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New House need Landscape Advice

Posted by jesslovesreg KY Zone 6 (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 13, 10 at 13:22

Hi everyone,
I used to post here a lot in the PNW forum, but the military moves us around a lot. I am finally able to start gardening again - this time in Kentucky.
I need advice on what to do to the front of the house to make it look special. Right now it looks like every other house on the block.

Our house looks just like a mirror image of this. The color is a little cooler (less warm ;) in person.
This area gets morning sun and shade for the rest of the day.
I was thinking of adding an annabelle hydrangea to the center in that empty space between the two windows, about 5 francee hosta along the length of the bed, and impatiens in front. I also wanted to change the shape of the bed, maybe give it a curved shape to have more planting space along the side walk and bring the far end out to plant a flowering tree - I may even extend the bed around the side of the house?
What do you think of these ideas, or what would you do to brighten up this space?

I also have questions about planting. The backyard has lots of rocks in clay soil. I'm assuming the front is the same. This bed in front has a layer of mulch over a weed mat. Should I move aside the mulch, remove the weed mat, till in some composted manure, and then plant and replace the mulch - or can I just dig through what's there and place plants?
TIA - J


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New House need Landscape Advice

Well, to be blunt, I'm guessing that what you're suggesting will make the house look more generic, not less. That's mainly because you're talking about only foundation planting vs. anything else on the property, but also because there doesn't strike me as being anything unusual about the foundation planting you have in mind (not, by the way, that I know anything about foundation plantings in Kentucky; just guessing here).

Not that there's really anything wrong with generic. It takes a lot less energy than "special" does. There isn't actually anything wrong with the plan you've proposed (except I don't like the central placement of the hydrangea, but that's minor). Mind you, I'm also not clear on whether, if this is not in fact a photo of your house, you have those little boxwoods or yews there, or whether the sum total of your proposed foundation planting is the plants you've mentioned. If the latter, then I do think you need some more substantial evergreen plants.

Given the north? facing exposure, I'd think you're not going to get the greatest performance out of plants placed at the foundation in any case, plus I don't see that this house needs foundation planting necessarily. One of the neat things about its generic look is that it is exactly that - neat - and unless the garden has real substance, it's just going to look like distractions messing up the clean lines.

Something about this scene makes me want to put rocks in it - I dunno whether big boulders or just a rock-edged bed - and I think I would want to garden further out in the yard, not just at the foundation. That's really just an opinion; I don't have any real reason for that except perhaps it reflects my taste in gardening. Or maybe it's to balance the driveway.

For the planting question, if by "weed mat" you mean landscaping fabric, I would pull it up. If it's something biodegradable that will break down in time, then I would leave it.

Finally, is that a light on the opposite side of the mailbox? What a great idea!

KarinL


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RE: New House need Landscape Advice

Hi, I keep seeing this in landscapes on new builds. The beds are too small. You have a great opportunity here. Follow the natural lay of the area. If you plant anything along the drive keep it low. It is an access that needs to be considered with some thought. Pulling in and out of the drive you need to have a clear vision. This can be achieved with lower plantings that lead to the larger ones closer to the home. It can flow in a nice way. On the corner of the house do an upright to give some height and under plant with low growing shrubs or perinnials to give a skirting effect. This could be an upright Juniper or Arbrovitae. Skirt with a some Barberry or Spirea or other planting material. I know that sounds kind of old but it is tried and true, however it does serve it's purpose. As far as the Hydrangea; if you like it go for it. Annebelle has the potential to get large, however the Endless Summer and the Twist and Shout are smaller and quite nice as well. When adding Hosta also consider under planting with Astilbe as well as the Impatients mentioned. The Evergreens can be used for accent and also give year long depth. Is this the only area that you want to landscape? Keep in mind that the bed here is small. Do consider making them larger than the three feet that I'm seeing in the picture. Hug the hardscape of the step and walk way. I personally like to make the beds atleast five feet to six feet to give the home more depth and interest. And layer for the same reason. To me when the beds are at the three foot width I feel that the landscaping at this point becomes and after thought. I hope this helps because you have a terrific opportunity to get some great curb appeal with structure and color.


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