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Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Posted by Dottybean Texas (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 22, 12 at 0:01

Hi! We are new to texas and hot climate gardening. Our front yard is pretty much as the builders left it when we moved in. The yard is north facing, the beds are in shade for half the day and in full sun late on. WE dont have a sprinkler system so weould like to use drought tolerant planting but would also love to do some kind of hardscaping to add some interest. Would love any and all input. If I need to post more pictures or give more information just let me know. Thanks in advance!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/77487706@N07/?saved=1#

Here is a link that might be useful: Front of house needing inspiration


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

I selected some drought tolerant plants,hope you like.
Photobucket


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RE:5 Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Photobucket


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Welcome to Texas. I'm in Central Texas, and I have much the same light conditions in my back yard as in your front. Full sun plants aren't happy, and shade lovers fry. I might be able to make a few suggestions for plant selection, but it would be helpful to know your planting zone and soil type.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Dottybean, if you grow the tree out a little, you'll see that the lower branches will hang down. They'll not only be physically in your way, but they'll block the view of the house face. It's much better to ANTICIPATE this undesired growth of the lower branches and remove them while they are the smallest and the job is easiest. Waiting only means that the job will be bigger and gives the undesired growth a chance to compete and conflict with growth you don't want to remove yet... and increases it's chances of causing it to grow in a disfigured manor. Removing the lower branches pushes further growth into the upper branches where it's much more likely to be desired. Wait to cut off the branches as a REACTION to their overgrown size and you'll be cutting off twice as much (as what's there now) two times a year.

I "sense" a strong need for some kind of a tree at L. side drive. Is there space for one?

Seems that there might be a place for a Crape Myrtle off to the right of the house, but from this picture I can neither tell nor show. Cannot see enough of R. side.

You can barely seen in my sketch, but I'd consider widening the sidewalk with pavers (or something a little more decorative than concrete) where it approaches the stoop. A soldier course of pavers at both sides of walk could extend to the city sidewalk

Annuals at either side of stoop flanked by a groundcover bed (could be perennial and colorful) would not cover up the windows and shutters. (I have an urge to curve the groundcover bed forward toward the viewer at the right side as it progresses away from the stoop, but I cannot do it with this photo.)

I don't know if this grows where you are (maybe whitecap or melvalena could chime in) but perennial peanut, Arachis glabrata, is becoming very popular here (Florida) as a low maintenance (no mow) drought tolerant lawn substitute. It's a groundcover that grows about 6" high... looks like "an Irish meadow" in the springtime. Tolerates high heat and humidity. It is said that it can be kept at only 1 1/2" ht. by infrequent mowing.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Yardvaark, I really appreciate the time you have put into this. I love the soldier course you have added, it also helps get rid of some of the stupid strips of grass in those odd shaped areas at the front of the picture. I also really like that you made the pad area in front of the bench, with the smaller bed on the side of the house with the tree. I will definitely trim the tree as you suggest, that tree has always bothered me a little, with the roots already coming up through the grass.

I had thought about the possibility of something climbing to the driveway side of the house, around the window, or maybe even adding shutters to that lower window for balance, what do you think?

When we first moved here we were not very happy with the st augustine sod, and being from the other side of the pond, seeded with rye grass as we were used to.....well, it looked lovely until the temps went up to around 80 and it fried....then we figured out why everyone has st augustine! I am very interested in the perrenial peanut lawn substitute, will have to look into that. Is there any grass that we can start from seed that will tolerate our conditions? (Much research when we first arrived, did not find one at that time)

Our soil is heavy clay, with some at the front driveway side, being smelly and very heavy despite us removing the original soil and replacing it with a planting mix. We are in zone 9A with frosts possible from the end of november to march first. I would love any and all input. I fancied myself as an amateur gardener back home, and was always out there in my immaculate garden, but here in texas I dont know where to start, so have really neglected the yard entirely. Would love all your help and guidance to change things back around. Thanks all!


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

I think the shutter would help. I'd add them down and up (since you already have them on the other upstairs window.

