Design of Garden in Front of House

lawviolinJuly 7, 2012

I'm in need of redesigning my front garden....some plants didn't end up tall enough and other ended up too short...I'm comfortable moving plants around, especially since my mail box garden is in need of change (lemon sunset evening primrose is totally out of control and wrong for the mailbox garden)....Any questions, I'll be happy to answer. I look forward to ideas! Thanks - btw. this is my first time in the forum

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Here's a picture

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Are we to assume you own/rent just the one side of this duplex, since your pic shows mostly the one side?

Being that your pic of the house looks like it is a mirror of your neighbors, what your neighbor has done (or is willing to do), has a great effect on what you are able to do.

Seeing an overall view of the properties would likely provide better feedback.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 4:29PM
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I can get a picture like that - we don't match at all however....I do own the townhouse and I share the front with the other neighbor.....the only thing thats similar is the edging for the bed that we did so it was continuos

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 5:02PM
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I wasn't just referring to the landscaping but also the building itself. From the pic the following are same.

1. Siding & color
2. Brick & color
3. Door and color
4. Light fixtures
5. Railing
6. House numbers

The building structure may be the most prominent when looking at it from the street. Without being able to see the overall look, I could be making a HUGE assumption. Even with single family homes, a wider, farther away view is often requested.

Does the edging go from your side to theirs? Does the grass mirror onto their side?

If there is a tree or shrubs in the yard to take into consideration those that may give advice, will need to see it. From your pic, I see a lot of duplication between the sides.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Sorry - its so hot today, I just got a picture....

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 5:53PM
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I'm making the leap each of you is gardening your space independently.

You might have to get together to make this look like a garden and not a "house divided". Is the neighbor willing to add more/ are you willing to delete to achieve the look you want? I'd push for retooling the neighbor's space, frankly.

If you're only concerned with your side, I don't think anything you currently have is going to give you appreciably more height. Can't tell what the white bloomer is flanking the purple coneflower; that could be moved out of the back and replaced forward.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 6:20PM
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my agastache on the left side - I"m thinking of moving them behind the coneflowers and bee balm....thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 6:23PM
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If you are only interested in plant selection, someone may chime in but you will have to provide them more info. Zone, which side of the house we're looking at etc.

With a townhouse, I thought you didn't really have the ability to change the exterior but sounds like I'm wrong. If you can change the landscaping can you change anything else?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 6:26PM
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Its a townhouse in that its attached but there is no agreements or rules regarding the exterior. I live in zone 6 - Lancaster, PA and this is the eastern side of the home. The home pretty much faces directly east.

I am also interested in moving the plants around and removing plants that don't work with the scheme.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 6:33PM
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There might be some confusion here regarding the duplex/townhouse itself.

Are you the owner of "unit" 606 only? If so, then your neighbor owns/rents unit 604. That being the case, owner 604 might not necessarily want any external changes made to siding, door and trim colors - even to the garden.

That being said, juggling plants is something easily sorted out - juggling an attached residence is not.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 6:53PM
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Yeah - they own their garden and I own mine - I don't think they really want to do too much work their garden....they just had a kid and have limited funds and time....there's actually 5 units total - I'm smack dab in the middle of the has already changed their door color and each front garden is extremely different....

with that in mind - any preferences on how to move plants or add/delete plants to look the nicest?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 7:11PM
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From the photo it looks like your garden is made up primarily of herbaceous perennials. What does it look like in winter? Pretty bare and empty?

There is a very unofficial rule of thumb in garden design that encourages the planting of a front entry garden so that it looks as uniform as possible year-round. That means a good proportion of evergreen plantings - something that will give the garden a presence (and an attractive and tidy presence as well) in winter as well as the rest of the year. You can then accent these permanent, year-round plantings with more seasonal color, either from blooming perennials or flowering annuals.

And I'd have to agree that a single, unified design that encompassed both sides of the garden would be the most aesthetically pleasing. As it is now, it looks very unbalanced and no matter how much you do to improve your side, the viewer will always be distracted by the disparity of the appearance of your neighbor's side. Visually, it is always going to read as one garden regardless of who owns which half and is best treated as such.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 2:18PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

For plant selection/arrangement ideas, here are a few thoughts.

If you can't combine gardens with your neighbors to the right, I might put a punctuation mark at the edge of your side of the garden by placing something large there. Something that will occupy the whole space front to back. (Shrub rose? bleeding heart? other shrub? The specifics depend on your taste and your site.)

The front row of plants looks pleasing because you have some repetition of the same or similar plants. But the back row appears to be one of each type. I might opt for fewer types of plants overall and more of each type.

Building off what gardengal said, the front garden has to look good all the time. I don't necessarily think it needs to look uniform all year long, but it ought not have a prolonged spell of awkward, messy, or otherwise unattractive plants.

When selecting plants for a spot like this, each plant has to really offer a lot. When not in bloom does it just sit there and look green and leafy? Or does it have variegated foliage, cool texture, or some other redeeming feature?

Yes, the agastache on the left looks too tall for that spot. It would look better in back.

Your current plants look quite happy and healthy - so you are doing things right so far! :)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 6:31PM
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molie(z6 CT)

You sure do have a tough situation there with a shared front landscape and a neighbor who is not too interested in gardening.

To follow up on the previous suggestion of a "statement" plant that will fill the whole right side of your space, you could also consider a narrow upright evergreen placed in the middle (on the right of your half). An evergreen plant will create year-round interest and, if planted dead center, will kind of divide the front into two halves. Whatever shrub you put in, you could repeat its color and/or texture with a low-growing evergreen on the left side. For example, you could plant some kind of dwarf Arborvitae in the center and repeat its texture/color with a low evergreen on the left ---- or a narrow Chamaecyparis in the center with a low one on the left. There are so many wonderful dwarf evergreens/pines.

If you decide to go this route, do some research because "dwarf" for a tree could be 10-12 feet! You might want to visit local nurserys with some photographs in hand. See what's available in your area; look for dwarf plants whose color and form appeal to you. A reputable garden center should be able to give advice about what fits your needs and what will do well in your yard.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 1:58PM
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There are best designs that will create the best ways to manage to make your garden beautiful.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 3:23AM
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I have to admit this would make me crazy, having only one half of that garden to play with. Your side looks very good, except for the need to perhaps move the taller plants on the left side of the pic to the back and center (of your side). I think I would try (depending on your relationship with your neighbor) to get permission from the neighbor to re-work the garden into a more uniform appearance. I would go over for a chat, and say that I was re-doing my garden, moving some plants, etc. Or that I had purchased too many of a plant and didn't want to return them and ask if I could incorporate those into their side. It would be 100x worth it for the additional expense and work to have the garden more cohesive on both sides.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Mike Larkin

It would be 100x worth it for the additional expense and work to have the garden more cohesive on both sides. -


    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 1:13PM
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