Foundation shrubs

poolecw(Georgia 7b)June 1, 2013

Hey guys, I'm looking to add landscaping to my new house. I have a wrap-around front porch as can be seen in the attached photo. I want to start off by adding some green shrubs across the front of the porch. From there I will mix in other plants into the bed. On the side of the porch with the steps, I plan to space out several burgundy loropetalum. Then in the front, I will use a few purple pixie loropetalum in front of whatever green foundation shrub I go with. The purple pixie only grows about 1 ft high and would fit nicely in front of the greenery and would tie back in with the taller burgundy LP that will be on the side of the porch.

I'm looking a shrub with dark waxy broad leaves and want to keep it under 4 ft tall. I don't want to shear the shrubs into a hedge, but rather leave them in more of a natural state. One option is the otto luyken laurel. My only concern is I don't want it grow more than 4 ft tall. I also don't want it so bushy that it covers up my stacked stone. I spent way too much money just to hide it!!

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The cherry laurels grow wider rather than taller. With proper shearing you should be able to keep them at 4 ft for several years.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 11:24AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I don't want to advise you on specific shrubs with our different climates, but a tip if I may...

Keep the foundation plantings simple, low, evergreen. That lovely house won't need maintenance for some time, but eventually it will and there's nothing worse than having established landscaping in the way of your major investment/house, only to have to be moved or damaged in the routine home upkeep. Don't ask me how I know this, but trust me :)

Put your ornamental and shrub beds farther out where they will be only in the hands of mother nature and you, never a contractors crew, it would seem from the photo you have room to do that. Your stacked stone is already attractive on its own, and you could always add some additional green and color to the porch in containers on the porch itself. On pot feet of course to protect the porch....

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 1:44PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i am with morz..

understand.. that they are planted to hide the foundation.. NOT ON THE FOUNDATION ...

with your lot ... i would plant no closer than about 10 feet from that house .... so that a 4 or 5 foot shrub.. will still be 3 to 5 feet from the house

think of islands at 10 to 20 feet away ... shielding the view from the camera point.. allowing some grass at the house.. but giving you a garden view from the porch ... like the pic below...

ken ...

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:46PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Your house is beautiful!

From what I can see, I'm not sure the hardscaping is finished yet but might just be a trick of the camera/angle of the pic. Is there a path going from the steps to the driveway/garage? If that's something you would want and use, installing that first would probably be best. Do you intend to add any trees to the front area? If so, the sun/shade pattern will likely change.

With a blank slate like that, defining planting areas with lasagna preparation techniques is so much easier than trying to work around existing plants. It also doesn't look like there's anywhere to plant anything yet at all, just grass up to the foundation.

As touched on already, I like to put the "money plants" far enough from the windows that I can see them from inside. I would strongly encourage you to design your landscape with the view from inside as a primary consideration. Much easier before you realize you have to go outside to see your plantings.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 4:18PM
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poolecw(Georgia 7b)

Hey guys, I appreciate the comments. Just to follow up with some of your comments. No, we don't have a walkway yet. That is a plan though. We are on the "pay as you go" payment plan, so that project is slated shortly after tax time.

I like the idea of beds away from the house, but the wife isn't too sure. Also, it would eat up into our front yard a little more than I would like. I want to keep plenty of space for the kids to play.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 10:14AM
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I am another vote for not having foundation plants along the front of the porch. It is beautiful as it is; do you really want to hide the stone? I think it looks very inviting, opening right out onto the lawn. (Around here, the porch needs to be higher than the snow gets deep, so we have to have porch railings.)

I would probably put some plantings between the stairs and the garage, perhaps on both sides of the walkway, so it has the feel of walking through the garden while still having the path wide enough for two people to walk comfortably abreat. If you will be planting that area, it might be wise to design the plantings and the walkway together, but install the walk first.

I think I would put deep beds or island beds around the margin of the yard to allow the house to make its own impact and to allow the kids space to play. Depending on how the house looks from the front, another bed off the far end of the porch may be wanted to provide balance to the one around the walkway.

I won't try to suggest specific plants for Georgia.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 9:20PM
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I agree with the hardscape comment.
You need a walkway at least from the side steps to the garage area when it rains.
You see that triangle shaped space between the buildings?
I would start a small decorative garden right there.
With a nice little bird fountain or decorative fountain, (same thing).
Then think about what kind of tree you would like to plant for shade out front. Something rugged that your kids can actually play on in the future.
Yea, that house needs a big tree away from your house, but close enough to be enjoyed and provide shade, something strong enough to put a hammock or old tire on for the kiddies.
Go to a local nursery that is privately owned in your immediate area for ideas, they know what tree and plants to recommend.
Gorgeous Home, Congrats!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:46PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

whether you have the budget for any given idea... at any given moment ... is not the issue ...

we are telling you to plan so you end up with a cohesive result .... call it a 5 year plan .... prioritizing your needs ...

in your pic.. i dont understand wifeys need for space.. are you planning of 50 or 60 kids , thats a lot of space ... for that concern ...

in my pic above. .the kids loved the secret paths all thru the garden ...

but i don't understand what you are calling the front.. as your pics off to the side.. etc...r primary objective ought to be the 'backbones of your garden ... in this case... the walkway.. and some heritage.. 100 year trees ....

not a bunch of little green bushes hiding your stonework ....

more pix if you want more ideas ...


having 5 acres.. this below is about 150 feet from the pic above .. and another 100 feet away ... is what one might call a quarter size football field for ball playing .... ergo.. the suggestion the kids will only play out front.. might not end up being the way it works out.... depending of course on your lot layout

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 10:34AM
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