Help me finish the design of my new South FL landscape!

Relleum_April 22, 2012

Over the next few weeks, I will be finalizing the landscape to my new home. As you can see from the pictures below, there is still quite a bit of work to be done.

My wife and I like a very clean look, and we're not to fond of landscapes that cram as much foliage as possible. We plan to use a large amount of mexican beach pebble and river rock, but are having trouble incorporating color into each scene. I've prepared questions and comments on each image, so hopefully it will be easy for all the green-thumbed experts to chime in and help this newbie out!

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Some poster tell me,they are often waiting.So I try to answer quickly everytime.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 9:20PM
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    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 9:31PM
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Thanks, designoline6. However, I was looking more for advice on specific plants, along with techniques on balancing color and shrubs with the amount of rock we will be using. Using the showoff website doesn't really give me the specifics I need. I'd much rather encourage a discussion rather than trying to modify the original comps I created.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 9:56PM
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Concrete and Perlite pumice make stone\rock,have water-holding capacity well.Sustainable can try.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:44PM
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    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:48PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

If you are in zone 10a, you should select higher quality palms than Phoenix roebelenii.

Photo #1 -- Okay...

Photo #2 -- Phoenix sylvestris is perhaps one of the nicer of the Phoenix palms, and it will not object to the harsh planting conditions you plan to give it. (Your photoshopped representation is a banana.) Summer annuals? Not the most viable option in those conditions -- full sun, lots of hard surfaces.

Photo #3, front yard left. Bougainvillea -- where I live, it grows to tree size with 4-inch thorns. Is that the look you want? Identify your variety. For the space you have allocated it should be a dwarf or prostrate form such as 'raspberry ice'. Phoenix roebellenii -- why not try something nicer? Chamaedorea radicalis? Dypsis onilahensis? Change it up with a multi-trunk fan palm? If you tell me where you live, I can hook you up with a palm specialist. Stone placement -- can you get a stone with more height? Stones should be partially buried to look natural. Those could be okay if placed deeper, but 2 is bad feng shui.

Photo #4, lackluster, well, yes. Large-leaved foliage plants could hide a lot of bare earth. Or whatever the quintessential Florida groundcover may be -- Liriope? Ophiopogon japonicus?

Photo #5, courtyard. You need something really tough here. Can you stand Manila palms (Adonidia merrillii)? They will survive there. Alcantarea imperialis bromeliads would be stunning.

Photo #6 Pool: Do you want to obscure the view? Bougainvillea will provide you with a volume of litter in the pool. If you want privacy, Dypsis lutescens, or "Areca palm". If you want simple greenery, and short, something else. Bougainvillea is not especially pool-friendly.

Photo #7 pool zone 1: Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. But seriously, I like the foxtail asparagus ferns. Remove the bricks. Use a spaded edge on the grass. Add some epidendrum orchids for color. Get a boulder that will have some presence, or multiple larger stones. Hibiscus can get huge and each flower lasts one day. Ask yourself if that is your desire.

Photo #8 Pool zone 2: repeat pool zone 1. No bricks. Bed shape is "okay".

Photo #9 Lather, rinse, repeat.

More interesting palms would make the scene a lot more exciting. Call Jeff Searle, he will fix you up.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:05PM
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catkim: This kind of advice is exactly what I need.

Photo #2 -- I really wanted to use a Canary Date Palm, but there's just not enough room. At 3-4k for a 25 year old with a respectable trunk, they aren't easy on the budget either. Phoenix sylvestris was chosen because I like the look and heartiness over the Medjool.

Photo #3 front yard left -- Bougainvillea will be trimmed regularly to stay small, but I'll confirm what kind I have (pretty sure it is dwarf). As for the Phoenix roebellenii, I thought they were nice :) They are popular here in South Florida, but I'd love to try something more interesting. I'm in Broward County, so if you have a Palm Specialist, please do tell!

Photo #4 -- Even with a river rock border and some ground cover, I feel that this area needs a boost. I was thinking to incorporate Plumeria pudica and Strobilanthes dyeranus for color, but there may not be enough shade. A giant aloe or something of that nature could help to fill the large gap, without overcrowding. I'm also planning to extend the Podocarpus dwarf in they courtyard entryway across the lower wall.

