Townhouse Front Garden

sweetheart591September 26, 2011

Hello everyone! I'm new to the forum, but I have quickly been able to tell how helpful everyone is and was hoping someone can give me some suggestions too.

I live in a townhouse with a very small front lawn. Currently, I have grass & a semi-circle bed in the front. This summer I had Zinnias planted in front of the Echinacea which are still in the back, but am looking for a new plan for Autumn. The shrub in the front is a Ducher Rosebush(which is the hardiest thing I've ever seen...unkillable!)which I would like to stay there. My home is 12'6" wide, so my bed is about 12' by around 3' . I can enlarge it if necessary. What should I do with the echinacea? I really like them...but should they stay? Will they grow in a container on my back patio? My front yard faces Southwest, by the way. Thanks for all your help, I've attached a link with pictures.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Front Yard

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Hello sweetheart591,

I'm pretty sure that you're about to get a volley of suggestions to enlarge the bed to fill up all usable space, so before anyone else does... I would suggest to enlarge the bed to fill up all the usable space.

Echinacea retain their seedheads throughout fall and winter, and this is often used for ornament just as much as their flowers. If you're looking to increase the amount of interest of your beds through the seasons, this is often achieved in perennial beds by layering different types of perennials with different seasons of peak interest.

Think of it as "whack-a-mole" but with plants. As certain plants step up in interest, others retreat.

You can see that having a larger bed will be an advantage. If you are able to add more layers of plants, you can create a richer rhythm of interest throughout the seasons. Also, perennials often function better in mature-size groupings (this differs from genus/species to genus/species).

Also keep in mind that perennials shouldn't just be gauged by their flowers alone - like the Echinacea, a lot of perennials have added interest through the new growth, leaves, seedheads, or overall form in general. You can read a lot about the seasonal interest in plants. Another option is to visit botanical gardens and parks throughout the year to see how the same plants perform over the seasons.

- Audric

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 10:11PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I don't know your climate at all so I won't give any advice about what plants will and won't work for you, but just some advice about landscaping.

I actually think your current layout is kind of nice; the rounded bed combats the angularity of the space. If it were me I would probably do a combination of hard surface with flagstones and planting area and no grass, but that's because I have a mania to grow as many plants as possible. If you don't have that, I think you should go to local nurseries, although this is not the best time of year to shop, and see what plants you like, and buy just enough of them to comfortably fill the space you have.

In landscaping, two things can make a huge difference: one is plant placement and spacing, and the other is maintenance and tidiness. If you look at the picture taken of the whole yard, you can see that the rose bush is kind of tight up against the building for its size. You may not want to move it, but this suggests that keeping it pruned a bit smaller would be a good idea. This also leaves you more room for other plants, and I would tend to look for low spreading ones, maybe something evergreen and shrubby like a Motherlode juniper for instance, rather than others that have their bulk up high and thus compete for the same airspace. Since the echinacea does that, I would plant it away from the rosebush.

Regarding maintenance, plants that creep around can be a real issue, as your liriope shows. It doesn't seem to be respecting your edging, and is probably growing over toward the light. This tendency should be controlled with either more solid boundaries or pulling up and replanting when it goes out of where you want it. Or you can grow it in a pot.

Karin L

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 1:44PM
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Thank you both for your suggestions! I never thought about echinacea in an ornamental way, but I shall keep that in mind. Also, this rosebush is so prolific...i pruned it about three weeks ago, and it just keeps on growing! I'll have to be better about that, and also with my lariope. I checked out the Louisiana Gardener's Guide from my library and have been getting some plant ideas for the fall/early winter.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 4:54PM
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