Ideas/advice for replacing monster evergreen shrub
My boyfriend and I have been working on his small urban front yard this year, and we think the evergreen shrub against the house needs to go (not sure what exactly it is, but it manages to be formidable in the small space and ugly at the same time). Once it's gone, my thought is to divide and move the clod of iris currently next to the steps back against the house, and then fill in the empty spots along the foundation between the iris and Japanese maple with hostas, but the boyfriend isn't all that keen on hostas. We were hoping some of the experienced, knowledgeable folks on GW might have some good suggestions for possible replacement plantings. We found a praying mantis cocoon in the shrub this spring, and it would be nice to find a replacement that's equally hospitable to good creatures like that, but without taking up such a big footprint.
I think the smaller evergreen in the back of the photo will probably stay for now. There's a small raised bed in the middle of the area (currently planted with petunias) that will probably go or get moved. In the front against the fence, we planted some David Austin (Mayflower) roses and catmint (Nepeta Walker's Low) this spring, and the lady's mantle in front of the fence went in about 2 weeks ago. In between the iris and petunias are a couple of delphiniums that will hopefully open up soon. I started them from seed under lights this winter and I am ridiculously excited that I might see a bloom. Thanks in advance for any responses or advice.