What should I plant here?

ajc9(5b)August 31, 2013

Hello all!

I will be ripping out this ailing hinoki and the random grasses on the second tier. I'm literally stumped as to what to plant here...

On the other side of the house I have juniper bushes, an emporer and virdis japanese maple, a redwood (not sure the exact name...cross between a deciduous and evergreen looking tree) a fernspray gold hinoki bush and some ornamental chives...

I think something evergreen should go here but I'm not sure? I think it should flow from one tier to the next.....I'm just not sure what bush or perennials should go here...what do u think?

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Mike Larkin

It would be nice to know what type of hinoki cypress you have in the middle, It is young and may get wider and much taller. Maybe another photo of the entire front yard, so that we can see what else you have planted. This would help to coordinate some of the other colors or plants with this bed. Repetition helps tie all the beds together.
It also would help if you could provide the measurements so we know how much space we have to work with and does the front face N,S, E,W. This will allow us to know what shrubs will grow best.

Here is a link that might be useful: Some Garden Design Ideas

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 8:17PM
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Plantman...what a great link. I just bookmarked it.

The tree is a Slender Hinoki False Cypress Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Gracilis'. It's been fussy. I do have one cypress already...the bush...which is awesome. But, I don't have any conical shaped trees in the front landscape. Just deciduous so far. So, between the tree ailing and not really seeming to belong...I'm thinking of taking it out. It also has deer damage on the other side. I might plant it at the edge of our woods in the back or something;)

The top tier is about 3 feet by 6 feet. The bottom is about 4 ft by 9. It receives filtered sun in the AM and then mostly full sun after 3 pm. We live amongst tall pines on almost 100% sand.

I'd attach another picture but will have to wait until morning...it's dark now and even with all the flood lights the pics won't quite turn out;). Ill take one tomorrow! Thank you again for taking interest;)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 9:42PM
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Here is a picture of the other side of our home. As you can see...I don't have any companion plants with the japanese maple viridis. I will be placing a bit larger rocks/boulders where u see the curve...I think they are too small.

It's a dreary day...hopefully this comes through ok;)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 3:36PM
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The shape of the beds suggest that you intend to enshroud the porch in plants (at least the lower portion) while areas farther from the entrance are planted less. I say this because at the porch is where the planting bed is much greater depth from front to back of bed. This seems in danger of sending the visual message, "keep away," not "welcome." The bed on the right seems awkward in how it tucks in tighter as it approaches the house, creating an odd void behind the bed. Also, I'd suggest you arrange the stones with more care. They should look like they're carefully fit together and presently, some of the gaps between them are large and haphazard looking. I'd try to make the top of the rocks more uniformly level.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:10AM
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Yardvark...do u mean the stones to the right of the entry or the left that need rearranging?

Currently I'm looking to adding some grasses for texture...and for color...I'm not sure yet. I like blues, whites, yellows, oranges. Not all in the front, of course...but...will include at some point.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 6:48PM
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The layout at the right side seems more strange the way the bed narrows toward the house and grass tucks behind the bed ... as if a path is leading somewhere. But there is no path and no reason for it to look like there is.

It's hard to get a sense of landscape-enhancements-to-the-house potential because the pictures only focus close-up on garden spaces.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 12:43AM
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Ok...maybe this is a better picture. The sun is out so i had to bend down to take it.

As mentioned, I'm taking out all the plants to the right. The japanese maple viridis on the left bed is staying. I'm basically looking for flow between both beds...grasses, small evergreen bushes(?) and a couple of perennials for color and more texture...

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:16AM
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I see what you have at the center and left. What I'd be after is an overall reorganization of the layout, but I don't think going to that level interests you, ajc9. Maybe someone else will jump in and offer some plant suggestions.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 12:36PM
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Gotcha. I love trees...plants...and yard work...but this design stuff has not been a natural strength of mine!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 1:29PM
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Should I move this tree to the left? Or is this a good spot? Sorry for all the random questions...I haven't been specific on one area I guess...I'm working on it all!!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 6:46PM
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Could you stand at a distance from the house and take a picture of the entire house? It can't flow when all the sections are not part of a plan.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 3:55PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

The first thing that strikes me is that those round rocks are fighting with the flat, thin rocks used in the house itself - if you want a rock edging I'd go for something flat rather than the rounded ones. Is there a particular reason you chose those ones? Someone I know used rocks like that for edging and has a constant battle with grass invasion, and weeds seeding in and growing between them. Have you used a grass barrier? Be prepared to deal with weeds.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 5:57PM
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I chose the round bc my parents live in a very rocky area...their woods has so many rocks and boulders. My dad brought them and we worked together on it.

The right side looks better bc my builder's landscape guy did it. The pic makes them look smaller than they really are...the rocks are pretty large and jagged...not perfectly round.

Hubby and I discussed the entire landscaping be done but decided on some upgrades instead (geothermal, and some other odds and ends). Ahhh...budgets!

Anyway, my dad won't care if i tell him we gotta work on these dang rocks...it just looks too nice and neat or odd...or something.

I think nothing will look best...just a clean edge made with a spade...a natural curve.

