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House landscaping help needed desperately

Posted by mopower440 tn (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 29, 12 at 20:54

We put our house here 12 years ago and i had to start from nothing on the landscaping up against the house and today it looks horrible. I dont have a lot of money to throw at this but definately need to make it over and need help with ideas bad as you can see from the picture.lol.I tried that showoff.com but really didnt come up with much. HELP!!

[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y128/mopower440/DSCN0661.jpg[/IMG]


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Try again at the pic


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

It's good that you took a pic that shows the overall front landscaping. I think there is a lot of hidden potential in your home.

A few things that stand out for me is what appears to be a deteriorating pergola. If you can still salvage it, I would stain it perhaps white. If it is to far gone, I'd remove it. As it stands, it's detracting from your front door.

I'm not sure what kind of siding is around the window to the right of the front door but I would definitely paint it with an accent color. It looks interesting but is "hidden".

As far as the landscaping goes, I'd remove all the bushes. It looks like the tree on the left might be salvageable but could you a trim. I'm hoping Yardvaark for your sake sees this as he's done some really great renditions for others and I think he would have some fabulous ideas he might be able to share.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

That is actually a not very old front porch, it is just dirty and needs to be cleaned. Yes, the landscaping definately needs help, sad thing is, i couldnt wait to move out here to landscape it how i wanted, but once i got here, i just made a mess..lol..


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

anyone?


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 31, 12 at 0:21

It's not so horrible as all that. What is it YOU find so horrible about your garden? What is missing, from your perspective?

The shrub that (at least from this angle) appears to be blocking the steps needs to be either removed, or pruned dramatically. It's what I would call a "meatball". Meatball shrubs don't look so good by themselves. They need spaghetti and sauce, so to speak, in order to look appetizing. For example, the shrub in the foreground has a more open structure (but it looks random and lonely, too). Mixing a variety of elements together (different foliage colors, shapes, textures -- fine leaves and big leaves) makes a garden more interesting. Trim back your big round meatballs and add some smaller-size variety, and it could really change the appearance.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 31, 12 at 0:22

It's not so horrible as all that. What is it YOU find so horrible about your garden? What is missing, from your perspective?

The shrub that (at least from this angle) appears to be blocking the steps needs to be either removed, or pruned dramatically. It's what I would call a "meatball". Meatball shrubs don't look so good by themselves. They need spaghetti and sauce, so to speak, in order to look appetizing. For example, the shrub in the foreground has a more open structure (but it looks random and lonely, too). Mixing a variety of elements together (different foliage colors, shapes, textures -- fine leaves and big leaves) makes a garden more interesting. Trim back your big round meatballs and add some smaller-size variety, and it could really change the appearance.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

With the exception of the two large round shrubs at the right end windows, the plants seem to be individuals working alone, not regarding what the others are doing.

Trees help knit the house to the ground, so I like the location of that one on the left. But it looks un-maintained with the low hanging branches blocking too much of the house. I would clean it up and keep it limbed up half its height. Eventually, it will clear the eaves and can be easily maintained there while the top is allowed to grow. Also, get rid of too-wide-spreading trunks and stubs and twigs on its trunk system.

Ditto Cat's advice on the meatball shrub by the porch. Soon it will look like a barrier to entry.

Nothing personally against the conifer by the window, but it's apparent that with growth it will become a detriment to the picture, blocking the window and splitting the house "in half" without reason. I'd get rid of it now.

Nothing against the two large round shrubs at right, but I think they would contribute more to the picture and be much easier to maintain long term if they were converted into multi-trunk, domed trees. I don't know what they are--Yews maybe--but it looks like this is possible.

The big tree at right needs limbing up. Its lower branches are oppressive to the surrounding area and the frontal view.

Extending the foundation plantings with groundcover and perennial beds could make the picture more 3-dimensional, help to tie plantings together and add interest.

