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Gardenscaping assistance

Posted by Reese87 CA (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 3:30

Hello all! Im reese! Newbie in need of assistance! (: im trying to make my front yard look like a beautiful tropical paradise! so i have bought alot of plants hoping to get the garden scaping just right. for some reason i just cant get my plants mixed right. i dont know if i have too much going on with too many plants, or not enough, or if theyre just mixed poorly. i know when garden scaping you have to mix colors and textures well for it to look good. But im lost. Any help would be greatly appreciated! The plants i have are

Birds of paradise
Red star cordyline
Hibiscus
Canna lily tropicana
Canna lily black (i think is what theyre called)
White bird of paradise
Hibiscus tree (yellow blooms)
I have a couple elephant ears (upright)
Gerbera daisy
And a couple other plants i could give or take that are in there.

I only have one picture up cuz im not sure how to post more than 1 photo just yet. Ill try and post more pics asap


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Gardenscaping assistance

Ill take more frontal pics tomorrow


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RE: Gardenscaping assistance

Please take a picture that is level and back from a distance ... where you can see the whole front of the house and space to each side. If you need to pan the camera (for multiple pictures) to see the space at the sides, that's not a problem.

Based on your pictures so far, it seems that the planting bed is too shallow of depth (front to back of bed.) It won't be long before the plants overwhelm the space and appear as if they're trying to bust out of the beds. The bird of paradise would be better moved into the background instead of being right next to the porch and in front of the window. Most of these things are going to get larger than you think. Also, it is quite a collection of plants, which doesn't allow for much size for any of them. You might have too much going on in too small of a space. But let's get that better picture and see.


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Pic 1

This post was edited by Reese87 on Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 14:53


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Pic 2


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Pic 3


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Pic 4


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Pic 5


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Pic 6

This post was edited by Reese87 on Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 17:31


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Pic 7

This post was edited by Reese87 on Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 17:34


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Pic 8

This post was edited by Reese87 on Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 17:17


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Pic 9 last pic.

This post was edited by Reese87 on Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 17:37


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Thats everything. I think. Lol! Im gonna take down the bushes in the front and on the side. No one in the house likes them. I think im also gonna make the uard a little more curvy? i notice that always looks nice.

Thank you for your help! How do i make the bed look less shalllow. My mother in law left us this house. she did the whole front yard it looks much better than it did before but i dont know where to begin to make it have more curb appeal.

This post was edited by Reese87 on Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 18:00


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RE: Gardenscaping assistance

Is that a rose standard I see in front of the window?
A picture taken from the side walk of the whole house is needed.


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I hope i got it covered! I changed some pictures in the past comments, and put some up of the whole house instead! i hope those work better! If not i will take some more.

The tree infront of the window is a hibiscus bush


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RE: Gardenscaping assistance

Reece,the pictures confirm that you have too much going on -- too many plant varieties -- in too small of a space. The beds need to be bigger and you need to figure out where things go (and how they're shaped and arranged and how much room they need) before you dig. In essence, you need a PLAN. And developing the plan first would prevent a lot of unnecessary work and expense. Working out and changing the ideas on paper is a lot easier than working out and making changes with shovel-loads of dirt. Once you have a plan, you can implement it over any amount of time that suits your schedule and budget. If you don't do some planning, you're likely to end up with a tropical weed infested nightmare.

For any future pictures I suggest you backup far enough (farther) that you can get the whole idea you're trying to show in a single picture. It's better to show the overall scene before focusing in on small sections.


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Sorry about all the pictures. I didnt know how detailed i needed to be to get help. Next time ill post 1 or 2 if nessasry.

Okay, thank you for the advice. Maybe taking some plants away will make it easier on me. I did figure i had too much going on, so thats good to confirm. I have tried to plan as much as possible. visualize with the plants in their pots and on paper. my mother in law would just put plants where ever with out seeing how big plants got, and ive had to dig up alot of plants because of that. Thats exactly what i was trying to avoid.. tropical crazy mess. I suppose ill take some plants out of the runing and see if that gets me any further in gardenscaping. As in landscaping ill raise my beds. I think id just do that by raising the bricks id assume


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As an example, for the view below you should be showing at least as much as what's within the red line in a single photo.

Before planting, I'd consider redoing the bed lines. You could size the bed to hold plants better and a layout more flattering to the property.

What is the tree that is right of the porch?


