front of house flower ideas needed

lowjo1(5)May 30, 2011

Not sure whether to post to landscape design, perennials or annuals as I think they all apply. Sorry for repeat posts.

I'm looking for ideas on what to plant in the front of my house. Here are some pics with descriptions on what I think I need generally.

Here is a pic of the entire front.

Here is a pic of the right side. The ground cover is recently planted and is Wintercreeper. I'm waiting a bit before pulling the tulip stems. Shrubs are small globe arborvitae. Think I need some color here. What do you think?

Here is a pic of the left side. Some flowers here? Maybe small flowering shrubs?

Here is a pic of the triangle section on the left. These are Rugosa Roses. 3 of them. The large plant to the left is wild sage that I'm going to pull and put in the backyard. The only that will be left here here is the roses and the Bungleweed ground cover (that's almost done blooming). Ideas for here?

Here are the (overgrown) liliacs. Previous owner planted a species too large for here. Cut back hard every other year, but should probably be every year! Will trim after bloom.

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karinl(BC Z8)

Well, this being the landscape design forum, we tend to focus on the overall design and not on the specific plant selections, though some suggestions may be forthcoming. But overall, plant suggestions are best found at your local nursery, because the key issue is often what you can buy. We can suggest plants until we're blue, but if you can't get them, it was all for nought.

For me, there are too many wrong plants here for me to have too many thoughts yet of what the right plants might be. The tree on the left that appears to be planted about 4 inches from the house is a real detractor from anything else that might be good about the garden. The lilacs are, as you point out, too big for their space too, to the extent that they shut in your front door. And the rugosa roses might be good for the time they're in bloom, but they are rather limited interest, shapeless blobby things to be the keystone of your house's presentation to the public.

When you use deciduous plants for front yard landscaping (as opposed to for screening or whatever their other attributes are), the best ones to use are those that have some attraction other than bloom such as nice foliage shape or colour, or some specific form attribute that makes them attractive year-round. These all have undistinguished foliage and form. I don't know if the roses bloom for long enough to be worth their space. Even if they do, for my taste you don't have enough structure from evergreen forms to offset their random shape.

I don't know if you've stuck with the previous owners' plantings because you like them, or if you haven't thought of making more dramatic changes, but I'd do some shovel pruning here if I were you, and look for new shrubs before I worried too much about the little flowers. The perfect jewelry won't offset an ugly, ill-fitting dress.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 11:54PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Got chainsaw? I'd agree removal of the tree on the left would brighten your views considerably.

Beyond that, my first impression from the "entire front" pic is one of uniform leaf texture. If you could mass a few plants with, for example, very large upright leaves in a shade of purple, or arching strappy leaves in a shade of red, or very large, round leaves with a shiny surface held horizontally (I'm making these up), you would get more contrast with the existing plants. (Even your fading tulip leaves add a little contrast.) Mix it up a bit. You can get a lot of permanent color in the garden using foliage.

For inspiration, look at posts on this forum by bahia. Note the variety of heights, forms, colors, and textures in his photos.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 12:56PM
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