i want some 'pop' for my garden variety ranch

melvee(7)August 5, 2012

very nondescript ranch. i have always been bored with the compacta holly. i love color and height and have wanted something to make people say 'wow!' when they drive past the house. this summer something destroyed one of the middle hollies, so we pulled it up. the one to the left of it is now affected, so i am taking my chance to pull it too and put something new there. the other hollies will stay due to cost. i would love ideas to fill the space with interesting new things. the hanging pots can obviously go. preference is for something evergreen/perennial so there is no empty space in the winter. berries for my bird friends are fine. year-round color would be awesome. any help you can provide would be lovely!!

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Would like to see a full view pic of your home, perhaps from the street.

I think life is too short to live it with compactas. Neighbors have ripped theirs out, transformed the houses.

Agree that the bed you've shown would look great expanded.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 8:03AM
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not sure how to post more than one pic at a time, but here is one. i have two trees in the front yard that kind of get in the way for you to see the whole thing from the front. i was thinking maybe a dwarf spruce in between the windows or a false cypress. i would love to have room to plant other colorful perennials and annuals.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 10:31PM
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I don't think you're going to achieve the WOW-factor by adding another low shrub or allowing the house-hiding low limbs to remain on your large trees; they need to be limbed up. A small, multi-trunk, dome-shaped tree--like a big umbrella-- centered between your windows would do a lot to add interest in form, seasonal bloom color (depending on what plant you pick) and help your house look nestled into the site rather than sitting on top of the ground. There are many "shrubs" such a tree could be created of...something in the 8' to 10' ht. that doesn't sucker too much.... Camellia, Rhododendron, Burning Bush, Mock Orange, Beauty Bush and the like. I'd place it about 5' out from the wall, so bed expansion would be necessary. (The rigid, flat-against-the-house-bed that is there now does not add a great deal of interest.) Below the little tree could be flowering perennial or groundcover. The theme could be carried over to a second tree on the other side of the window and an expanded bed below for more impact.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 10:41AM
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wow, didn't even know you could DO that. thanks a bunch. i actually love beautyberry. around that side of the house i have already expanded the bed and have a wildflower collection and 2 butterfly bush just across the fence. now i just have to convince my DH that doing something like this is far better than putting back another compacta.

what is limb up? is that just cutting off the lowest braches? how do i do that and do i need special tools?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 2:06PM
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In effect, yes - limbing up is removing lower branches. The large trees in your yard should be done professionally, if for no other reason than to remove any dead branches. Other than that why would you - can you walk under them without bumping your head; do they need to be opened up to let in more sunlight; do you want the house to be exposed?

For small trees and shrubs, often a simple pruning saw and some pruners will do. But there's more to it that than - it takes a good eye to get the perfect "toadstooling" of any tree or shrub. Otherwise you've got a raggedy topknot on single or multiple trunks. Yard is very fond of that tree/shrub treatment; many of us are not.

You've got gutters; any tree close to the house and growing above the roofline will drop debris and clog your gutters.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 2:51PM
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"Yard is very fond of that tree/shrub treatment; many of us are not."

It's a curious "take"... what you're calling a "treatment". Is it any different than what people do to the plants they call "trees"? I think it is not. What strikes me as odd is the idea that trees above a certain size are acceptable ... but trees below a certain size are not. To my thinking, almost all sizes of trees are acceptable for some purpose and I can't see a reason to be against the smaller trees--so useful in so many places--any more than being against little people. I mean ... why? Also, having experienced the forum for a while now, I can see that quite a number of people might line up being for or against this or that, but what's popular among some doesn't necessarily have a relationship to a subject's value. Also, no one can know what the tally is. Either viewpoint on this could be in the minority. (But I've never waited for someone else to declare their preferences before deciding for myself if something is good or bad!) If valid, persuasive arguments are put forth against using small trees, then maybe I'll change my mind about them. Since I've been listening, no argument like that has been postulated. I've only heard, "I don't like them" which is an opinion, not a persuasive argument.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:21PM
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