Front Yard Landscaping (opinions please)!

kimberlysc(z7 SC)October 18, 2011

Hello all,

This past May we had Zoysia sod put down. We figured we would have enough to deal with by watering sod that we saved the landscaping for another day. I have attached a picture of our home and a landscaper gave us ideas but I would really like other opinions. First I would like to share that the front of the house gets shade in the morning and sun in the afternoon. It gets very hot in the afternoon.

The recommendations we received.

On the very far left bed in the back we were to have 3 Camellia Cleopatras. In front of the Camelias would be Abelia (4 of these) over to the right in the back would be 3 Otto Luyken, to the right of the Otto Luykens the front right corner would be 3 Harbor Dwarf Nandinas.

To the bed to the far right where lightpole is:

At the very back 3 Otto Luykens, in front ot the 3 Otto Luykens would be 4 Gulfstream Nandinas, in front of Nandinas we would be Leriope on edge of bed.

Any opinions? I love Camelias but wouldn't they get too high blocking the windows?

By looking at the colors of the house would these colors compliment the house?

I like hostas, crape myrtles, rhododendrums, azaleas, but was told it gets way too hot for these.

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karinl(BC Z8)

What I would do if this were my house and those were the plants I liked is plant trees right about where you are standing to take the pictures, and closer to the house as well. The shade they cast as they grow in will make the garden the kind of space in which you can grow the plants you like. In addition, the trees will make the house a little cooler, I imagine.

As for the selections of your landscaper, that sounds like the kind of installation I would expect to see at a gas station, except that the gas stations tend to have more variety and flower/foliage interest. Maybe an office building. In an industrial park :-)

Karin L

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 10:21PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Agree totally, it sounds really boring and inappropriate in regard to being too tall for the windows like you mentioned. And there was no mention of any larger trees for the rest of the yard for shade.

I like hostas, crape myrtles, rhododendrums, azaleas, but was told it gets way too hot for these. Was it the same landscaper who told you that? All of those plants are extremely common here, much warmer than where you are.

Don't plant shrubs up against your house that hide your house and that you have to wrestle with to "maintain the height" unless that's your idea of a fun way to spend a Saturdays or 2 per year. Use plants that don't get so tall. You might like Daphne if it's hardy there.

You have a wonderful blank slate there. You should spend time looking at pics and take some examples of the look you want to eventually achieve to someone more capable and knowledgeable.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 10:50AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

If the house faces west or westish, you definitely want shade trees in front of the house! They will help cool the house, though it'll be a few years yet. Trees to the south are also helpful; planting on the other side of the driveway will shade the house in time (though you should also consider the effect of roots on the driveway). [A good way to see exactly which way your house faces is the satellite view on Google Maps -- north is always at the top.]

How deep are the front beds? Are you interested in annuals or perennials as well as the shrubs and liriope?

Unfortunately there's no agreement online about Camellia sasanqua Cleopatra's mature size -- anywhere from 4-5' tall by 3-4' wide to 15' tall by 8' wide. [Mature size is the average size at 10 years old. If you divide the mature size by 10, that tells you the amount the plant will grow per year, unless it's pruned. And yes, they will keep growing after 10 years.] I have an unknown camellia (planted by the Previous Owners) with identical blooms to Cleo's. Unfortunately, mine has shown no desire to be taller than wide, so I doubt it's Cleo, and I can't advise on how much you'd need to prune Cleo to keep it below the window.

I can't tell from the photo how much room you have in that area. If you like camellias, you might plant one on either side of the window, and something shorter between them. Or look for camellias which won't get quite so tall.

Like karinl, I'm not too enthusiastic about the landscaper's shrub plan -- but it does provide for spring, summer, and fall blooms. I may be a bit prejudiced due to not liking nandina (got rid of those) or liriope (bad bank landscaping). Your three areas sound a bit too compartmentalized to me: one assortment of stuff here, a different assortment of stuff there, and a third assortment on the other side. What ties the areas together other than the medium-sized foliage? Well, okay, there are nandinas in two places. I'd like a bit more unity and overlap.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 12:04PM
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