Photo #5 courtyard -- Not sure if I want palms in there, but I love the idea of Alcantarea imperialis bromeliads!

Photo #6 pool -- The idea was to keep them trimmed and controlled on their own trellis, so as to provide color but not obstruct the view. They are far enough from the pool that they won't be a problem.

Photo #7 pool zones -- I agree with you, the foxtail ferns are my favorite part. Great suggestion with epidendrum orchids (I'm looking everything up as I read), but where would they be positioned? I might take a boulder from front yard left and bring it here. Hibiscus is very pretty, and I think it can work somewhere on the landscape (maybe not here).

Thanks again for your opinions. How do you feel about river rock and mexican beach pebble? These are very popular with some of my neighbors, but the higher end mansions in the community don't use as much.

Please email me more details of your contacts. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:15AM
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Here is a sylvester date palm that I used as reference to draw the "front yard centerpiece". I thought I was fairly accurate!

Here's a beautiful flower setup with ground cover in my neighborhood. I don't know what flower this is, or how long it lasts. I just know that it's beautiful, and I want to incorporate it in my landscape somewhere. Also, the ground cover is pretty awesome (unidentified).

This magnolia is beautiful, and even more majestic at night with some up-lighting. This might work well on the left side of my house, assuming I can find one that looks this good (most don't, and I'm not sure if it is the variant or just upkeep). Also notice the lack of river rock.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:45AM
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The flower is new guinea impatiens. It is beautiful but is seasonal in our heat.

I actually have an area with the epidendrum orchids and foxtail ferns, so look back a page or two and catch the repetition thread if you'd like to see how they might look. I have them with mamey crotons in my yard. I'm in western Palm Beach County.

I agree with catkim on the robellinis. I find them ugly, but to each his own.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 10:57AM
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I see lot of isolated, individual (accent) plants... including many of the palms. This creates a disjointed looking landscape. It'd be much better if "like" things (except occasional specimens) were grouped together and worked as part of the larger whole. The goal should not be to have as many different things as you can fit in.

On the river rock and beach pebbles, I have seen these used beautifully... every stone placed like tile. I've seen them dumped and raked out, which looks atrocious. I would only use them where you plan on creating a real statement with them, not just using them like mulch. Second cat's comments on the boulders. Sitting on top of ground they look like borrowed items from the mini-golf course. Properly buried (even if only by plants) they look natural and fine. The boulders will look better used in groupings than they will scattered about as individuals.

Seems like at the left of the drive, you'd want some screening between you and neighbor. Filtered screening seems fine. Doesn't have to be solid. Unless it was a massive cluster, the Robellini will eventually fail in achieving this. If the Bougainvillea will be kept as a "poodle" I can't see its contribution. With the rocks, the overall picture I'm getting is separate objects not working together to achieve the primary function. I'd lean toward moving plantings away from the edge of drive and toward the lot line for a less claustrophobic result.

At the back, I can't envision a positive outcome with the Bougainvillea on the fence. I think you should show where you expect the foliage to grow and what it will achieve. Seems to me that it will break up the view when framing it (overhead and/or at the sides) would be a better approach.

At pool Zone 1 it seems like too much crammed in. The bed shape does not seem worked out to optimum, but your photo is too close up so can't say more about it. Need to see what's around it, especially to left. The brick "surrounds" in the plant beds do not look good at all. They look like left over construction materials that someone hasn't gathered and disposed of.

The bed shape (pool zone 2) seems awkward and pinched. A fuller shape would seem better. I think you are over-killing on the amount of stuff you're trying to cram in. A simpler arrangement would have stronger effect. A surround of foxtail fern around the palm, flanked by annuals would be colorful and plenty. I'd find another place for the Arboricola, brick, stone and Agave. I'd not plant any more palms right on the edge of paving. If there's going to be a bed, the "tree" should be comfortably in it, not right at the edge as if it's trying to escape.