I could see exploring the idea of placing a 3' wide trellis at the far left corner of the house. It would be perpendicular to the house and go right at edge of drive. Could be good for Clematis or climbing rose or something. (Nothing that could cling to brick.)

Overseeding with Rye is an idea I've discarded decades ago. I'm in the same zone and here we can seed Bahia, but I've never seen a stand that looks good close up after a time. It's too sparse looking. The perennial peanut is a great look. Google some of the images. You'd want to make sure you dealt with any weed problems ahead of putting in any groundcover.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Perennial peanut sounds a little adventurous to me. I'm confident you won't see much of it in your area. It's said to die back to the ground with frost, but you couldn't prove it by me, one way or the other. One reason you see so much St. Augustine down here is because we crave shade, and it's the most shade tolerant turf grass. That tree appears to be a live oak and, if you keep it limbed up, it will become "stately" before you know it, giving both you and the lawn some welcome relief from afternoon sun.

You're in a more temperate zone than I, with a broader plant selection available to you. Here in Central Texas, the only other widely used turf grass, and the only one easily started by seeding, is bermuda. It doesn't much care for shade. My front lawn, which faces south, transitions from shaded St. Augustine to full sun bermuda.

Are you familiar with plumbago? It's a lovely fern shaped plant with profuse light blue blooms, and prefers a little shade. It would usually be evergreen in your zone, and can be easily maintained at the desired height. It is classified as "drought tolerant." Other such plants are pavonia, Blackfoot daisy, bi-color iris and Mexican heather. I suspect your light conditions might be a little borderline for the salvias, but you could try.

I think you will find the most drought tolerant shrubs to be the family of nandinas (ranging in height from 2 to 9 ft.), the native yaupon hollies (you will see dwarf yaupons everywhere), elaeagnus, barberry, photinia (I water mine perhaps once or twice during the summer) and viburnum suspensum. Many of these are criticized for being "overplanted" but, in this climate, you venture from the clearly marked path into the unknown at your peril.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

whitecap2, can you elaborate a little on your "transition from st augustine to bermunda?" Do you mean the transition from season to season or literally you have st augustine in shady areas and bermuda in the full sun areas?

I did look at the perennial peanut and could not find a local grass farm that has it, so I'm guessing its a no go for me. I also think it would be hard to pass through the HOA....

Yardvaark, Im interested in your trellis idea, on that corner of the house next to the driveway, coming out from the house alongside the driveway. I'm going to try some software to mock up some ideas (what software do you use for your pictures?) I also liked your idea of a small tree on the left side, but not sure where to place it. The other side of the driveway we only have a little strip of approx 2 feet before it becomes our neighbors property.

heres a couple of extra pictures to give a better idea of scale. thanks again for all your help guys.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/77487706@N07/7103924735/ right side of front yard.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/77487706@N07/7103925387/in/photostream/ driveway side.

Here is a link that might be useful: driveway side


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

The latter. The transition is reasonably seamless.

The tree in your most recent photos does not appear to be a live oak. It could be a Monterrey white oak, but I can't tell. It needs some serious pruning.

Those little islands of grass near the sidewalk are going to be a real pain in the neck to water. Might be a good location for some Asian jasmine or, assuming sufficient direct light, a juniper ground cover.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

I am definitely going to look at seeding with bermuda in the sunny spots. (The back yard is a HUGE expanse of brown St Augustine thanks to last years drought.) I will be looking at all the plant suggestions when I get to go to a nursery some time soon.

The pruning of the tree will be first on the list of things to get done.

I have made a start on drawing up a design based on some of the suggestions here. Please feel free to offer critique/ suggestions. Thanks again!

Here is a link that might be useful: Take 1 redesign


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Keep in mind that Bermuda planted from seed will not be the same nice "golf course" grass that comes from sod. It's a little rangy but does work well for tough situations.