The picture is meant to suggest ideas and schemes. There's plenty of opportunity to tweak and reconfigure. For example, where I'm showing something blooming at the right of the center bump-out, it might work as a better place for your clump of cannas.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

There is so much scope here for personal taste to play a role, so many options and so few constraints, that it might be most productive if you were to peruse them yourself and see what appeals to YOU. There are many books and articles on "front yard landscaping" and probably zillions of websites too about "foundation planting" if that is what you are most concerned with; seeing a bunch of examples might help you zero in on the look you want. Do some Google image searches for those terms to start with, or check out landscaping books at the library.

Then if you need help with how to achieve it, a local nursery could probably help you select the right plants or if you have a clearer idea what you want to achieve, I think a forum can help you more.

Karin L


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Though I like Yardvaark's ideas a lot, Karin is right about having a picture in your mind as to what appeals to you.

My personal favorite place to look is on houzz.com. It has thousands of landscaping pictures that you can spend way too much time on (yes, I'm guilty).

Here is a link that might be useful: Foundation Landscaping


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

wow!!! I love yardvarks picture!! only thing is, the 2 big bushes on the right of the house are holleys and i really hate to tear them out. also, want some things that stay green during winter months and also yardvark, can you name the plants you put in the picture so i have some ideas? I would like it to look something like how you made the pic, it is beautiful!!


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Im not picky, i wish i had the money to just hire a landscaper and say, 'make it pretty' and be done because i just dont know what to do..This has been bothering me for years but i have done nothing because i dont know what to do..I have the stone along the house now with the bushes in it but would much rather have mulch but cant use it because of it attracting termites.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

"only thing is, the 2 big bushes on the right of the house are holleys and i really hate to tear them out."

I suggested that you DON'T remove them, but instead convert them into trees for easier maintenance for you and greater interest & compatibility for the house. (So there's at least two things that stay green for the winter.) Here's an example of Burford holly turned into tree. Yours could be similar:

"...but would much rather have mulch but cant use it because of it attracting termites."

If it were true that wood based mulch attracted termite INTO one's home, then most homes in the US would be doomed. I hate to bear the bad news, but termites are already in your yard whether you use stone for mulch, or not. They are as much a part of the ecosystem as ants and there is nothing practical that you can do to rid their yard of them. The good news is that just because they're in your yard does not mean that they will be inside your house. As long as the wood in your house stays dray--no roof leaks, no foundation seepage or trapped condensation--then you have nothing to worry about. But if wood inside your house becomes chronically damp, then termites will enter your home and find it. You can mulch your entire yard with pea gravel, but it won't stop termites from finding your delicious smelling wet wood! Wood-based mulch does not increase the likelihood that termites will infest one's home. Stone-based mulch does not increase the likelihood that one's home will be protected from termites.

"...can you name the plants you put in the picture so i have some ideas?"

I'm trying not to have all the fun! As I draw the picture, I only have a vague, or no idea at all, of what those plants are. I just look at it and ask myself what could they be. In most cases, a given plant in the picture could be any of 10 different things. Part of choosing the right one depends on the physical conditions (light, moisture, etc.) and part of it depends on the specific personality you're trying to interject into the final disposition. I don't know your level of knowledge about plants or your interest in them, but if you have an interest, you might enjoy researching and discovering what you think is the perfect plant to do a specific duty. Luckily, you likely live in a zone where there are bucketloads of great plant choices. Looking at the picture, you see that the three shuttered window sets are underscored by small hedges. Two individual shrubs would make one hedge so that's 6 plants total. It looks like the hedges should be about 3' ht. so one would want to select plants that max out at that height. (For myself, I'd rather wait for a slow growing plant than to choose one that grows too fast and won't stop where wanted. That's too much maintenance!) If a plant is easy to trim and not too fast growing, like Azaleas, I would consider it. The plant would need to tolerate a little shade (this presumes you limb up trees.) For these hedges, you might consider Spiraea bumalda, one of the Cityline Hydrangeas, Dwarf Clethra, Dwarf sweetspire. Or if you want plain evergreen, dwarf yaupon or 'Helleri' holly. The hedges could even be made of some ferns or a tall shade tolerant perennial. If it's shadier at the left windows than the other two sets, then adjust for that in your plant selection so that the plants are happy with the conditions where you put them. Other than that, try to keep some uniformity an organized, cohesive look. For the little hedge surrounding the bump-out, it'd be a similar process, but the plant must tolerate full sun so that opens up additional possibilities of what will work. Potentilla? Or maybe instead of shrubs, you'd prefer a mass of hybrid daylilies, iris or something along those lines. To the right, your Cannas or some ornamental grass clump would work. See what appeals to you. Hosta could go at the base of the holly tree, but so could other shade tolerant perennials that would fit within the 18" - 2' ht. range: Astilbe? Heuchera? The groundcover looks to be about 6" - 8" ht. Look around your area to see what others are using that looks good and stays that height. Talk to the local garden center for more ideas. Lily-of-the-valley? Vinca minor?

