Brick Garden bed w/another garden bed in front?

tpeilaJune 4, 2011

We bought a 1960's home with a 15'L x 5'W porch on it. Attached to that porch is a 12'L x 1.5'W brick planter. AND in front of that about 3' down is a 4'L x 4'W bed. I cannot seem to put anything in it that looks decent. I put flowering ground cover in the planter so we can see out of our windows from the porch. But the bed below is just a CLUSTER! There is a bluberry bush, a azealea bush, a hydrangea, daffodils, tulips, just to name a few. There are also some really tall (like 5') bulbs that have a red flower on them similarto a bird of paradise is all I can think of to describe it. Any ideas on what to put in here? I would really like to keep the azaela since it is on the far edge as is the hydranga. The blueberry bush is only a year old so I would like to keep it too if possible.

I was thinking of a japanese maple between the azaela and hydranga?


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Here is a picture of what I am talking about

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 1:19AM
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I think I'd treat the brick planter like a window box - just a REALLY big one.

With it being 1.5' front-to-back, you could have room for some trailing annuals to drip over the front & then shorter flowering annuals behind those. The hosta I would move to the ground just below where they are now, they will fill in that corner between the house & porch nicely, or your could move one of the shrubs there for a nice anchor and use the hosta in front of the porch bed.

The blueberry bush should be moved for a couple reasons:
1) Some varieties get to be 5' wide and 6' tall (or more).
2) You will probably want to have another bush for cross pollination
3) You'll have to cover them with netting if you want to get any blueberries - otherwise birds eat them all and leave purple presents behind.

For the walkway bed, you have a great opportunity to highlight some really beautiful flowers. You can use things that look great up close like poppies (interesting foliage until they go dormant) or heuchera (really interesting foliage) or globe thistle (echinops). I'd keep them all pretty short, though, with the bulk of the foliage at 18" or so and just allowing flower spikes to climb higher.

Along the edge of the walkway bed, consider something low and soft that would spill over onto your walkway. Could be Veronica, phlox, creeping sedum, whatever will enjoy the type of soil & amount of sun you have here.

First, though, I'd start with a print out of this picture and see what shades of green & what flower colors you find pleasing against the brick. Let that be your guide for your plant choices (along with the zone, soil, sun, and water requirements, of course!).

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 9:32AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Since the lower bed is only 4' deep, you'll have difficulty putting two rows of plants there. [I'd consider replacing and widening the walk; curve it out from the steps, or at least make a wider hardscape area in front of the steps. That would deepen that bed.]

I like pam29011's advice, except I have the sneaking suspicion your current walk isn't wide enough to have a creeping groundcover taking up some of its width.

Also, it looks like the planters only have the red facing on the upper part, so I'd want to hide the lower cement part with something evergreen. I'd probably put low shrubs there, but I tend to like shrubs in foundation plantings; ymmv. Something the height of the azalea would work. If there's a bit of room in front of the shrubs, I'd use a low groundcover there (I have some red-edged hen-and-chickens [sempervivum] that would tie in with the red of the bricks and shutters -- you can also find varieties with entirely red foliage).

Move the 5' bulbs, as well as any of the shrubs that approach the height of the planter; plenty of room for them to the left of the door, as the windows are taller there; make a deep bed there, and add shorter plantings in front of the tall shrubs.

I would consider something taller where the azalea is now, if you're allowed to hide the utility boxes.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 10:56AM
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Could the bulbs be crocosmia?

I wouldn't try a Japanese maple in that spot.

But, I'd try for some perennials/annuals to unify it a bit more. Some more mounding plants in the planter would be good--maybe nasturtiams.

Here is a link that might be useful: crocosmia wiki

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 4:12PM
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Right now, the front edge of your bed looks like there's lawn grass in there - I'd be looking for bigleaf plants (such as hostas, or bergenia) for the front, to make the difference from lawn clearly visible.
The single azalea looks a bit off-balance, I would either move it a little to the left or plant 2 more on the left side (avoiding equal spacing).
As for colors, your front door and the azalea don't look like a good match to me, but tastes may differ...

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 4:43AM
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Can you pave the bed that doesn't grow anything?

Widen the walkway and put the planting between the walk and the street.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 6:50PM
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