I don't think you would find perennial peanut at a "grass farm." You'd find it at certain landscape nurseries.
Even though it's been around for some time in various uses, it's use in the landscape industry is relatively new . Many people here have never heard of it, however I am seeing it more all the time. Year before last we had the coldest weather dropping down into upper teens for several nights. I was intermittently around a relatively new (and large) patch of perennial peanut and never noticed it suffering. (I was not scrutinizing, just casual notice. But generally, anything like that catches my eye.) The following month, in February, I was close up to it every day and it looked great. When the weather warmed it had loads of bloom and was a rich green. Nice, dense and soft like you would want to roll in. It is only a year or two old. I did notice in one article that it grows in all of Florida and the southern half of every Gulf state. Where is Dottyland? I couldn't venture what your HOA would say about it. But as water gets more expensive, I'm sure we'll be seeing many places open up to ideas other than grass. Many people with small yards here have a $200/ month water bill!

I use MS Paint for illustration. The Help menu explains all the tools. (Being resistant to asking for "help", I preferred to struggle and take many months to learn how to use them. Finally just got that cut and paste thing!)

You have the general idea of the trellis. Given it's position is important, I'd custom build a high quality one and tie it to the house scheme... painted white to match the trim and it should have some decorative elements to it. Some sharply pointed caps & chamfered corners would look nice. I would set posts in ground, not attach to house.

In your mock-up, I don't think the purple flowering tree (front left) will work there. Just not enough room. It will make the driveway seem too confined and a delivery person will hit it.

If I lived there, the only way that I'd want that large square shrub at the far right (in front of windows) would be if it was allowed to grow above the roof and into a tree. As a shrub, it's adding negative. As a tree, it could as positive.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

I've been seeing pieces of bermuda sod, about 24"x18" offered at places like Home Depot. I assume this is the higher quality bermuda (Tifway, I think it's called.) I've just set out some pieces of St. Augustine, and am told that, with sufficient water, I can expect to see it spread 5 ft. or more. Don't know about bermuda sod.

I wonder if an Esperanza might not be kept shaped to fit within that little space by the walk. Probably evergreen, in your area, and drought tolerant.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

The st augustine will spread...eventually. It sends out runners that will fill the space over a large amount of time. People advised us to "checkerboard" pieces of st augustine sod to fill a large space, trouble with that is that you end up with an uneven surface (Tall where there is sod, and dips down where its filled in.) Its a long process.

I looked at the espiranza, I think that would make a nice fill for that stupid piece of grass, maybe with a tall rock or something in the middle?


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Dottybean,

I think you'll get lots of suggestions from people who know your area and growing conditions if you post your photo and questions on the Texas Forum.

Be sure to state what part of Texas you are in to get the best answers.

Oh, and I've never heard of the peanut ground cover.. will have to research it some more...wish it worked for shaded areas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Forum


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

I set out about 20 pieces of St.Augustine in my front yard a month ago, to replace grass I lost to fungus or something. I guess you're supposed to loosen the soil deep enough that you can work the sod down flush with the surface of the yard. It didn't take me long to decide life's just too short for that. I just roughed up the soil a bit and pressed the pieces down with my number 14's. I'm spreading topsoil around the edges, to "feather it out" some. I thought the hard part would be keeping it from drying out, but this turned out to be the easy part. I ran one of those new, flat, woven PVC soaker hoses through the middle (more or less) of each piece, and the water spreads laterally enough to keep it all damp. It's now a good 5" tall.

Esperanza can be quite bushy, and I don't know that it would need any help filling that space.I suspect it will need a good 6 hours of direct sun.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

I am still working on the design part of the project for right now. The Texas forum is a great resource once I know what I want to do. I was hoping you design guru's could get me started with ideas for what to actually do with the space first.

I like yardvaarks ideas with the trellis and widening the path near the bench. Have been wandering my own neighborhood for ideas too. Just not quite sure what else the space needs. I would like to try to include some edibles in there (Have tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini etc in the back) some blue berries or fruits of some kind might be nice in the front intersperced with ornamental plants. I also do like the idea of another tree somewhere, maybe a fruit tree (?) but not sure exactly where. Any ideas?


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

"I was hoping you design guru's could get me started with ideas for what to actually do with the space first."

You might have left your initial statement a little too open by asking for "any and all input" What is it that you're trying to achieve? Ideas not in concert with your goals will be useless to you.

"I also do like the idea of another tree somewhere, maybe a fruit tree (?) but not sure exactly where. Any ideas?"