Will comment on the front later.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 11:58AM
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You asked for Broward Palm recommendations- you can't go wrong with Jeff Searle. I've linked him below.
He will have an extensive selection of palm species for you to choose from. The site says not open to the public but they have open houses very often and are quite active in local plant shows and exhibits. He does landscaping as well.

And you didn't ask, but if color and no maintenance is a goal I would recommend at least a few bromeliads.
These are Aechmea blanchetiana, take full sun, and are gorgeous every day of the year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Searle Bothers Nursery

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 2:39PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Relleum -- I see cearbhaill already gave you the link to Searle Brothers Nursery. Don't hesitate to give him a call, Jeff really knows landscaping and palms in Florida.

The bromeliads shown above are an excellent suggestion, very easy to care for, and you can find an even deeper orange color if you like.

Along the fence beyond the pool, constant trimming of the bougainvillea will work, but it might be easier to select something more naturally compact. Crotons, perhaps? Dwarf plumbago?

I like your photo of the New Guinea impatiens and the groundcover, a nice neat look and no dirt. Nicer than lots of rocks, but just my opinion.

Your last photo with the magnolia -- yes, it's pretty, but that with the conical evergreens feels odd to me mixed with the more tropical look you already have going. Just my taste.

You have a great start on a pleasant garden, and I hope you are satisfied with it in the end. Be sure to post photos of the finished product, I'd love to see it.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 3:24PM
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I know you're looking for corroboration of your already underway scheme, but I think it's at odds with your statement that "My wife and I like a very clean look", As I look at the right half of the house, I see a collection of undersea creature-looking plants that don't seem to be working together.... as if they're a display of curiosities. They're at odds with each other and the architecture. I find the lower branches of the branched palm disconcerting. Not against the branching, but just against it being permitted that low and in front of the windows and first floor. Again, love the Mexi beach pebbles and all that, but looking at the overall picture I think you have a fairly busy paving. The pattern is heavily "textured" and it has the contrasting trim band. It's fine, but adding river rock and beach pebbles next to it is going to be a buzz of tweed-like patterns in close proximity. Plus, you have the roof tile...another strong pattern. Adding the pebbles and river rock is cramming too much variety and not enough continuity in the overall picture. Think about those old guys that wear plaid pants with a different style plaid shirt. Not pretty.

I would consider berming the Sylvester palm area slightly. Though I don't show it, I could also see the whole island being covered uniformly in a ground cover. And below the Oak, too.

I didn't show it in either picture, but at the left where the palm is by the garage, I'd consider adding two more to that group and make it a trio. They could go in the island area I mentioned earlier.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 4:25PM
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Wow, so much invaluable advice. I'm learning every time I come back here to read the comments.

Yardvaark -- regarding corroboration - on the contrary! I think that my current scheme is fundamentally flawed, and that is why I wanted to reach out here before we get too far in the wrong direction. I say "my wife and I like a clean look", but that doesn't mean we've achieved it by any means. The back yard was arranged by my new landscaper, and I honestly think he just packed everything in and hoped for the best. My wife hates it. I know now that I have to be active and present in every detail, otherwise this won't turn out like we want. Believe it or not, I already had him return about 10 crotons that he tried to stuff in across the pool zones!

I like your idea and diagram of foxtail + annuals, but do you think there is enough room to wrap around so wide. We don't have too much yard back there, but we still wanted to create an enclosing type effect.

And funny that you mention a trio of palms on the left side of the front yard; that used to be the setup over there, but one died and I decided to move the other to the right side to balance things out.

catkim -- I think you are spot on with the magnolia. There isn't enough room to create a proper scene with it, and I want to stay away from cramming a whole bunch of things that don't necessarily go together.

cearbhaill -- yep, definitely going with bromeliads in the courtyard. I think they will look great, and I don't have to worry about them dying off in such a confined, shaded space.

So do we all agree that the sylvester date palm is good for the center? At least there is one thing that I can resolve in my head...

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 6:03PM
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An earlier comment made me think you were mainly looking for reinforcement of the current work. Unfortunately, a lot of so called design is about plant sales. My apologies about any misinterpretation.

