New plans and elevations... care to advise?

collins designApril 6, 2010

Hi again-

I am back with some better pictures. We've removed all the overgrown shrubs and the deck off the bedroom french/slider doors, dumped 5 yards of compost, and are ready to start buying plants. Hoping for your input!


house is in Maine, will be shingled and painted in light beigey-grey, sort of a coastal cottage look. We removed a large deck off the bedroom french doors, and instead it will have a simple railing across it ("juliette balcony"). Garage will have trellis with clematis.


1) Make front door more prominent (currently it is visually lost and unused). To that end, the recessed doorway area will be sided in a different material, and an informal flagstone walkway will lead up the hill to the main road. (Family uses side door, which is next to the garage door in the lower left.)

2) Low budget (aprox $1000) and low maintenance plantings.

3) All season interest re: spring flowering trees, summer grasses and perennials, fall foliage and fruit, fruit and red bark and shapes in winter.

4) Would love some edible landscaping to compliment backyard organic garden and fruit.. re: hybrid blueberry bushes.

5) Would love something with summer (sometime in june/July/Aug?) fragrance near the bedroom french doors.

6) Spring bulbs and something frangrant near the family entrance lower left (new porch to be built). Also- the oil fill is at the far right of that porch, behind the proposed crabapple.

So far, we're fairly set on using:

small magnolia on the SE corner as shown, Ann, Jane, Ricki, or one similar.

small crabapple on S corner. Local nurseries have recommended 'Tina'

hydrangeas x2, have existing to replant. Annabelle, Endless Summer type. I like the winter interest of the canes...

peonies, have about 6 or 8, after dividing existing, mature plants.

and the rest of the list, which so far do not have set locations, is:

Evergreen: fairly open, natural, narrow, not more than 8' H.. possibly Falce Cypresses like Gracilis, Filicoides...


Blueberry- hybrid types 3-4' high


Arctic Fire Dogwood

Cotoneaster and/or Bearberry underplanting the crabapple and/or magnolia

Cranesbill Geranium


Globe Allium

Spring bulbs

Tall grasses for initial height and winter interest

Here is a sketch of the house as seen from the corner of the two streets, BARE- no plantings.


1) What should go in that corner where the two arms of the house meet? I do not want to block the window, so it would need be about 4' wide. I feel like it needs something with a little height there, no? Evergreen? Other?

2) What should flank the front entry? Two shrubs of the same type? About 3-4' high? I was thinking small winterberry for the great red winter berries, but maybe they're too bland the rest of the year? I don't want it super formal... it should be casual, coastal, natural but also somewhat neat.

3) Recommendations for frangrant things next to the side door porch and the bedroom french doors?

4) Recommendations of which to plant where, heights, etc?

Here's the plan I am working with right now... open to changes!!

and a sketch with some of the above plants drawn in at near-mature size.

Thanks for your comments :)

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I like it. I'm not a fan of the same kind of plants that you are (knew that from your first picture on the other thread), but that has nothing to do with the fact that this is compositionally pretty darn good in my opinion.

This, combined with the original thread, is a good good good study to go along with Isabella's "Enclosure" thread.

I'm watching American Idol, so it makes me want to pull a Randy and yell, "Yo Dog, that's dope" ... because I think that means it is a good thing. (I'm new to the Idol thing - local girl is doing well)

Just be careful when laying out the walk on site to make sure that the curves are subtle enough that people won't short cut the path.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 10:00PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I like it but still think, from a practical point of view, you need a path from the driveway to the formal front door. Even if the front door is not the intended main door, it looks odd to me that here's no way to get there. I'd make a narrow, informal path connecting to the wider path to the side/main door so it's clearly secondary, but there. Perhaps on formal occasions you might want to use the formal front door but you couldn't without a way to get there from the main arrival point (the driveway).

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 8:30AM
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collins design

Thanks, guys :)

woodyoak- I do have an informal flagstone path cutting through the border right next to the side porch, did you see that? (Next to where I drew the Arctic Fire Dogwood). From a functional standpoint, that gets you into the lawn and could walk around to the front door (which is what we do now on the rare occasions we need to go over there.) Maybe I could lay some more flags in a much looser, "stepping stone" type pattern over around the crabapple and to the front door, if you think it needs that...

So----- these are the questions stopping me from planting now, do you have any opinions?
1) What to put on either side of the front door?
2) Do you like the two evergreens I drew, one in the corner and one next to the bedroom french doors? Any other suggestions other than Chamaecyparis? Could the one in the corner be deciduous... if so, what (needs to remain narrow but with some height)?
3)Can you think of something with mid-summer fragrance to plant in front of the french doors -which will be open then :)?

Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 9:06AM
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Coastal Maine, huh? Remind me what gental, warm zone that is?

And you are on the elusive, fragrant path? Specifically, summer fragrance?

I don't know. It somehow doesn't seem fair. You already have Laag doing expressive kudos ala American Idol imitations.

But I, too, will weep for fragrance in the garden ... I haven't yet broken my rose rule. Which is to have none in my own garden. Instead I "visit" roses in public gardens or the gardens of friends.

But I keep thinking that someday I'll meet a Franklinia alatamaha in person. It's supposed to be very fragrant, and very beautiful. It's also an American native that's extinct in the wild. What's not to love about this romantic thing. Blooms in July - August. But it's really a southerner ... Although one story I've heard about it is that it was originally from further north. I think it's listed as zone 5 to 8.

Anyway, grow one for me and I'll come visit you!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 1:13PM
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collins design

Oooh, that descripition was so intriguing, I spent some time researching it. Unfortunately the only commercial source I could find listed as hardy to zone 6. I'm zone 5 :(

I'm very interested in keeping old species alive (we have had some endangered breed chickens!) and the description of Franklinia is just so wonderful.

I'll ask at my local nurseries -they can all special order for me- but if it's only hardy to zone 6 I won't chance it.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 8:24PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I missed the path through the border - but I'd continue it around to the front door. It could double as the edging for the border along that side of the house. I just think it would look more 'finished' if there was a path to the formal front entrance.

For summer fragrance I think of peonies at the begining of summer and then roses and lilies. But I don't grow many lilies these days because of the cursed lily beetles! I find Regal lilies to be bothered a bit less than others but I find the beetles to be capricious - some lilies they make a major mess of and others they seem not to bother but I can't figure out any rationale for why they like one and not the other. You just have to plant them and hope...:-)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 8:24PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

If you want a lovely scent in summer and bloom try Clethra (Summersweet, Sweet pepper bush) will knock your socks off and blooms when not much else does. It will sucker and is a twiggy bush,growing into a thicket, but tough and easy to prune. I know it is hardy at least to zone 5. What about lilacs? A very tradional and sweet smelling shrub/tree. There is a mail order nusery called I think Foxhill that has all kinds of lilacs. Not the Miss Kim type shrub that just doesn't seem like a real lilac to me. Viburnum Calislii (Sp?) another great spring sweet smelling shrub.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 9:01PM
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