The existing Oak is going to dominate your entire relatively small front yard in not all that many years. There could be a need for another tree on the L. side of drive, but to have it you're probably going to have to give it to your neighbor as a gift in the hopes that they'll plant it nearby. At the right side of your house (what can't be seen in the straight-on photo) MIGHT be a place to put a small tree, but you haven't given enough information (picture) about that side of your yard for anyone to know. The tall shrub in front of right side of your house looks like it would have no trouble becoming a small tree but you're trimming it in a way it can't. Where you show a tree in your view, that spot is too small and too close to drive. At the left side of the front lawn (the other side of your private walk from where the Oak is) you could put another tree like the Oak (as they would be tightly mingling and Oak trees eat fruit trees.) But that spot is really too small and planting a tree there would pretty much guaranty the eventual uplifting of your walk and drive. Other than those places, where is there a place for a tree?


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Are you seeing any citrus trees on your walkabouts? I know little about them, since they're not cold hardy here, but I suspect many of them would do well in 9b. Some of them don't get very big, and might fit well into that space between the walk and driveway (do I sense a frown of disapproval here?). Pineapple guava might be another candidate. As for the area to the left of the driveway, I suspect your neighbor would have little objection to the siting of an appropriate tree there, particularly if you undertook to do the necessary edging and whatnot.

I wonder if your southern exposure might not be more suited to the production of berries and the like. I think blueberries require highly acidic soil.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Just looking for ideas is all. I did post more pictures to show both sides of the yard. As I said, I didnt have an idea of where to start, I like the widened walkway by the bench and the trellis and am planning on pruning the tree this coming weekend. Will try to encourage the square shrub to be more "tree like."

If this were your yard would you do any other hardscaping or just planting?

Thanks!


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Might I ask where your visitors park, and where they enter the house?


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Visitors park on the driveway behind our cars. Almost all pedestrian traffic into the house is through the back door.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Yes, I suspected you wouldn't want people walking across the lawn from the driveway to the front door, with grass clippings (and worse) clinging to their shoes.

If you're not particularly taken with the idea of a peanut lawn, I don't see much in play here to hold water usage to a minimum. I appreciate the fact that "the traditional," in the quest for novelty, is much deprecated nowadays, but I wonder if a "traditional" flanking of the walk with beds (easily watered with soaker hoses) might not deserve a passing glance. Such a bed, to the right of the path, might artfully be made one with the bed around the tree. A "traditionalist" might also be tempted to substitute a nice yew tree for that trellis, particularly if there isn't quite enough direct light for a blooming vine.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

D, Your pictures don't show the right side of the house. And you might want to provide a closer picture that shows how the existing shrub (would-be tree) relates to the house and and enables it to be identified. (Better to imbed the pictures right into the post than provide just a link.)

If just openly asking "for ideas," because its a small front yard, I assume general landscaping to improve street appeal. But with the mention of growing food and just wanting more ideas, I sense you're after something additional, other than conventional landscaping.

What other type of hardscape are you toying with in your thoughts... wall, walk, patio? It's hard to second guess what you might want. I've suggested the trellis and expanding the walk. But what else interests you? There's not much point in proposing off-the-wall suggestions like add a "wishing well" or something. You still haven't stated your actual objectives and there's little point to just collecting random ideas that don't achieve anything. If objectives are so vague in your own mind that you can't articulate them, then it would be helpful for you to at least respond to the ideas given. That's another way of providing direction. For some things you have provided no feedback.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

I couldn't figure out how to embed the pictures in the post (sorry)
I am just looking to make the house look more appealing from the street, to enhance the house if you like. BUT if I can add in edibles in the process, all the better, but not essential by any means.

I appreciate everyones input.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

I have told Yardvaark,some computers work,but other some computers can't open his embed the pictures.
Maybe need especial program to open " embed pictures",some computers have not these program.
Any computers always can open the pics that he upload in Photobucket.com.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Perhaps not all readers are aware that "edible landscaping," seen as a way of reconnecting with the land, has become quite the rage in the U.K.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

To imbed a picture into your message, copy the html code (for full size, not thumbnail) and paste it into your message. To acquire the code, go to your picture on Flickr and follow steps one and two....