"but do you think there is enough room to wrap around so wide?" I'm only giving you what a possible solution might look like. The area is somewhat sloping and I have no measurements so the details must be worked out on plan or on site as to exact measurements.

Catkim IS right about the Magnolia if you want another opinion.

In most circumstances, one palm looks lonely. Three palms look happy. The one genus that can pull off lone palms without too much trouble is Phoenix, of which Sylvester is one.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 8:14PM
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I would urge anyone looking at planting palms to ensure that the varieties they use are self pruning, especially if they get to any size at all, and double especially if they have thorns like the robellini and syslvestris. Sure you can do it yourself for the initial years but those sessions in long sleeves crawling around in that mess gets to you after a while and many people seem to react badly to the wounds in the way of infections. When they are small they are a yard hazard to people and pets and when they are large they are a pain to prune. And once you are up there the tendency is to over prune so you won't have to do it again so soon and that isn't good for the tree.
The alternative is paying people, and if you like a very tidy and neat landscape that will be every year.
And of course the taller the tree gets the higher the bill.

Just food for thought :)
I started out with all manner of exotic palms and by the time I moved away in '07 I had replaced most of them with self pruning varieties. Mine was a more modest property so Adondias, Wodyetias, Ptychospermas, Dypsis, Carpenterias, and Hyophorbes were my go to species.
You may need something larger- I am not a design person so cannot speak to that.

You have so many plant and palm shows available to you- go to some and check out all the alternatives because there are many.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 9:46PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

cearbhaill has a good point about trimming palms. Self-cleaning palms are so much easier. I should think you could grow Clinostigma, either savoryanum or samoense (warburghii) in your location. Fast growers from a relatively small (and inexpensive) size. The thing is, I always think of Phoenix as cold-hardy palms, and you have so many more choices where you live. One I would caution against, if cars are to be parked underneath -- Roystonea regia, or Royal palms. The fronds weigh around 70 lbs. and when they fall, they can do some serious damage.

This Clinostigma samoense was planted January 2010 from a 5-gal. pot:

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 11:31PM
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What do you think of this for the front centerpiece? The idea is to use all the stone from the back to create some elevation here, but still have some ground cover to shape the zone.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:17AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

I don't think that is "designed" so much as "using up materials I have laying around". The circle doesn't relate to anything else in the front. Your other beds are more free form, with the large stones, for example. In contrast the circle looks more formal and uptight. For the garden to hang together, consistency is important. Even if you insist on using the stone to gain height, the proportion of the circle feels too small. Again -- my subjective analysis.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 1:50PM
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Where's the picture of "all the stone from the back"? I think I am on the same page with Catkim here. "Using up materials" that are left over is ONLY good, when something good can be created of it. Here, the raised planter cylinder seems to be of a different flavor than all around it. The planter itself is pinched and looks much too small for what the palm eventually will become. A gentle berm would look better and be less trouble. Also, the bed edge is too wiggly. It looks gimmicky. If there's a lot of stone, please show a picture of it and maybe you can get a suggestion for what to do with it.

Cat, is that you holding up the palm? If so, I deem you a hottie!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 2:26PM
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Pool zones 1, 2, and 3 all have two layer half circles of brick-like stone. Since it is pretty unanimous that it should be removed from those zones, then I'm looking to reuse it in a different configuration; perhaps all in a single installation. At 30 cents a pound for 800 pounds, it was close to $300.

At this point, I am more confused than ever. I have quite a few materials - bougainvillea, weeping hibiscus, yellow hibiscus, brick-stones, giant stones, etc. that I hope can be used effectively somewhere, without having to start from scratch. I have the ability to rearrange nearly everything, but throwing all this stuff out is (hopefully) not necessary.

First let me say that I am not spending another dollar until I have "gardenweb approved" plan for at least a few zones. But if I were asked today what I think I'd be buying, it would be:

  • 2 matching palms for the front yard left, to create a trio.

  • sylvester date palm for the centerpiece

  • bromeliads for the courtyard

  • agave, because I love it. (as soon as i know where it can compliment a zone)

  • epidendrum orchids for the front yard right

  • lots of various ground cover

  • summer annuals

The most helpful advise now would be suggestions for where usable inventory can be used effectively, and how to combine it with the list of potential new inventory.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 3:32PM
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Pretty good job of creating your list, so far, of materials to acquire.