Before doing any actual work, you should convert the picture--or as much of it as you like--into a scale plan that you can use as a guide to the planting work you will do. It will allow you to calculate quantities and make sure that things fit the way you want them to before you buy anything or do any work.

Stretch your groundcover $ by learning how to make cuttings of plants. With rooting hormone powder, you can produce hundreds of cuttings right in your yard in a month's time with little effort. Before you plant any groundcover, get control of the weeds first... or you will curse the whole business.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

yardvark, those 3 bushes i currently have in front of the whit bump out are azaleas, the big one on the right is older and the 2 small ones are recent, thats why they are small, so i guess i could leave those and once the other 2 are up in size i could trim all 3 the same height to form the hedge? also, This front of the house does not see much direct sun and does stay mosit longer because of that. also, that area between my walkway and the stone mulch along the house is about 10 feet distance, in your pic, it looks like thats all filled in, is that correct? And you also say get the weeds under control first, how do i do that? Right now, under the stone mulch i have those weed fabrics layed down, they help some but not completely and i have to pull grass and weeds every few weeks. Ok, would you modify the pic a little to help me out by keeping the holleys and trimming them how they need to be, make the 3 azeleas in front of the bump out how they would be when evenly sized and trimmed and being im in zone 7, can you name off what YOu would use for certain plants to make it look like the picture? also, That 10 foot distance between the walkway and stone mulch, if you do mean to fill all that in, should i also stone mulch all that or? sorry for all the questions, i just really need guidance on this and definately dont want to waiste money and screw it all up again.
thanks


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

"...i could trim all 3 the same height to form the hedge?"

If you put them all in the right place. (I presumed they are matched?)

"...in your pic, it looks like thats all filled in, is that correct?"

Si. All filled in with groundcover so that things appear tied together. Vegetative integrity. You will mulch until it fills in with groundcover (or weed generation will be persistent.)

"... get the weeds under control first, how do i do that?"

There are various methods from smothering with newspapers or cardboard & mulching to spraying with herbicide and eventually using pre-emergent herbicides or hand-pulling. Something for everyone. Search the forum for "weed control" and there is also a weed forum for specific questions along those lines. Be forewarned, if you don't control weeds--especially in groundcovers and perennials--you will have a huge sorry mess on your hands.

"...should i also stone mulch all that or?"

NO! That would be a nightmare. Especially if you wanted to make any changes in the future. Use a wood based mulch. See if you can get a truckload of tree-trimming chipped wood for free. Call tree trimmers and power company. It's not the prettiest mulch, but it's adequate and the price is right. Eventually, it will all be covered up by plants.

How to convert shrub form into tree form:

Where the tree is close to the house, the back side of the cone may be flattened.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Yardvaark... excuse me as I'm just home from a party (hiccup) but aren't you... um...repeating yourself? (btw is that you in the picture?) And I'd really like to know what Freudian or non-Freudian factor attracted you to multi-stemmed trees as the universal medicine in the first place? What's your history, so to speak...