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
By yardvaark at 2012-04-14


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Whitecap2, I am actually from the UK, I guess we are just used to making good use of every square inch! I really wish I could grow rhubarb in my area!

Yardvaark, Ill give it another try, thanks!

Heres the driveway side:
driveway side

and the right side of the front yard:
right side


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

No blueberries and rhubarb for you. No reason you couldn't dedicate a sunny corner to agricultural peanuts, though.

As you may have noticed, our developers and builders are most adroit at utilizing "every square inch."


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Dottybean, very good. You've done it! But what I'm wanting a picture of is taken from the right, behind the oak tree.

No complaint here about incorporating food producing plants into the yard. It's just that whatever you're after, don't keep it a secret to be revealed later. Also, did you say what part of Texas?

Here's some of the things you haven't responded to: seasonal color at both side of entrance?... shrubs below windows?... circular bed below tree?

"...I guess we are just used to making good use of every square inch!",/i>

Does this mean that you are looking for much more "fullness" to the look?

Designoline, the upload process doesn't rely on a computer program. It's a factor of the photo-hosting site. But I think they all offer access to the html code. Or people could just use a different host.

Whitecap, if you have any interest in personally researching perennial peanut for your area, I would be happy to locate a small sample and send... no charge. It looks like the farther one is west or north in Texas, the more "iffy" it becomes. If you are, just click on my name and send an email.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

I may well give that a go before I give up and convert to pea gravel and that weird, spiky stuff extracted from the more desolate regions of West Texas.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

We are on the north side of Houston, zone 9 I believe (although I could swear it used to be 8...did they change them?) I will try to get you another picture this evening.

I like the idea of seasonal color in both beds, either side of the door, (I thought that was a given, sorry I wasn't clear.) I will probably leave the hedge type shurbs under the right side window just for a little uniformity with the neighboring houses. I do agree that the shrub to the right would be nicer if allowed to grow in more of a tree shape, our yard guys (Grass cutting only, usually) actually squared it off like that, Ill have to try to ask them not to next time (my spanish permitting!)
I also like your idea of a circular bed below the tree, but want to address the mulch volcano issue as its not good for the tree. I think I read somewhere that I could put a kind of collar around the trunk of the tree and then move the mulch away? When I have tried to plant under there previously, I have not had much luck and plants died quickly, but the "soil" is much less clay like now after a few seasons of mulchings.
By using every square inch, I was referring to growing edibles amongst the ornamentals really, although I loved my cottage garden in the UK, I worry about planting so densely here because of snakes and critters, I cant see them (and thus avoid them) as easily in the denser areas. I used to grow hostas, ferns, montbretia, verbena, daffodills, tulips, crocusses, allyssum, pansies as well as potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower, brussels sprouts etc in the UK, but find a whole new set of rules here, along with a demanding job which gives me a lot less time in the yard.

I dont really fancy growing peanuts, but maybe I could put a few cucumbers or peppers in and amongst but my main goal is just to make it look more cared for and appealing and maybe add some hardscaping for aesthetics too. I also want to get rid of that stupid small patch of grass right next to the driveway (Almost shaped like texas) The problem is, and this is why I posted here in the first place, I was at a loss for what to do, didn't really have any particular goal or look in mind. Sorry to be so vague....


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"...put a kind of collar around the trunk of the tree and then move the mulch away?" You would not need to add a "collar." Just dig/scrape the mulch away from the trunk and level it out to make it look better. I don't know what kinds of plants you've tried under it before, but it would not be the kind of place to put in plants that require digging and fussing with. It just needs a tough perennial/groundcover that can accept no soil preparation and eventually get thick enough to keep the weeds down. Some of the plants that are commonly used for that here are Southern sword fern (Nephrolepsis cordifolia) and Oyster plant (Tradescantia spathacea)...it's the first picture. They're both VERY tough. The oyster plant will freeze, but it quickly recovers as soon as the weather warms. You might consider enlarging the bed another foot. Make sure anything you plant gets water until it is established.