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Is this a good picture? Ive read somewhere that its a good idea to use hose to create bed lines. Im not sure which tree so ill cover all bases. The tree right of the window, behind the cannas (in the garden) is a hibiscus bush, cut and shaped like a tree. The big tree in the grass is a texas umbrella tree

This post was edited by Reese87 on Sun, Sep 8, 13 at 14:20


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RE: Gardenscaping assistance

To my minds eye you don't have too many plants.
It's how you have them combined and the layout of the beds that appears to be giving you a challenge.

If it is a tropical garden paradise that you are trying to create take a look at some of some of the most successful designers from your area of California to see how they are combining their compositions of texture, color, height and massing.

Check out the websites of Living Green http://www.livinggreen.com/fairfax.htmlwww.livinggreen.com/fairfax.html -

Or use Houzz.com to browse tropical gardens : http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/1789777/list/Lay-of-the-Landscape--Tropical-Garden-Style

I'd recommend enlarging your beds using wide arcing curves to start out with and then start 'layering' in your plantscape. I'd definitely get rid of the concrete block edging too if you really want to create a stylish garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: houzz


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Reese do not get discouraged. It is not fun waiting for your new garden to mature. When I get that anxiety I switch to another part of the yard for a while
About the plants you can "take or leave", how will you decide? Will you flip a coin?(jk) A full plant list with the number of them you have would be helpful. For example, I see two Cordyline? Do you have others? Did you consider the size of these plants as they mature? That is all for now. Smiles.


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  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 8, 13 at 18:39

One piece of garden advice I always remember is, "never let pre-existing plants get in the way of your tropical vision". Or something close to that. If you want a tropical look garden, be prepared to remove those plants that don't fit your vision.

Know in advance the ultimate size, both height and breadth, of your chosen plants, and plan accordingly. Your planter may look thinly planted now, but those plants will fill out and crowd each other very quickly. Expand your bed outward from the house and give each plant the room it will need.

Lastly: mulch. Add a three-inch layer of mulch over the soil, and everything will look better and grow better!


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Thank you everyone for the responses and kind words!!

I definitely still have plants to take out! like the strawberrys and the bush thats all hacked up!

I noticed that lots of you mentioned the bed layout. Does anyone have any ideas what i should do? I have an idea in mind but for some reason i have a feeling it wont look the way i think it will look. Maybe i draw something out and put it on here. But ideas are more than welcome!

I loooove looking at houzz!! I have a lot of pics saved. Ive been through TONS of tropical photos but none are really close to what im looking at having in my garden. ): its hard cuz the ones that are nice, i would have no idea how to apply that to my yard! But its still nice to look (:

The plants i have are:
3 med cordylines
2 small cordylines
2 philodendron
2 small bird of paradise
The 1 big bird of paradise
2 giant white birds of paradise
Lots of baby upright elephant ears
5 hibiscus
2 black canna
A couple canna lilys tropicana
1 hibiscus tree
4 plumeria but i think i have to keep those in pots where i live
And 4 red tip looking bushes that are all along the side of the house that arent horrible looking i just dont like that there are the same plant all long the side of the house.
I think thats it (:
Oh and 4 gerbera dasiys

This post was edited by Reese87 on Mon, Sep 9, 13 at 14:37


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RE: Gardenscaping assistance

You might consider widening the walk to the front door and a bed line that has a shape more like this ...

(You could bring it forward to accommodate how much you want to plant. I, too, would do away with the concrete block edging.)


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Id love to widen the walk way!!! but we have this pole that is oddly placed where a path should go.


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Plants look best in groups of three or five. I don't know why this is so but it is true. It is also good to repeat plants. Big things go at back of bed of course. How do you plan to water it all? Yes, do plan on paper and show here. Make the plan on scale so you will know that enough room is available.


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That's a pretty good picture to show the foundation planting area for that half of the house. In my picture I'm showing A possible bed layout ... not the only possible bed layout. Lots of options would be available to you.

The pole would present no problem. It would be near the edge of the walk, not in the way of walking.

It would be nice to turn the wood step into a concrete step so that it looks and works better and lasts longer.

I'm sure that when the texas umbrella tree is 30' wide, you are not going to want the bottom of its canopy to start at 4' off of the ground. Many of the branches it has now will not exist in the finished product. Knowing that, you should be analyzing it now to make sure that any branches that are inclined toward behaving like a trunk are removed so that they don't become part of the final trunk system. If they do, they will be become psychologically impossible to part with later because they will carry a major portion of the canopy. Yet they will be in the way, awkwardly placed and destructive to the overall aesthitics. (I see it's going to happen in this case.) Remove them now for a clean, clear trunk later.


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