Suggestions about foundation planting plan
Hello, all! We recently purchased a house that was built in 1917 (though recently renovated) and are remaking the front yard. The front of the house has a full western exposure, and a small yard. It is also up a slight slope from the sidewalk. We currently have no trees in the front, and the foundation plantings consist of some Japanese hollies. We had to remove one because it had become a giant insect nest, so now we have two just kind of plunked there and it looks rather drab.
The house is teal blue with white trim, cottage-style, with a nice front porch, though the renovators removed all the porch railings. The foundation is exposed about three feet and matches the house (teal blue), except where there are Japanese hollies left. I will try to post a picture when I can.
We plan to plant a white flowering dogwood (or similar small, light shade tree) in the front yard to provide some much need dappled shade in the afternoon (NOT heavy shade). I would like to have hydrangeas along the foundation.
However, I figured I would need something behind the hydrangeas so that in the winter the foundation wouldn't look so bare. I was considering deciduous hollies (winterberry) which would add winter interest, though are not obviously evergreen. I thought the winterberries in the back with the hydrangeas in front would look nice. However, my mom insists that if I don't plant something evergreen, I will regret it (to my dying day - I believe she said - LOL!). Fir/juniper/pine family is out because DH is dreadfully allegeric, and I just don't like the typical boxwood, japanese hollies, etc. They look too formal and uncomfortable in front of our house. Our garden style in other parts of the yard is cottage/informal - in the side yard, I have a butterfly garden and and several roses, for example. Another alternative would be a small evergreen holly, if it wasn't too pointy and stayed small (our kitties lounge in the front beds alot, and wouldn't want them to get lanced!). I also thought about some type of evergreen crape myrtle.
So finally to my question - does anyone have suggestions of alternatives to the "traditional" foundation covers? Something that is evergreen but not boring, or has winter interest but won't crack the foundation with giant roots or something? I would like something informal and soft, that with the hydrangeas will say "Welcome to our comfy Southern cottage!" Any suggestions?
If I can't find anything, DH suggested that we paint bunnies and woodland animals on the foundation, to give the neighbors something to look at in the winter - LOL!