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

awesome thanks! I really want your recomendation on a groundcover that wont break the bank and also on the grassy stuff that you have around the tree thats between the 2 windows on the right. Zone 7. Give me your choices on those, or maybe even a few and i will go to lowes and take a look. I know you mentioned a few above, but what would YOU advise?


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

  • Posted by feijoas Temperate New Zealan (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 3, 12 at 6:25

"Yardvaark...what Freudian or non-Freudian factor attracted you to multi-stemmed trees"...
As the young folks say: ROFL!


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

good question timbu


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Mopower, other than the general suggestions for plants I already gave, I think you should solicit information about what grows well in your area, either locally or maybe there's someone here who is knowledgeable about plants in your general area that can chime in. Maybe the shrub and groundcover forums would be a good source. Or report back what you find at Lowe's and get a reaction to it here. You might also take the picture to the garden center and ask for their plant suggestions. (Try to ask someone who knows something.)

The "grassy stuff around the tree" might be a fern or shade tolerant perennial of some sort. One of the problems I have with making recommendations that are too specific is that I can't gauge your exact conditions--especially light--very well. And what you decide on for one place will affect what's adjacent. You need to do a plan. What you might do to get going on the plant selections is buy a few samples of things that seem interesting to you that you think might work. Live with them for a while and evaluate their performance. Since you're somewhat unfamiliar with plants, keep in mind that a plant may perform poorly if you have it in the wrong conditions. Study about the plants you have and see what conditions they like. If any don't do well, adjust their position to see if you can improve their performance.

You're right that groundcover can "break the bank" because it can take a lot of plants to cover a large space. This is why it's good to learn how to propogate them. Back in the spring I got interested in perennial peanut due to a discussion here on the forum. At the beginning of June I bought 3 gallons as a sample and after a couple of weeks in the ground they really took off. As it turned out I liked them so I decided I'd inflict them on my mom's yard for a lengthier evaluation as she has tons of sun and needs a lot of groundcover because of a drainage project. (I have a secret dream of replacing her entire lawn with peanut at some point.) At mid July I cut off all of their new growth and was able to make 200, 8" cuttings. I'll be transplanting them this weekend. That sums up to 450 sq. ft. of groundcover for less than $20! It took me less than 2 hours to make the cuttings and another hour to take care of them over the couple of weeks (but half that time was just ogling!) At the same time I made 60 s.f. of blue daze cuttings and about 20 s.f. of salvia.The point is that there is an easy way to get around some of the plant material costs. It's fun, too!

@ Timbu, If you think the guy in the picture is hot, it's me. :-)

If you don't, it's not. :-(

Though some people like your question about multi-trunk trees, it has an incorrect premise so can't be answered as asked. And it looks like a potential thread hijacker. Maybe you'd want to fix and ask it in a new thread...?


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

yardvark, ok, im getting ready to start the project, now, as far as the grass area between the walkway and the stone mulch up against the house, i want to go ahead and get rid of that grass to get ready for the groundcover, how should i go about doing that, just use roundup?


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Naah, Yard, you're shorter than your partner in that pic...


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Mo, I think I mentioned but am not sure, I usually add Weed-B-Gone or one of the other herbicides that contain 2,4-D to Roundup when spraying. It depends on your weeds, but Round-up alone is ineffective on many. Usually the combination will get them all ... except, notably, nutgrass if you have any of that. Hopefully not. If you have only normal grass, Roundup alone will work. A week after spraying you may want to employ the additional technique of smothering the area with thick layers of slightly overlapped newspaper or a layer of flattened cardboard boxes, covered with mulch... which you plant directly through at some point later, while leaving the layers in place.

Astilbe or Hostas are other plants you could consider below the little tree. Anything that takes shade and doesn't get over 2' (not counting flowers.) Hope you find some exciting things on your shopping exploration.

