (but we have a drip system ready to go to this area) and feel overwhelmed at the blank slate and pressure as our house is the entrance to the neighborhood. The span of the fence is about 120' around the entire house and we have about 12" in front of the fence. We live between San Francisco and San Jose (zone 9B) and while I would love something all white and lush (like white carpet roses) we do often fear drought. We would also love ideas for beds in front of house (see pictures), Any ideas? THANK YOU!!!!

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You could add more privacy.My design:

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 2:50AM
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What a pretty house and yard! Why hide it? You might enjoy interacting with the neighbors. I understand about privacy but maybe have a private area to the left side of the house? I can't really see over there but it seems to already have a hedge at the left border of your property. Here is something I cut and pasted about english laurel "Average Landscape Size: Fast growing to 12 ft. tall, 8 ft. wide, larger if untrimmed." So I am thinking you might have to move those little shrubs further from the fence, and maybe consider using some of them to make your private area in just one part of the yard. The fence begs for a cottage garden look, and I think herbs would do quite well and many of them are tolerant of less watering. In my zone, black-eyed susan and coneflowers do well with low watering. Everything will need water at some point, of course. You could even grow vegetables that look ornamental if you have the drip system in place, cherry tomatoes, Ichiban eggplant, peppers and the like. Maybe leave the laurels at one side if there is a busier street out of the two streets I see. All the best, Laurie

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 9:23AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Sweet allysum in lavender or white or mixed would be nice on the sidewalk side of the fence. It's low and pretty drought tolerant. Also, consider society garlic. That one doesn't need a lot of water, but is about 18" tall, clumpy, and has beautiful bluish, lavender flowers. Edible, too.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 12:54PM
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There are some low and very drought tolerant succulents that might work for what you want.

The picture is not good for foundation planting issues. Need one that is more or less square on to the house face. Wide angle, not panorama, too.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 5:00PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Your shrubs are planted way too close the the fence.

There is very little space on the outside of the fence. Unless you go very small, plants will be spilling onto the sidewalk, which may garner you complaints from your local municipality.

Try a mass planting of Echeveria 'Imbricata' on the outside of the fence. Easy easy to grow, and they offset (multiply) enough so that you can just buy a few, then split them and replant until you have that whole narrow strip filled. However if you have a lot of slugs/snails in your neighborhood, that isn't going to work. What you need in that tiny space is an edging type of plant. Perhaps reliable little clumps of Festuca glauca 'Elija Blue'. Easy, not expensive. A touch of blue would be nice with the white fence and brown house.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 5:12PM
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Thank you all for your help! Well the picture I posted was taken about 5 months ago (had a baby... life got crazy!) and the english laurel is growing in now, though I do agree it is too close to the fence.. it may be too late to do anything about it but keep it nicely trimmed! We plan to not let it grow higher than 4' as we are a corner house and dont want to block the view for the drivers.

Love the cottage garden idea, Laurie! Do you think we can get away with something sort of like this image? Climbing roses, salvia and sage? If so, how far apart should we put the climbing roses?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 12:19AM
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Oh that's gorgeous! Every plant will have a certain growth habit so it depends on the plant or the rose as to how far apart to put them. Most of what you buy should have a plant tag that tells you the details. Remember when they take these pics that garden is at the height of beauty. Some roses bloom only in spring, and others bloom throughout the summer. You have a long growing season so you should be able to enjoy flowers virtually year round!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 10:09AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

In your last photo, the roses are planted inside the fence and are poking through and tumbling over. You might best try the same thing, put your blue salvia inside and let it grow up, around, and through the fence.

I agree with Louisianagal, the photo shows a peak moment, and most of the year that garden is not nearly so showy. You will find more lasting beauty with interesting foliage or plant forms that will look good even when not in bloom.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 12:02AM
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