"I dont really fancy growing peanuts..." Not trying to push perennial peanut on you, but just for clarification, it's not the peanut you would eat. It's a groundcover. Originally brought here in 1936 as a forage crop and with the introduction of lower growing cultivars (6") it has moved from agriculture to landscape. It just happens to look very pretty and withstand heat and drought. It doesn't need fertilizer or have pest problems and it's not invasive. And it can even be mowed if one wants a manicured look.

In my earlier rendition I gave "the basics." Your yard could stand to be livened up with some flowers. I don't know how you feel about a plants below the left windows, but there (where I put the low hedge) I could also see a tough blooming perennial like Gaura lindheimeri. It come in green foliage with white flowers or reddened foliage with pink flowers. It's the 2nd picture. I could also see a bed being bowed out there like a bay window.

Since you're from the UK I just want to say thanks for the gift of English ivy... one of my all time favorite plants. Oh, and the E. muffins, too. They're the best!


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The Florida Invasive Pest Plant Council probably has a contract out on you.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Not for Texas rec's. I'm safe.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Seeing those pines in the background, I had surmised that Dottybean might be situated close to Houston. Since she's north of Houston, she's probably closer to zone 8b than 9, so my various plant suggestions are best forgotten.

The images of oyster plant in 'vaark's front yard are strikingly handsome, but this variety of Tradescantia might be a bit cold tender for North Houston. The preferred variety here would probably be Tradescantia pallida, Purple Heart. It's so widely planted, however, that it probably wouldn't serve as a proper element of a landscaping "fashion statement."

I still think a walkway between the driveway and the walk leading to the front door is needed. Most Houstonians, being the very souls of social decorum, wouldn't dream of proceeding from the driveway to the rear entrance, without an express invitation to do so. (Too, they might think it a good way to get shot.) Instead, they will pull up into the driveway and stride across the lawn, in their boots, to the front door.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Whitecap, you are funny. That is hardly my front yard. It's a resort in south Florida. A clutter of trees in my opinion but it shows what a pretty tutu oyster plant makes. And no plant could be easier. In central Florida it gets freeze damaged but recovers quickly. I think we're roughly equivalent to Houston. Pallida could be a contender but its appearance seems more rambunctious and less tidy looking looking to me.

I did not yet acknowledge a walk connecting entrance and driveway, but I agree with you that it would be, functionally, a plus and could be made to look fine. Dottybean has been asking for more hardscape to do, so there it is.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

heres the extra pictures you requested
photo 46

photo 45

And here are a couple of pictures that show the type of look I'm after with planting. I would appreciate some help with plant names that might give me this kind of look with minimal water needs.
Profusion-of-drought-tolerant-perennials-and-grasses1

images

Still working on my drawings, but I will let you see what I have when its done, I appreciate everyones time, and although I might not post a response to every suggestion, I consider every one of them and do my own research based on your suggestions.

Thanks again!


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"...the type of look I'm after with planting."

My dear I must say it's been pulling teeth to finally see what you are after. There is nothing you've said previously that would indicate that this is where you want to go. There is no reason to keep your desires concealed as it probably lessens the chance of the right people jumping in here helping you.

In regard to the large shrub that could become a tree (not sure what it is, maybe Podocarpus) I'm meaning that it would do a lot more for the house if it was 15' tall and limbed up so that when looking out the window, the canopy was above one's head and one was looking through the "screen" of its trunks. Keep it multi-trunk as that is the only practical conversion possible. Your house looks naked of any tree-like plants connecting its upper reaches to earth and giving it a nestled-in feeling. To begin the process, you would strip the foliage, twigs & lateral branches away from the upright (greater vertical than 45*) trunks... to 50% of plant height. No cutting at top or only minimal to shape.

Hopefully, you will be ruthless in raising the canopy of the oak this weekend.

Good luck!


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There comes a point at which one must come to terms with one's soil and climate because, in the end, they always prevail. I wonder if you might not find it instructive to devote a day to touring the River Oaks area. You will find there nothing like your "inspirational" images, and this is hardly because the the owners of these lavish properties are ignorant of the beauties of Tuscany, Umbria and the Northern Lakes. It is because even Old Money cannot transcend the limitations imposed by environment.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Whitecap, I hope you are working on a good novel!


