Plant selection fence bed

C SchaffnerSeptember 12, 2013

I have no vision for the final picture. Any help is appreciated. I have a 40 by 4 foot bed in front of a fence, I have planted 3 tropical hibiscus spaced 1/3 of the way. I have some dwarf sweet pea bushes I have no idea how to space. I would like to add some colorful foliage for interest in the fall/winter when the others are not in bloom. And any other plants or groundcover border as needed. The space gets 6 to seven hours of morning/afternoon sun. The rest of my yard is tropical. Thanks.


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yardvaark

IMO, a difference between "gardening" and "landscaping" is that gardening is primarily about the plants. Landscaping is about the space. The question, as presented here, seems to be about gardening and I wonder if you are overlooking some of the considerations of landscaping. What are the purposes of the work you are doing? What is the purpose of the fence? If it's to screen neighboring properties, then it's inadequate and therefore, an opportune reason to use plants in such a way that they help complete the job. It looks like, instead, you might be collecting favorite plants without regard to how they can help you create a better environment.

A scheme that rubs me the wrong way is placing a wall (fence, hedge, screen, etc.) and then placing plants in front of it as though they were trying to obscure it. It would be better to place plants that can extend the height of the wall and do it is such a way that they add 3-dimensionality .... as opposed to just a line. Where neighboring houses rise above your fence is a good place to put small trees (crape myrtle size) with groundcover below. I'm not suggesting plant exactly like my illustration. You'd need to scheme it to work with what you are trying to screen and use the plants that bring the personality you're after.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 7:58AM
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C Schaffner

Thanks so much for your input. The fences are privacy fences, they are between every lot in the area, they are relatively small city lots. I don't want to hide the fence just soften with some plants in front of it . I like your illustration. Much more interesting than mine.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 11:58AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Looks like you're somewhere in southern California? If you were to allow for depth in this bed for larger plantings and a more layered approach, you could incorporate some larger shrubs/small trees against that fence and make it disappear. Small flowering trees might include Cassia leptophylla, Fremontodendron 'California Glory', Callistemon viminalis. Large shrubs might include Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset', Tecoma x smithii, Streptosolen jamesonii, Phormium 'Guardsman'. All of these have low care, super extended bloom seasons and would give a lush look without the pampering that Hibiscus rosa sinensis require, as they are very prone to insects and require constant fertilizing and irrigation. If you were to do a layered border with large shrubs, 8 to 12 feet deep would be better.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 12:47PM
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C Schaffner

Yes, San Diego area on the coast. Thanks so much for your suggestions. I will research them.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 5:00PM
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yardvaark

I don't want to hide the fence just soften with some plants in front of it."

I agree. What's the point of installing a nice looking fence and then hiding it? Better to place some intermittent punctuation against it and let the two work together as a team. There is all manner of "trees" that could work with the fence ... even small palms in a cluster fashion.

Fences can become scruffy looking over time. But there are a variety of coatings that improve their looks. (I prefer paint over stain and think its effects last longer.)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 8:55PM
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