Help with front yard design
I have an end unit town house with typical five foot shrub beds along both sides of the front yard and circular beds around three maple trees. I plan on extending the beds that are along the house sides out to incorporate the tree beds. I also plan to remove most, if not all of the existing plants and replace them with shrubs that will look the same year round. The shrubs currently block the basement windows and I want the replacements further away from the house and separated to look more refined and classy.
I have attached photos with my future beds outlined in red.
The front door side of the house faces north and gets little sun and the left side of the house faces east, but is fairly shaded and receives about 3 hours of sun.
I want low-maintenance shrub beds and do not plan on using annuals or any type of flowers at all. Most of the current shrubs are azaleas and they aren't really my favorite. There are three shrubs that I think are boxwoods that I may keep. Two of them frame the door and the other is on the corner of the house. But they are 20 years old and look pretty scrawny. I cut them back fairly hard a few years ago and they just don't seem to fill in fully.
Can anyone help with a critique on my bed design and the following questions?
1. What is your opinion of such large beds in a small yard?
2. Should I keep the current boxwoods? If so, should I add one on each end of the house sides to balance out the beds?
3. The right side of bed on the front-door side (at the fence) is lower. Should I add something the will have more height? (or another boxwood as noted in #2)
4. The design in the photo for the front-door side cuts the beds at an angle up to the front stoop. Should I do this or bring the beds horizontally across much farther down the front walk from the stoop? The grass does not grow well next to the front walk. Maybe I should just extend the beds there also? But I was afraid that the beds would really be too large with that addition.
5. Do you have any shrub suggestions for the Northern Virginia area? The soil is dry clay and I will not water much after the shrubs are established.
I plan on making a design plan and visiting the local nursery for their help on shrub selection. But I wanted to check in with the experts here before it did that. Any help would be most appreciated.
I will post a second message with a photo of the other side of the house