Timbu, Since kindergarden I have never been called short! I didn't see your question re-vitalized on another thread.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Mo, I think I mentioned but am not sure, I usually add Weed-B-Gone or one of the other herbicides that contain 2,4-D to Roundup when spraying. It depends on your weeds, but Round-up alone is ineffective on many. Usually the combination will get them all ... except, notably, nutgrass if you have any of that. Hopefully not. If you have only normal grass, Roundup alone will work. A week after spraying you may want to employ the additional technique of smothering the area with thick layers of slightly overlapped newspaper or a layer of flattened cardboard boxes, covered with mulch... which you plant directly through at some point later, while leaving the layers in place.

Astilbe or Hostas are other plants you could consider below the little tree. Anything that takes shade and doesn't get over 2' (not counting flowers.) Hope you find some exciting things on your shopping exploration.

Timbu, Since kindergarden I have never been called short! I didn't see your question re-vitalized on another thread.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

good idea! lastly, when i plant the groundcover, which will likely be vinca minor, while waiting for it to completely multiply and fill in, what can i do to keep the grass and weeds from coming back?


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

What other thread? Probably you didn't see it re-vitalized 'cause I'm sober again!


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

(I think yard wanted you to ask your question about the obsession with multi stemmed trees on another thread...)


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

To keep weeds at bay while waiting for groundcover to fill in: eradicate existing weeds well by previously discussed methods. mulch heavily. Weed diligently by spot spraying (very carefully) or hand weeding. Never, never, never let any weeds go to seed or you will be starting over in their vicinity.

With diligent weeding, after the first year new weeds sprouting are reduced dramatically . After the second year, it's even better. After the third, better still. If one keeps up with it like this, weeding becomes minor as the groundcovers fill in. Propagate groundcover material from existing stock to help it fill in even faster.

@ Timbu, drtygrl is correct. If you wanted to talk about multi-trunk trees, I thought you would create the question on a NEW thread so this one didn't get sidetracked.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

what do you mean by not letting weeds go to seed?
also, I think im going to do this project come fall since everyone says its better to plant in the fall, how late in the fall im not sure whats best? also, How long after spraying the grass area with the mix of roundup and weed b gone before its safe to plant in that spot? Trying to get the timing right and preparing for the project.
Thanks again!


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

mopower, when weeds go to seed, you'll see the seedheads on them. Those should be disposed of, not just left on the ground. I use a 2 gallon plant bucket, and when full plop a plastic grocery bag over the top, dump, tie off the bag and get rid of it. Non-seeding weeds can be left in situ, will decompose.

Glad you're enthusiastic about this. You'll love the results.

Rosie, Sugar Hill, GA


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Summer can be hot with infrequent rains. If there are newly installed plants whose root systems have yet to establish, their owner may need to provide water as much as every other day (for small plants) in order for them to keep living. That's a chore. When the cool weather comes, the plants' demand for water drops significantly. Fall planted plants might get by with the initial watering and Mother Nature may take over most of the watering work by providing a few rains... making it much easier for the owner.

Mopower, you need to wait at least one week after spraying, but if you have the time, it would be better to start killing weeds sooner and wait longer. Know that after you kill weeds and unwanted grass, there are (right now) many weed seeds already present waiting to germinate and make new weeds. You could deal with them by the smothering method discussed above, or return a few weeks later for a second kill... before you plant the good plants. Once you start, always honor the rule of not allowing any weeds to bloom and go to seed. Whatever it takes.


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RE: you need a plan drawing

I'm reminding you that you need to make a scale plan drawing of the area you propose to landscape. Just a tidy, measured sketch is all it need be. It will guide what plants you buy, where you put the plants and how many you will need. It should be fairly simple to make as the area is relatively small and uncomplicated. Even if you only doing a part of the project it will help you get it right for each phase. If you don't work out the planting geometry (shape each plant occupies at the ground) it will be confusing on planting day. My favorite tool for converting the plan to the actual site is the long paint marking wand and a couple of cans of flourescent paint. It's not a necessity for a small project but it makes it much easier to visualize and refine the plan as it's being implemented.