You're saying there is 800 lbs. of "stone" but you're showing us pictures that reveal a total of probably 50, or fewer pieces. That's not enough to build anything meaningful. If there's more, you need to reveal the total quantity and give some information about it. How many pieces total (best estimate)? What are the piece dimensions? We can't imagine something out of thin air.

It would be helpful (to you) if you respond to the ideas and questions that are given. Otherwise, we're just hanging and wondering. (I didn't know until now that you agree with adding two more palms to make a group. The only thing you said was that it used to be that way.) I've made other comments and suggestion, some via photos, but I have no idea what you think of them. If you don't say anything definitive, I presume an idea is rejected. If you don't respond to the questions and suggestions, then the progress grinds to a halt as there's little point in discussing ideas that are presumed rejected.

Also, I suggest you post an inventory of what plants you are looking to re-use, their sizes and quantities. And remember, we can only see areas that show up in photos.

"...until I have "gardenweb approved" plan..." This is the part--a drawing that shows where the plants will be installed--that is lacking and we can't do. If you were creating this--even in rough sketch form--and offering it for comment, and giving feedback on the comments, it would speed the progress.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 6:25PM
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Believe it or not, I thought I was commenting/answering everything. I'll go back and meticulously address all suggestions.

Here is the items list, along with their current location:
- spiral topiary x 2 (garage)
- weeping hibiscus tree x 2 (front yard right)
- multi-ball topiary x 2 (front yard left)
- blueberry flax x 6 (pool zone 1)
- foxtail fern x 10 (pool zones)
- hibiscus Yellow (bush) x 6 (pool zones)
- natural bricks (10"W 4"H 4"D) x 50 pieces (pool zones)
- large boulders x 5 (front yard left, center)
- 3 trunk robellini x 2 (pool zone 1, 3)
- unidentified palm x 2 (back yard zone 2, 3)
- bougainvillea dwarf tree x 3 (front yard left, center, right)
- bougainvillea trellis x 3 (back yard fence)
- arboricola x 20 (pool zones)
- 10 bags of river rock
- unindentified shrub x 20 (planted across backyard left fence)

Most everything in the list is movable, except maybe the robellinis and zone 2,3 unidentified palms (I know, these are too close to the pool paving). I included a link to an album that has the property survey, current palm locations, and multiple photos of each area. There are also some detailed photos of the bricks.

I really appreciate your help. I see this would have been a disaster, had I not sought the help of the gardenweb community before finishing. I only wish I had done this sooner.

Here is a link that might be useful: Album of landscape

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 11:10PM
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This is a recap of all the ideas that have been stated so far:

  1. Despite the hatred for robellinis, they will most likely stay in the design. I don't mind them, and I already had my landscaper return one that he planted in the front.

  2. There's been a consensus here that the bougainvillea dwarf trees (3 of them) are not placed well. They add great color and beauty, so I'd like to keep them, I need advise on how they should be rearranged and/or grouped.

  3. catkim (and cearbhaill) mentioned bromeliads, which are great. The courtyard will contain two giant bromeliads. Not sure which ones specifically, but my wife and I like this idea very much.

  4. I agree that the pool zones 1, 2, and 3 are a disaster. These can be a blank slate, relocating everything (except for the palms). Actually, if the palms *really* need to move, then I'll have it done. But hopefully we can make it work. Yardvaark provided an alternate shape to zone 2, but I may be constrained by the size of the yard with that design. Perhaps with the album I posted, we can get a better handle on reshaping.

  5. catkim (and cynthiainsouthfla) mentioned epidendrum orchids, and we think they are beautiful and want to incorporate them. Just not sure where, but probably front yard right.

  6. cearbhaill mentioned Jeff Searle. I had a brief discussion with him; unfortunately he does not have a sylvester large enough for this design.

  7. I am not too interested in privacy or screening from the neighbor. With that being said, I still want to create a trio of palms on the left side of the front yard. I can do this by purchasing two more, or relocating the one from the front right (same kind), and then buying just one more.

