Ideas for front garden

eager_beaverAugust 1, 2011

Hello there,

I have recently taken up gardening and wish to revamp my front yard's flower bed, which lies in front of the windows. I has about 5 rose bushes, a Daphne (which looks very malnutritioned, two small Aloe plants and then a bit at the end with a layer of white stones.

It is about 3 feet in depth and 10 feet wide. I live in the San Francisco bay area.

I would like some ideas to make the area colourful and smell nice, with little maintenance. I also don't have a lot of money to spend.

I would be grateful for your input.

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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Maybe you could post photos, as well as provide additional information as to your location/climate, your style/plant preferences, how it gets watered, etc. The current mix of plant types sounds a bit disjointed, with varied watering and cultural preferences. I can't quite visual these plantings looking right altogether, and the white gravel seldom adds anything good to a garden design, in my opinion. Post some pictures and I bet you get more replies.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 3:36PM
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here is a link to the photo of my front yard.

Here is a link that might be useful: Front yard

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 4:55PM
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I really like what you have so far except for the aloe. It looks out of place with the roses.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 7:42AM
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You are right, it does look out of place. I thought it would look better if I let it grow but perhaps the other option would be to plant it in the back garden.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 11:39AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

One of the forum participants has said in the past that the way people photograph their yards says a lot about what kind of a perspective they themselves have. Your photo suggests you are thinking of that one patch of your yard without thinking about the whole picture.

For me, this looks like a really awkward place to have a bed, especially one with tall plants. Unless it is meant for you to enjoy the roses from inside, which is quite valid, but since you're talking about the outside view, I wonder if a bed in a different place would do more for your house and for the quality of the front yard space as a whole.

So if you want to show a photo of the whole yard, it might become apparent that there is a better place for beds.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Roses are beautiful flowers, but don't always present the best forms or fill up space very attractively (at least mine never did).

I did notice that you have a flower box beneath the window? That might open up some options for a more layered look with plant material in the box and some in the bed below.

Not sure about the rest of the context and how a layered look around the window would interact with the rest of it all. If you have a postage stamp yard like the one I saw in San Mateo, then some space enhancing illusions may be of some value.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 10:32PM
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the bed in the photo is by no means the whole garden. I have plans for the other parts of the garden. I wanted ideas for the part pictured because I am not sure what more I can do with it. Indeed the roses are great to look at from the inside, but I don't like the the thick rose stems showing.

One of my ideas was to plant lavender along the bottom front to hide the bases of the rose plants and to add an another olfactory dimension (apart from the roses).

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 6:09PM
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that white bit under the window is just a ledge, not a flower box. I would be very interested in reading about the space enhancing illusions.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 6:14PM
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I am not sure what those roses are but they probably make great arrangements indoors when cut, there is probably a gentler way to say this but as landscape plants they suck and then the scalloped edging adds to the shooting gallery effect. In my opinion you need to relocate the roses and bury the edging in a deep hole somewhere.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 7:18PM
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The rose plants may have lovely blooms, but I agree that the small, narrow bed is not the right place for them. Can they be moved elsewhere? Once that is done, I would consider digging up the sod to enlarge the bed and making an herb garden.

The bed design can be geometric or informal, from an intricate knot pattern to homespun exuberance. Look on the internet or in the library or at the nursery to see what approach would appeal to you. The plants may be chosen according to your culinary preferences, fragrance appeal, visual impact - and budget. Herbs are not just annual but also perennial or self-seeding or easily propogated by cuttings. They come in various heights and forms and can be quite tolerant of artistic grooming if you want to get creative. Herbs are also low maintenance as to water and fertilizer. Their biggest need is sun, which it looks like you already have.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 2:46AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

the bed in the photo is by no means the whole garden. I have plans for the other parts of the garden. I wanted ideas for the part pictured because I am not sure what more I can do with it.

The problem is that in this forum of professional designers and regular folks interested in design, you're talking to people who believe the garden needs to be taken as the whole.

It's difficult to suggest a bed shape when we can't see the entire bed ... indeed, have no idea how large the yard is.

It goes against the grain to suggest plantings for a bed when we have no idea what's happening (now or in the future) in the rest of the yard. Some things just don't go together.

We can give much more useful suggestions if you give us more to work with.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 9:10AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Plus, if you can't see the lack of good design flow with the roses and theirsize, height and general gawkiness in this photo in combination with a too narrow bed, mishmash of plants and homely if not ugly scalloped edging and white gravel mulch... My opinions on your design options shouldn't interest you anyway. At the very least I'd suggest moving those roses out of this spot in favor of plantings with better form, scale and year round interest. There are also better roses that do look better than these for use as foundation plantings at an entry. For my money, a bowider border of English lavender mixed with a border of aloe nobilis and some clips of coleonema sunset gold and a few accent coral aloes or aloe Vera would be a more interesting mix, as well as being in better scale with the windows as well as having varied fragrance and looking good at all seasons.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 11:18AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I like the idea of a full bed of lavendar. It is one plant that almost only looks good massed, and a mass of it would overcome the many disjointed elements that exist here. It would look best if you also removed the roses, but if they are important to you, you won't mind the interruption of the lavendar sweep.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 1:38PM
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