Here is a link that might be useful: paint marking wand illustration / $22


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

yardvark, or anyone, on yardvarks makover picture, the 2 holley bushes to the right of the house that are turned into trees, ok, you have what looks like some ornamental grass or something around the one tree, can you give me a few recomendations on that ornamental grass or whatever would fit that? zone 7 and is part shade and somewhat moist.
thanks


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You're talking about below the tree... not below the windows...? If so, astilbe (one color, not mixed) would do it for me. There are other things that will grow 18" to 24" ht., too, and take the conditions. if you want to see, search "shade garden perennials."


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

I dont know, i would prefer something that looks more like the picture, like mondo grass? Im looking but i dont know..any more ideas?


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

It looks more like some kind of fern to me. Nevertheless, Astilbe seems like a more exciting choice. (Also, you didn't answer my question about exactly where, so we may be talking about different locations.)


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Yes i was speaking of the bottom of the tree located between the 2 windows on the right side of the house


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Yardvark

'Quote"\'
Looking at the picture, you see that the three shuttered window sets are underscored by small hedges. Two individual shrubs would make one hedge so that's 6 plants total. It looks like the hedges should be about 3' ht. so one would want to select plants that max out at that height. (For myself, I'd rather wait for a slow growing plant than to choose one that grows too fast and won't stop where wanted. That's too much maintenance!) If a plant is easy to trim and not too fast growing, like Azaleas, I would consider it. The plant would need to tolerate a little shade (this presumes you limb up trees.

Yardvark, I went to the nursery specifically to look for the hedges that will underscore the shuttered windows. I found several that i liked. I will list them and i want you to tell me if i should stay away from any of them and your opinion on what ones are best to worst to use:

golden barberry, crimson pygmy barberry, wintergreen boxwood,winter gem boxwood, compact japanese holley, hellers japanese holley.

If you say they are all ok to use under the windows i will make my choice and go with it but need your opinion on all of them first in case i should stay away from any of them.
thanks
chad


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Chad, lots of people do not like the thorns of Barberry while they're trimming and cleaning up after it, so that's a consideration you can weigh relative to your likings. I'd also stay away form "Golden" colored shrubs for basic foundation plantings. That color looks can look garish or sickly. I think I'd lean toward the 'Helleri' Holly. It's plain, fine textured, durable and easy to keep right-sized. It fulfills the requirements. Other interest and excitement will come from other plants.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Thanks Yardvark, i never thought about the thorns on the barberry. what about the boxwoods? I really like the looks of the boxwoods..


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Plants in this position are not the kind of plants you get close to and have an orgasm because of it. They're plain nice shapes that correspond to architectural features and make the overall scene prettier. You might think of them for a while as green styrafoam. So Boxwood or Holly, it's almost a coin toss. But when I lived in boxwood country I found it was somewhat disease prone. It also grows fairly large... faster than a 'Helleri' Holly. Maybe where you live Boxwood has no issues. Maybe you're okay with somewhat more trimming. If you really love it, and it's trouble free there, and you can adapt to its needs, go ahead and use it. (It might get larger than you are being led to believe. Do a little research on it via internet.)


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

"I dont know, i would prefer something that looks more like the picture, like mondo grass? Im looking but i dont know..any more ideas?"

It looks like variagated liriope (mondo or monkey grass) to me. too. If you decide to use liriope, try to get muscari type, not spicata -- spicata spreads a little too enthusiastically. They both grow well in Tennessee ... Memphis, anyway.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Boxwoods come in every size imaginable, including migits with a growth rate of about .25 inches per year, rarely maturing above 2ft. Sure, if you just grab a generic at the box store it might get 6ft tall, but there are quite a few that fit your size needs.

And the reverse is true for hollies. They, too, come in every size and shape. Like 'Sky pencil' which is as tall and narrow as its name suggests. And some of the old hollies will stick you with just as much of a prick as any barberry. You really need to research to know exactly what the plant you are purchasing can be expected to do. Then, sometimes, they surprise you anyway.


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RE: House landscaping help needed desperately

Wellspring, maybe you could help Chad out and recommend a slow growing, disease resistant boxwood that would be easy to keep at 3' ...?


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