It's dark right now...ill stand back and take another pic in an hr or so...when the sun comes up.

This post was edited by ajc9 on Thu, Sep 5, 13 at 6:30

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 6:28AM
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Ok...here's a pic...

The boxwoods in the island and junis in front of the garage will probably change...way too uniform. The island has nothing done to it yet...that's another thread! Also, the hinoki cypress to the far right...is ailing...and will be most likely taken out before too long...

I love the redwood tree in the island.

The japanese red maple to the left will stay. I have sedum rupestre Angelina underneath...it's producing a nice contrast u can't really see here...

The cypress bush in the center nook, although small, is super healthy and is growing well...so will stay.

Finally, the japanese maple green viridis by the porch will stay...

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 8:26AM
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littlebug5(z5 MO)

What a beautiful home!

I really like your Japanese maple that's to the left of the porch. But it seems WAY too close to the house. I'd bring it out - about the middle of that planting area. It's going to grow, you know.

I agree on the rock border not looking right. But I may be prejudiced. At my last house I had DH dragging in rocks for the first couple of years we lived there, and I used them to border all my beds. But what a PITA they turned out to be! We finally sold that house and moved to town, and guess what my new house had? Rock borders! AUUGHH! I am gradually getting rid of them and replacing them with clean-cut edges. Much better looking and MUCH easier care.

I can't tell from the picture - what's that at the edge of the driveway on the sidewalk? A plant in a planter? Or a pile of trash waiting to be picked up? If it's a plant in a planter, I'd get rid of it. It looks ill-placed and distracting.

You need to consider that 99% of the people who see your house will see it from the street ONLY. Therefore, the island planting is very important, both in how it looks itself and in how it relates to/blocks the view of your house.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 9:48AM
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What zone are you in? I re-read all the thread but I don't see it anywhere. The two beds on the left side of the house would look better as one bed. It is awkward the way you have it. I like the junipers. They are the only repetition you have in front of the house. If you go out and take up the few dividing rocks between the two beds to the left and stand back you will see how it improves the flow.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 6:11PM
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I would change the bed lines to look more inviting. As it is, it looks like you're thinking about engulfing the porch with a barricade of plants. I would not use the large stones as a raised bed edging. Woodyoak makes the point of how unlike the stone on the home they are, and it seems to me they "fight" with one another. The way they are presently organized and arranged adds a haphazard quality to the picture. A better use of those stones would be lining the surface of the slope at the right side of the house ... not quite as a retaining wall, but almost. (The picture is to give an idea, not be a literal interpretation.)

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Fri, Sep 6, 13 at 12:02

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 11:49AM
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emmarene - zone 5b... listed after the screen name in the same manner as yours notes "9".

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 12:52PM
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Wow...thank you so much again, all!

Well...I'm away from home otherwise I'd snap a pic...

During my toddlers nap yesterday i took all the stones out. Yes....I'm a lady...and did it;).

Yardvaark...love the photo. Flow. It's what I'm after.

This has been a long project...just time constraints with a busy life! Ill be sure to post pics when it's completed...might not be until next spring.

For now, I'm going to clean up the front edging w a spade today...it has a very nice curved/soft look now without competing w the house...so much better!

This post was edited by ajc9 on Fri, Sep 6, 13 at 15:28

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 1:02PM
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I look forward to seeing a photo. Thanks for adding your zone,

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 4:04PM
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I thought it would be worth taking a quick look at the difference in bed line scheme so drew a little illustration that compares two schools of thought on the subject. Vastly more common -- universal almost -- is what you presently have ... a planting that engulfs and potentially overwhelms the entrance and/or walk to it (proposed by the shape of the bed line). The alternate example creates space at the entrance and along the path to it, but beefs up plantings outside of this zone. Subliminally, both schemes suggest where one should go upon arriving, but the barricading scheme sends a confusing message that is not very welcoming.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 10:53AM
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We took so much time on the inside of the house with design...I thought the outside would just come in time and not be a big deal. It really does make a huge difference! Your drawing makes perfect sense....

I have the left area completely free of the rock barricade now...the right side with the two tiered thing is still there...that will have to be professionally done...they are definitely boulders vs rocks!

I have my eye on some plants that I'd like - not much left to choose from perennial-wise here in MI so I may order online:). I'm also looking at putting some bulbs in for a splash of color this spring...tulips and hyacinth...

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 6:59AM
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The rocks, being low to the ground aren't so much of a barrier themselves, but the shape they outline suggests that plants-to-come will potentially become a significant barrier (since that's what's seen in the vast majority of typical landscapes.)

I meant to add a suggestion on how you could use the rocks in a better way ... as a surface rather than an edging. It would work well to support some of the slope you have at the right side ... with larger rocks at the base, working to smaller rocks as it's built upward ... not a retaining wall, but more like a stabilized slope.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Photographs please

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 4:05PM
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Very cool...I like that idea, yardvaark.

Emmarene...I'm still away from home but will take one upon arrival for sure! Not much to update just yet...I must say, though, I am excited about muscling all of the rocks away from the main area in front...:). I have a bit more edging to do and then I think it will be set for planting.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 6:56PM
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