Suggestions for shrub/plantings

peytonroadAugust 18, 2013

Hi, Does anyone have any idea of what to plant here along this retaining wall?

I am in virginia. I do not want hibicus as the japanese beetles are all over the ones on other side.(THis a shot while building)

I have terrible problems with deer(they eat my holly and my liriope!)

I don't mind height. I had a design that included lilacs but unsure. Was thinking viburnums.

This area is a SW exposure, with full day sun after 11am.

This post was edited by peytonroad on Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 9:00

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Sounds like it would be worth your while to put up at deer fence.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 12:42PM
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A wall like that, especially in z10, says interesting climbers to me, not standard common shrubs like Viburnums and Lilacs. You could grow some amazing things against that wall and have them peeking over the railings at the top and wafting exotic scents into your house.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 4:51AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i didnt know there is a z10 in VA???

where are your.. big city ....


    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 7:03AM
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Ooh - I only spotted the '10', overlooked the 'Virginia'. But I'd still go for climbers.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:41AM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

One of the good things about Viburnums is that they don't demand much care. The birds love them. There are different varieties, some taller than others. It might look good to have a few, getting smaller as you move to the shorter parts of the wall.

Drawback? Suckers! You can deal with them in the spring, or them them happen.

Put five out there (I like odd numbers), along with some climbing something.

Go to your local garden center, show them a picture and ask for advice. They will have plants appropriate to your area and they should replace anything that doesn't make it through the first year. That's easier than dealing with catalog people.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Thank you everyone for your response. I do agree that a climber would be really nice! I don't know how that zone 10 showed up?!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:12AM
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What about making an espalier of some kind--figs, pomegranates, pyracantha?. I have read that deer do not eat fig leaves (assume they would eat the fruit until too tall). Was going to suggest climbing hydrangea, then remembered deer LOVE them to death. (Also have big deer numbers, but really is possible to plant things they will not eat--especially in milder zones where they can eat other evergreens). Also, do you really want to cover up the wall completely? And do you prefer it to be evergreen? Personally, I think it's a nice wall and would not plant to cover it up entirely--still, you do have lots of options.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:38AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


what zone are you????

VA is kinda big and diverse

hiding that gorgeous wall... seems wrong ... i would go with thin uprights.. to echo the battlements.. and leave the vast majority as eye candy ... no higher that half way on lower shrubs ...

i was thinking along the lines of Thuja occ de groots sprire.. for the upright ...

or are you ruling out conifers????? ... and just asking about flowering shrubs .... conifer suggestions might come in that forum ...


ps: what about those thin maples... and thin beeches??? ... in yellow and purple no less.... dawyck or something or another.. but those are trees....

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 12:09PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I think any good landscaper would be asking you a barrage of follow-up questions.

Where are you located? What zone actually? You might have a really good microclimate to work with.

What is your intent for planting the front of the wall -- to hide it? or just to soften it? ease the transition from lawn to building.

Do you like a more formal / traditional look (read lots of pruning)?

Or more casual?

How high do you want it to be?

Do you want it to be solid green? Or with floral interest? Evergreen or deciduous?

Vines could ruin brick and also require lots of maintenance.

Are you willing to do maintenance like pruning on a regular basis (like several times / year? Or do you have a hired gardener? or prefer something low-maintenance?

Are you willing to water it? What about underplanting?

Is this back yard or front yard?

How much space is there between the wall and what looks like a garage door?

I'd maybe consider using an upright conical plant in front of each 'column' and some lower hedging material bridging everything together. Or conversely, something tall in each brick 'panel'. I'd definitely consider broad-leafed evergreens or maybe include conifers. You want something that looks good 365 days/yr.

Once we can determine your intent and parameters, then we can move into plant selection.

This post was edited by dave_in_nova on Mon, Aug 19, 13 at 19:03

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 6:57PM
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Dave in nova,

Thank you for the reply! I too am in northern va,(is that zone 6?), near Fairfax station. This is the back side of the house with un "extra" garage. I have since planted crepe myrtles above the wall and carpet roses (yuck, mistake number one) with shasta daisy's(mistake number 2).

My plan was to include lilacs near the "Piers" and carpet roses in between (since reconsidered to avoid mistake number 3) I was looking at a frost proof gardenia but iffy in this area, and scared to take a chance!

The mulch bed is about 4 feet but really since nothing planted there I can make it want I want. There is only a foot between door and garage but no planting area there(picture does not show that well) I would plant about where the first tallest pier in the wall is located. The wall is 15 feet ish tall.

The deer are so bad here. I like to look at my landscape, as this area is viewable by the sun room window. I was not sure about boxwood's, I enjoy flowers and this is a great sunny spot! Just don't love azaleas!

What about lena scotch broom? I do like the idea of the taller item in the center of the wall between piers. I also was thinking of making this a visual site by attaching criss cross wire (think tic tac toe tilted) and growing a clematis. I would appreciate all of your ideas.

Are you in business locally? I had a landscape architect come out and it was comical how many plants he wanted to add to my landscape! It would have looked like poo several seasons later. Then I went with a merrifield plan but it isn't right either though We have only done the front of the home.

I wiill care for my landscape, I love doing it. To answer you question.. don't really like a plant that drops its leaves in winter...I have too many that do and then the deer eat the newly sprouted plants in spring before I can get to them!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 4:34PM
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