Newbie landscape corrections

Coyote777August 25, 2011

I have made the mistake of planting a series single unrelated items in my beds. Now my landscaping looks like a specimen garden. I do have a fair amount of space between most of the plants and I would appreciate any suggestions on how, without pulling everything up, I could tie it all in a little better. I'm sure this will paint a funny picture but for instance along my fence, in order I have one of each RT Photenia, Wax Myrtle, Japanese Maple, Oleander X 2, Sage, Yaupon Holly, Sage, Evergreen Wisteria, Liatrope X 3, and a Trumpet vine.

Is there anything I could do to give more cohesive look? I can't really afford to pull this stuff up and replace and it does look better than the barren wasteland it started out as.


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karinl(BC Z8)

It could be that converting your plantings from a row to a grouping would do the trick... your mistake may not be in the plant selection, but rather in the decision to make a row along your fence.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a specimen garden - I have one! - if you organize plants based on their form, foliage, and size in a pleasing manner.

If you want to post a photo or plan of your yard, you might get some useful input.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 5:25PM
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You just need a designer.some folks often be advised to go nursery.but nursery isn't a designer.designing overall structure,only designer work.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 7:43PM
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It's difficult to discuss visual things that you can't see. Why don't you post a few good photos so people can react to what you actually have? Avoid strong sun & dark shadows.

To post the photos here, you have to upload the photos to a web-hosting site. I use Flickr. Once the photos are uploaded to Flickr just click on the picture so that it opens on its own page. One of the options is "share". When you select "share", the code becomes visible. Copy it and then paste it directly into the body of your message here. When you preview your message, the photo will show up in the preview so you know it's working. I imagine most other photo-hosting sites work similarly.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 9:01PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Another way to tie the garden together is to use a single groudcover throughout (or a few groundcovers repeated). Or repeat a few types of low flowering annuals or perennials in front of the larger specimens along the fence.

It's usually better to plant odd numbers, so you might also, for instance, move one of the sages next to the other, then plant a third in front to make a sage triangle. (I'm not suggesting you do that for all your specimens -- the ones I recognize seem on the large side -- but depending on the spacing, you might put a grouping in a corner.)

How much is "a fair amount of space" between the plants? Are they isolated and lonely-looking? Evenly spaced?

If you're posting from Photobucket, here's what to do:

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 9:40PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

It isn't that difficult to move recently planted shrubs as needed, and adding some multiples of what you already have, along with layering of plants to have taller ones behind and face them down with a shorter contrasting medium height foreground is a classic technique for better visual flow.,

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 2:37AM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

I wouldn't build a landscape design around a red-tip photinia...there's a nasty leaf-spot that they get that will kill it sooner or later, unless you are willing to spray. A LOT. (At least there is here in NC...maybe not where you live.) I'll link an article below.

Here is a link that might be useful: NC State on Leaf spot disease

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 9:16AM
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One thing I noticed about red-tip Photinia in Georgia was that this blight, almost universally, seemed to affect plants with trimmed (sheared) in a hedge or where someone was trying to keep the height low. Plants that were allowed to grow natural tops seemed unaffected. (This was not a funded scientific study...just my own observation.) In that area, almost all Photinia that are allowed to grow with natural tops are limbed up into tree forms (the vast majority being multi-trunk.) This seemed to have no effect on inviting blight. It was only the shearing of foliage that drew it like a magnet. Photinia that is allowed to grow un-sheared takes on a gorgeous personality, with an outstanding floral display, and becomes quite large, for a shrub (15'+). is pretty then.

[If anyone in a Photinia-growing area knows of Photinia whose tops are natural and un-pruned becoming affected with leaf-spot blight, I would be interested in hearing about it. Please post.]

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 10:02AM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Photinia here in NC dies even when let grow to its natural height. (I've watched 15-20 ft tall hedges die slowly.)

The garden center where I work quit selling it years ago for that very reason. Now, it is possible that the plants I have seen die were stressed by heat/drought as opposed to being kept short. (We have had several severe droughts over the years.)But NONE of the independent nurseries/garden centers in my area sell Photinia fraseri anymore. When people absolutely MUST have photinia I send them to Lowes or Home Depot.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 12:30PM
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When you say "let grow to natural height..." also mean that it is not sheared along the sides and the top is not trimmed to "smooth or round it out"...right?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 1:13PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Yup. Just let grow. I've seen them grown as small trees with the occasional limb pruning, but nothing drastic. And they die. Of leaf spot. 'Tisn't pretty.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 4:26PM
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