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

As I mentioned very early on in this thread, I am new to the country and gardening in this climate, that is why I was asking for help. Everyone has to start learning from the beginning.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Whitecap--oh, yes, you can, too! Just because people DON'T doesn't mean they CAN'T.

Pampas grass grows GREAT there. Saw palmettos and yucca can actually give a lush look in the right context. Chatruese liriope. Creeping phlox. Perennial dianthus. Lantana goes bonkers. Nepeta "Walker's Low" would PROBABLY do. Moonbeam coreopsis. Galliarda. Daylilies--as much for the vegetation as the bloom. Elephant ear. Some super-hardy bananas. Artemisia should do. Russian sage. Fill in with periwinkle and dusty miller (pinch back all attempts at DM flowering). Crepe myrtle, too, and oleander. Then sow some zinnias where they can go bonkers--pull them out when frost kills them.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Dotty, don't get too bent out of shape. I'm only griping (moderately) because it took 39 posts before you finally revealed that you are after a lush, lavish perennial rock garden botanical paradise. I am so not the person to offer that kind of help and if you'd revealed that early on, many of the people who could help you might have plunged right in on it. If you review the thread, you see I had the sense you wanted something more... and was begging you--like pulling teeth--for direction about it. You answer was, Oh no... I just want it nice. Just some plain nice landscaping.... when you really want something entirely different. I think you stood in the way of your own goals. Listen, there are no hard feelings, but if you want advice that's appropriate to your desires, don't be evasive or withhold pertinent information. Some of the people who might contribute may well have stopped following the thread if it was going in a boring plain landscape direction that interested them less. You might consider starting the thread over with a brief explanation of what material you don't want to re-hash (if it was resolved here) and then go on from there. Those last two pictures should be in your first post. Sometimes it's not as easy to get on the right path here as we'd like. Don't worry about it. Just move on.

I'm sure you can grow some lovely things there and get some semblance of what you're after. Whitecap's advice to look at what's around the area will probably be the best way to get a sense of the limitations.

Now you get out there and trim that tree, girl, like you mean it!


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

The Piave was cold that morning, and we knew the Austrians had been reinforced during the night . . . .


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Literary career

Historical even!!! Do announce the release when it happens.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

BTW, I just noticed you said that you want drought-tolerant because you don't have an irrigation system.

One word on this:

NO.

Not in Houston.

You're going to be growing St. Augustine. It needs watering, FAITHFUL watering in the summer. If you let it go brown in the summer, it is dead and gone forever.

So water it. And you might as well water your perennials, too. They'll do better--even the drought-tolerant ones.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Thanks everyone, Ill post an"after" picture for you when I'm done


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

The mists briefly parted to reveal, near the opposite bank, a richly textured landscape, with foliage arching and cascading like the plumage of exotic birds, highlighted against craggy boulders. It reminded me of the villa I had once visited with Lillie. And there, in the middle, was a garden with, could it be? Yes, a cluster of blueberry bushes, and cucumber mounds. "I shall pick a few blueberries," I thought, "if we make it to the other side." "Nicholas!" Sgt. Giordano shouted. "We must go faster! The fog is lifting!"


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Nothing I love better than a historical thriller richly spiced with horticultural intrigue!


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

I knew that Konrad, my strapping friend from Innsbruck, would be over there somewhere, hunkered down against our artillery. No one more "kaisertrue" than Konrad. He had been a gifted landscape artist, before the war, but had had a difficult time of it. His work just wasn't "frothy" enough for the Viennese. No, his tastes ran more to classical restraint and understatement. "Funereal," some had sniffed. "For God's sake man, hurry! Do you think you're fly fishing back in Michigan?"


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Honestly, ROLF!!!

But one cannot blame the Viennese too much for their fluffy frothy tastes. The influence of nearby Wienerwald is profound.


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Tryouts for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest?


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

Photobucket


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RE: Front Yard in need of Inspiration

"Across the river and into the trees," I mused, "denotes a maneuver much easier written about than executed."


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