  8. I agree that New Guinea impatiens and groundcover looks better than river rock.

  9. I agree with Yardvaark's assessment of a whole bunch of rock clashing with the strong patterns that already exist in the architecture. More and more my taste is maturing to clean and green, with sparse pebble usage. My wife reiterated to me the comment about old guys with various plaid attire :)

  10. catkim (and yardvaark) cautioned against the magnolia as yet another clash to the design. We will not be adding a magnolia.

  11. catkim cautioned against bougainvillea by the pool. We will leave them for now and see how it goes. Although, they look dead so it may be short lived.

  12. cearbhaill cautioned against palms requiring pruning. At this point, i'd be happiest with a great looking landscape, even if pruning is a pain. I'm willing to put up with annoying maintenance as long as it looks great and stays healthy.

  13. My latest photoshop of a round stone pedestal failed to pass gardenweb inspection (catkim and yardvaark). And rightfully so, because the criticisms were spot on.

  14. The 800lbs of stone is about 50 pieces, each approximately 10" x 4" x 4". These things are heavy, weighing between 12 and 18 lbs a piece. Hopefully they can be used somewhere, since I picked this variant out of four...

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 12:24AM
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Now that is MUCH better! No time now, but will comment tomorrow. Meanwhile could you provide a measurement from the left side pool to the fence (side for which I drew diagram.) Also, it's hard for anyone who hasn't been there to put the pieces together... how one area relates to the next. could you take a wide shot of left side of pool (take from opposite side of pool so we can see it all together.) Please post it directly on the thread. Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 3:50AM
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Here are the zoomed out photos you requested, along with the survey with every dimension you could ever want:

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:19AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Relleum -- Did you discuss landscaping with Jeff Searle, or only palm availability? I would have hoped it would have been a broader discussion beyond the inventory of a single item.

I agree with you, cutting the limbs off the Pandanus would be bad karma. I wonder if there is a way to encourage it to branch more? Is this where your aloe will go? Groundcover needed in that area. Can you grow Senecio madraliscae?

The two unidentified palms in back by the pool are coconuts, which would explain why they are listing at an angle. It wasn't the result of a hurricane; people like the curve in the trunk that results from the angled planting. Those 2 beds do need help. I should think using a mass planting of one kind of plant in a contrasting color to the green background would be most effective. Imagine the entire bed filled with the red/pink of wax begonias, for example. Or a mass of colorful neoregelia bromeliads. Ooooo, yes!

I wonder if you could use the stone bricks and river rocks to make a firepit away from the pool? Just a thought.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 3:29PM
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I just spoke with him about palms. He seemed a bit rushed since it was the end of the day, but I tentatively scheduled a visit to his nursery this weekend.

You're spot on with the coconuts; we had them planted at an angle because we like the curved effect. I actually had them plant those closer to the pavers than normal, so that was my mistake. The yard is so small, and I thought they would fit better if they were closer.

I've never seen Senecio madraliscae in the neighborhood, so using it if possible would be unique. If it is tough to keep healthy in my zone and conditions, then I'll most likely stay away.

More and more I'm liking the bromeliads. Thanks for turning them on to me. As for the fire pit, I don't think there's enough of the stone bricks. A firepit would be awesome, but it would be more of a phase 2 project.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 3:38PM
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I'm reminded why pictures that are not imbedded are so frustrating. After referring to one of the album pictures, the message I was nearly finished creating is now gone. Oh, well...

Catkim, not fair to invoke mysticism to justify Pandanus treatment!

I checked Senecio madraliscae in the Southern Living Garden Bible and it's not listed. Probably does not like our humidity. (Btw, I am in central Florida so not familiar with many So. F. plants.)

Pool zone 3, I believe that the bed should be reconfigured to eliminate the grass strip that runs behind the bed and in front of the hedge. By the time things actually grow, this strip would be squeezed out anyway. Too difficult to maintain and adds one more piece of visual clutter to the mix. Maybe at left side, too.

