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Help designing the flower beds

Posted by tla628 6 (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 22, 13 at 15:26

I'm starting over with my flower beds in the front of my house. Please take a look at the pic and offer your suggestions. I cleaned out almost everything but a few daylillies, balloon flowers, and two low mounding perennials that have yellow/orange flowers. I plan on transplanting all of these as well. I do have a Julie Child rose bush on the right I would like to keep where it's at.

Harrisburg area, Zone 6, house faces the east, clay soil mix.


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RE: Help designing the flower beds

As presented, the goal seems to be one of gardening -- a focus on new, favorite plants in their new "home" -- as opposed to landscaping, where plants and/or other materials must fulfill the criteria of visually enhancing the home and its setting.

There are 3 visual/physical problems that are easily ameliorated by applying basic problem-solving landscape solutions:

1. least attractive views (orange circles)

It's more interesting if part of the view is blocked by a tree canopy and another portion is blocked by a shrub that is below and set farther back. The view-blocking device need not be solid; it can be "filtering." If it provides enough positive "distraction," what remains of the unsightly view may no longer be noticed.

2. excessive "white space"-that-is-able-to-be-easily-solved-by-planting (red circles) (There is other "white space" at upper portions of the house that could be dealt with by using more expensive planting solutions, architectural solutions ... or just left alone as none of it is critical.)

If one likes window boxes, a similar effect can be had -- but without the expense, bother or restriction of using and maintaining actual window boxes -- by planting a shrub or two below the windows instead of along the entire face of the foundation. If the ground slopes as it does here, one would maintain the shrubs so that they have the same relationship with the window, i.e., trimmed at a level elevation.

3. elevation change of porch is abrupt (blue circles)

The porch would look better nestled into flanking plants of an equal or slightly higher elevation than itself, rather than setting alone like a "bump" on the ground. Kill two birds with one stone by using annuals or perennials that provide plentiful or nearly constant color at the entrance, for added interest and as a device used to direct the viewer's attention. I could see daylilies being used at the back of this plot and lower height annuals toward the front.

In spite of the fact that these solutions come from the arsenal of basic landscape problem-solving schemes, they can be applied with infinite variation. Every plant used interjects it's own personality. The layout could be curvaceous, angular or a combination of the two, in a pleasing geometry. Connect all the components with low perennials, groundcover and lawn.

One additional point ... the walk is narrow making it look cheap and skimpy. You could widen it with an 8" row of bricks down each side, making it better looking and more functional.


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