How is my plan? Need more symmetry?

sherisgardenocApril 4, 2014

I want to go tropical on my large patio which is fully viewed through 12 feet of sliding glass in my townhouse living room. I purchased a plan which includes some of my favorite plants (except the nandinas heavenly bamboo because there is too much of it in my complex). I need ideas to replace the nandinas, and maybe even the draceanas.
I also wonder if the plan needs more symmetry or are small areas of symmetry O.K.? I really want to sit in my living room and think, "wow".
I would appreciate your ideas and comments as I want to feel confident before planting.

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We don't know the scale, but it looks like a lot packed into a small space. That's the trend in the profession (sell more plants) but personally, I'd want fewer things and more simplicity. Some of these plants get huge. While it might be fine looking when it's planted, I think some of these plants will be outgrowing their space fairly early on. I think it's better to give the plants some time to grow into their space.

Is the hardscape already done? If not, one thing I'd want is symmetry of the lower corners. Seems to me it would be better if they were both matching octagonal corners.

As far as symmetry of planting goes, I think it's nice at the gateway areas, but other than that, I think it's more important to have balance.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 8:29PM
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Thank you so much for your comments,Yardvaark! I've been wanting to go tropical (tired of succulents and eclectic). I was worried about outgrowing the space as so many tropical gardens around town now have the attractive part of the plant above eye level and you just see trunk (e.g. Tree fern and date palm). Most of the plants in my plan are one gallon, and a couple are fives.
The scale is 1/4 inch = 1foot. The curved corner on the left has an air conditioner, so no chance of symmetry with the opposite corner. As I look or walk out from my living room, it seems like the brick planters to the sides of the sliding glass door, as well as the planters on either side of the small garage door (opposite) should have symmetry or balance, but I'm not qualified to judge. I did ask for a lush wow factor, but was surprised that the designer included almost all of the many plants I mentioned liking, and then several more.
Since this picture, I've replaced the fence and torn out plants. More pics tomorrow. Thanks again for helping!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 3:33AM
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Personally, I generally prefer a degree of symmetry flanking passageways, but beyond that I think balance is sufficient, and sometimes, asymmetry is better. It depends on the overall factors involved and effects desired.

Of course, I don't know your overall goals and long term intentions for the space, but as I view the picture, I find myself wanting more open space in the central portion of the "room." Visually, it seems cluttered and many of the plants seem like obstacles to actually using the space like one would use any room. Kept more open, I think the new installation will be an improvement.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 12:24AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I'd suggest losing the Magnolia and repeating the Ensete ventricosum Maurelii, but only if you want two towering large leafed bananas in that space. I suspect you won't have enough sun to keep Senecio mandraliscae looking good, it will get leggy. Some other tropical looking plants to consider for softening effects would include trunking Chamaedorea radicalis, (get a male and female if you want the showy red fruit), Asparagus retrofractus and Asparagus 'Meyers'. Some more bromeliads such as Vreiseas or Aechmea gamosepala and nudicaulis would love the conditions. Perhaps hanging baskets with Sedum morganianum, Rhipsalis, colorful Neoregelias and Aechmea recurvata benrathii, or Aechmea 'Burgundy' to repeat the deep reds of the Abyssinian bananas. The Chinese banana, Musella lasiocarpa is more manageable for size than Ensete. Abutilons are great long blooming color accents for a tropical looking patio with dappled shade.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 12:49PM
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Thank you, Bahia! Lots of good information. Now I just have to look up all of these plants for pictures and a name I can pronounce. I wish I had dappled shade - my patio would be covered with vandas and tuberous begonias. Alas, all areas get some direct sun and some full shade for part of the day. The only partial is under the shade cloth of the pergola. Even that area gets a little direct sun unless the plants are hung so high you can hardly see the flowers. My vandas survive with a few burn marks.
I especially appreciate your comment regarding the banana, as I have my glider right in front of that area, and don't want big leaves hanging on my head. That's why I removed the Angel Trumpets. Maybe I should just put some old plantation shutters or iron gate against that wall.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 8:11PM
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Do you just not like Philodendron? My mother had some that were very nice and their air root thingys are interesting.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:38PM
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