The plan you added does not jive with the photos. There are jogs in the pool paving not shown on plan so I don't quite know how much room we really have. In one of the photos it also looks as if some paving were added at left side.

Ideally, at both sides of pool, it ought to be some kind of groundcover. The ONLY thing you have of enough quantity is the 'Trinette' Schefflera, which makes a good shrub mass, but we don't need too much of something that tall and it would mean regular trimming to keep the height down. The foxtail fern could be used around the palms at the far end of pool.

The plastic edging around the palms at pool should go away. It's just more clutter.

You do not have enough "stone" to build something real that I can think of. The best use I can come up with is as an edging/mowing strip where the "bricks" are set flush at grade, side by side (not end to end) to edge a bed. This would only make 16 linear feet so it would be a one of a kind thing. Don't know where yet.

I have not yet looked at other plants to re-use for other areas.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 7:18PM
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In the beginning, I thought this thread was about making use of what could be made into something good, and getting rid of the rest. I didn't understand that the focus was on using pieces of a landscape somewhere, somehow. It seems to me that many existing "pieces" of the puzzle, if used, will only guaranty an undesirable outcome. There are many smallish, highly ornamental, cute pairs of plants (bougainvillia, topiary, pompoms, etc.) that beg to be used to flank a passageway. But there are not that many passageways that need flanking. There are plants in bad positions that need to be moved, but they are too big to move without a great deal of trouble or expense. Though there are many pictures attached to the thread, they are isolated shots that don't link areas. It's hard to develop a fluid concept of the site. Truth is, trying to make sense of the existing puzzle pieces would be an unpleasant job if I could be there doing it on site. And that would be much easier than trying to do it by remote. I think it was mentioned that it would be a good idea to return some items. I understand the difficulty and unpleasantness with that, but honestly, I think that is the best suggestion. What this situation really needs is a good designer who can make a personal visit, and a willingness of the owner to find another way to dispose of all the things that don't fit or that can't be made to fit without too much sacrifice. I believe the owner does want a finished product that's actually nice. But there only so much a person can squeeze in before the objects begin to work against him. It doesn't need more "objects" as much as it needs continuity and linking. This is not an attempt to say "I'm out." I'm just saying that the project is frustrating and I wish I could help you more, Relleum, but other than offering piecemeal advice, don't know if I can.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 6:12PM
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You've already helped immensely, and I thank you for that. I'm sorry you got so frustrated with it, as I was hoping that this would be fun for the enthusiasts on the board.

While I knew that I had a whole lot of stuff yet to buy, I didn't realize that my existing inventory was so useless, and that placements of larger items like palms were such an impediment. I almost wish that I framed this whole thread as, "Build from total scratch; what would you do?" Maybe that would have been more fun and productive, without the frustration.

I didnt get a chance to say how I liked your latest ideas about expanding the beds to integrate with the sides. Especially the one on the right. We will also be removing the plastic, since the original intention was for river rock. As for the 50 pieces of stone brick, I'm just going to remove them from the design until I have a solid idea for them. I'm all but certain I'll have to buy more, once we figure something out.

I'm actually printing out your diagram, and presenting it to my landscaper today to solidify the basic design. So thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 11:17AM
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Relleum, you're welcome, of course, for any help you've been able to glean from my offerings. Much of what I did was fun... but not trying to squeeze things in that don't really fit no matter how much hammering one does.

"While I knew that I had a whole lot of stuff yet to buy..." Actually, I think the difficult part of the problem is that you have so much to sell. Craigslist could be your friend here.

Btw, you don't have much flax, but it could fit in pretty easily. You'd probably need more of it.

For clarification, this is how I'm talking about using the stone pieces as a "mowing strip":

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Here is the near final design and plant selection of the backyard. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 12:24PM
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You're creating a gateway through which to view the grand vista to the lagoon. Seems to me it should feel balanced at each side. What's most obviously different is the predominant seasonal color areas. I'd match the right to what's on the left by using the two small groups at the left and move them over to the right. Reshape that bed like the left front one. Where you have the opportunity to do it in landscaping, simplify. It will be your friend. I like the Asian jasmine.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 7:53PM
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