Ideas for something tall and more bones?

sunnny(8)March 10, 2011

First, please excuse the mess but we are DIY both landscaping and also building a carport/storage at the same time. Did anyone tell me I was crazy???

A little bit about my plan - first was to use what I brought with me from our previous home, next to be viewed UP and OVER either way it's seen. Up over the taller things like the abelia and roses, etc. whether seen from the walk or from the bedroom windows. BUT, I feel like I need more bones, something big towards the end of the house or something tall for height. Some things I've wondered about are mop cypress, something tall (evergreen juniper?), a big old garden rose?? I've also considered some miniature juniper near the porch.

This area faces North and gets full morning sun and mid-day/afternoon sun with shade after about 4 PM depending on the time of year and the location in the garden. Our soil is like a giant sand box. We've ammended it with good manure and compost and organic fertilizer but I understand once sand nearly always sand.

Our next project is a flagstone path in the 'sand' area from the front porch towards the drive way. (Just past the camper). Can you help with ideas on which would look better with the flagstone path? Either grass on either side of the path for a soothing look and nice contrast with the house or enlarge the flower beds to meet the path? What would you do here???

I like a tame cottage garden look, not too cluttered but not formal either... maybe casual cottage. It will be primarily pinks and purples with some pops of color.

What I have from the left/back is: 2 abelia(which are planted too close together and need to be seperated and will get about 3-4 feet around and tall), several roses, (some antique and some modern tough) with 1 carypoteris behind (will plant 2 more with this one), phlox, 2 more abelia, purple cone flower, medium size grass, one gardenia (which I hear may not make it but I had to try) and at the far end a butterfly bush.

The camper was our home for 10 months while we looked at houses then built. We pulled it back up front a few days ago to be my moms vacation home while she's visiting from Maine next week. :)

In front from the left to right: agapantha, daylily, iris,lambs ear, a few lily, small grasses, more daylily and lambs ear, another row of agapantha, fall aster, and at the round end in front of the butterfly bush are 3 guara. I will plant several hibiscus near the guara as I like the looks of the different leaves and flowers together. I have seeds germinating to fill in such as shasta daisy, cone flowers, cleome and other things if needed but I feel it needs more 'bones', evergreen and something taller. I have a short white crepe myrtle which a friend suggested I plant towards the front of the narrow area.

The widest part of the bed is 14 feet. The narrow area is 8 or 9 but both can be widened.

I'd like to hear ideas and suggestions and THANK YOU in advance!


This is the before pic. We feel we've come a long way but still have SOOO far to go!

What we have now:

This is the 'long' view. The close bed will be mostly old garden roses and daylily with a few other things thrown in. The bed on the right is hosta/shade under several 150 year old oak trees.

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Besides,add evergreen rock,edible plants nice.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 10:11PM
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    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 10:41PM
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Ideasshare - thank you. I really like the color you added and I especially like the tall vertical cones in the front. I was thinking of something like that further up but YES this makes a nice statement here!
My flagstone path won't be that wide but when I showed this to DH we can add a small table and seating for 2 in that area.
Thanks so much,

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 10:41PM
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    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 10:43PM
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Sorry,upload are so slow,I can't post rose pic here again.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 11:17PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Don't feel you need to encourage Ideasshare! S/he is a crazy Chinese photoshopper.who unfortunately is often the first to reply to posts.

I think you're running into the classic conundrum between gardening and landscaping. In landscaping, the plants fulfill a specific function according to their size, shape, colour, foliage, etc. They are there for some purpose related to how the house looks, where you want privacy, etc. Landscaping is a big picture exercise where plant details don't matter much.

Gardening is where ypu nurture and enjoy plants for their own sakes, and for the sake of their details, which may be seasonal or otherwise fleeting - not for the sake of the overall impression that the plant collection will make.

So I think you're expressing frustration at having put in a garden but still having no landscaping.

Attention to hardscape is often the key to making a garden work as a big picture attribute, and what you've done in that regard is helping a lot here. Your beds are nicely shaped and clearly defined, your paths are wide and have a distinct presence.

From there, the decision to add evergreen "bones" should really depend on what is important to you about the space. Most people like an evergreen landscape installation on the public side, and don't mind having bare beds in winter because they enjoy watching their plants emerge and thrive in spring and summer. Certainly if you add evergreens to your beds you should do it with a view to how they will look when everything else has died down... mixing evergreens and perennials is not always an unmitigated success. I mean, think about it, what pleasure do you get out of a juniper in a bed in the back yard all by its lonesome in November? In other words, out there, what's the point?

But if that's what you want to do, I would suggest you actually forget about the perennials you have in so far and just do a nice arrangement of evergreens, so that you're happy when the perennials die down and let the evergreens shine.

But there is something to be said for having separate landscaping beds where landscaping matters, and garden beds that you know will die down in winter but look great when you spend time outdoors. I mean, again, how exciting is it to sit next to a yew on the patio in summer? You want something that is exciting to look at up close.

I hope that will help you figure out what type of plant you might want to put where.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 3:59PM
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Thank you for sharing what you did regarding gardening vs. landscaping. I had never thought of both sides and although I LIKE landscaping, it's gardening that makes my heart race. I like having some green year round but it's seeing my hosta eyes come up and seeing my seedlings sprout that make me HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY. So, I think I'll see what everything looks like in a year and then see what I might want to do. I still might put a juniper somewhere!!! LOL
Thanks for your input. It helps put everything into perspective.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 11:40PM
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