Shrubs and very small evergreens/tree for front yard

Liz321(6 - Detroit Metro)May 1, 2013

I need assistance in what type of shrubbery and small evergreens or ?? to put in the southern exposure yard. The previous owner ripped out the 50 year old giant shrubs that were as tall as the house, and stuck in two little ball things that died within the first winter. There are two yuccas, and three grasses left from the original landscaping.

I transplanted hostas, daisy, iris and sedum to the area to fill it in for now. It has been two years and the it is just too hot for the hosta with full sun. There is the one tree that isn't big enough to shade the front garden and the sun is 8 hours a day.
I am looking for something that will maintain some interest in the winter, but not get too big.
I love roses, but I don't know that they would fill out enough for the long falls and winters in Michigan. I was considering something taller for in the corner but is that spot too close to the foundation to do anything tall? I am so confused.
I have a ton of thriving Iris, and sedum and ground cover, but the tickseed, hosta and are all ready to be moved or rearranged to make room for serious landscaping.

I also wouldn't mind changing the shape of the bed by bringing it out or curving the edge or adding a trellis. The left of the porch that runs back to the sunroom actually is packed full and looks fabulous when it is grown in so I'm less worried about that. I want Curb Appeal!!

Please please I need ideas. I like unusual.

Here is a link that might be useful: pix to help

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey liz.. royal oak eh?? [from your members page] .. grew up in livonia... and bought my first house there ...

first.. refer to the link .... for a suggestion as how to proceed ... linds ... did it right.. by catching us.. when we were bored out of our minds.. prior to the weather breaking ... note the pix we requested.. as well as having her define what her goals were ... and they did not end up being what she started with ...

and its your use of common terms.. that is confusing you .. and us.. as to where to go with this ...

e.g... evergreens... well.. that covers a wide range of things ... i THINK you are talking about conifers ... if you are.. that is where linds started .... and that is usually the backbones of the front of ones house ... but there are many other plants that are .. in essence.. evergreen ... so you need to define what you are talking about ...

and technically.. conifers are NOT shrubs.. though i also called them such for decades .... but it is not helpful in defining where we want to go ....

BTW .. your link doesnt work.. and that pic is not going to be helpful to anyone defining a plan ...

and take a walk some evening.. and snap a pic or two.. of what other peeps have done with the front of their houses.. to help you define what you like.. and give us some guidance as to where you want to go ...

you are spot on with the foundation ... when i had my first house in livonia.. i learned that 3 feet AT THE FOUNDATION .. should be left blank ... so i could get a ladder in there.. to do gutters.. paint.. xmas lights.. window washing.. etc ... and if you agree with that.. then you should 'see' that your bed is horribly out of configuration ....

lol .. i just glanced up.. and i see the neighbor still has the ugly old improperly planted conifer ....

and the root of your problem might be this forum.. but you never know ...... the conifer forum is much more active.. than the shrub forum.. and not every one of the peeps there.. come thru here ... so if this post dwindles.. try over there ...

my best suggestion ... is to define and build some great beds.. for planting in fall .. the next proper season for planting conifers .. and trees.. as i doubt you can properly build those beds in time ... you simply should not plant such.. in the heat of summer ...

but .... once you define the beds.. and add some of your annuals.. and perennials.. then we can get the backbones in place in fall ... of my 600 conifers.. about half came in the mail ... and that is how you get truly unique things.. rather than JUST what the bigboxstore offers ... well.. that and a budget.. lol ..

of course .. as compared to me in adrian mi ... you have some great large upscale nurseries in the area including bordines .. english gardens.. etc ...

so.. get us some better pix.. that perhaps we can photoshop ... and lets try to find some words that explain where you want to go ..

oh.. i would expand that bed to about 10 feet from the house.. which would make it only 7 feet deep to work with .. it would NOT be straight across.. and we would have to figure out how to deal with what i will guess is an arcing walkway .... [any chance you want to replace that with brick as a part of the process] ... and i would insure.. that some part of the plants introduce a vertical element.. as compared to your 1950's metro detroit ranch ...

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 1:15PM
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OK Ken, gonna take you to task again :-) I agree with enlarging the beds - the bigger the foundation bed layout, the more variety of plants one can include and the greater the sense of volume. But from both a design perspective as well as a horticultural perspective, you should pick out and plant the "bones" first then fill with any perennials, bulbs or annuals.

And don't go down that "and technically.. conifers are NOT shrubs" road again! "Technically" has nothing to do with it. Conifers are just cone-bearing plants, usually evergreen, and they can come in all manner of growth habits (which is what defines a tree or shrub). By stating that so definitively all you do is confuse folks new to gardening and gardening terminology. Lord knows there are as many - if not more - shrub-form conifers as there are tree-form ones.

I am not the most familiar with broadleaved evergreen shrubs hardy enough for your climate but there are certainly boxwood, some rhododendrons and hollies that would work. And dwarf or shrubby conifers would be very appropriate as well. Don't necessarily discount deciduous shrubs (those that lose their leaves in winter) either. They often tend to be more showy than evergreens when in bloom and a mix that includes at least some of these is usually a good idea. That could include the roses you mentioned or hydrangeas, spiraea, dwarf lilacs or a bunch of other choices.

Not sure this post is any more appropriate to the conifer forum than it is here - it is really a design-based question that can be achieved by any number of plant choices. Liz, you might want to try posting this in the Landscape Design forum as well. You will get a number of well-thought out responses from both professional designers and very skilled amateurs as well.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 2:08PM
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