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Clean Slate! Where to Begin...The Entry

Posted by VLSGarden Ohio (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 10, 12 at 2:43

Can I please have some ideas for what to plant near the entry? We have ripped out all of the landscaping because it was poorly chosen and overgrown. I was originally planning on placing 2 skyrocket junipers on either side of the steps...however now I am not sure. Our house is basically a box, except for the slight asymmentrical entry and curve to the roof. I would like to play up this architectural feature, and am hesitant that the skyrockets would not do so.

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RE: Clean Slate! Where to Begin...The Entry

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 10, 12 at 12:00

Interesting and very attractive house, and agree, play up the fine asymmetrical feature. Could you show a photo of your front walk? It's not visible in this photo. A "before ripping out" photo will be instructive as to what you do not like.

Are you an avid gardener?

RE: Clean Slate! Where to Begin...The Entry

Hi Catkim! Here is a photo of the before. Note the very large junipers right next to the walkway which even with pruning blocked your path...Everything was planted in straight lines, and poor choices in the spaces they had. Ex: A line of burning bush in a straight line right next to the parking area. In order to park, the bushes had to be drastically pruned to an undesirable shape. The "retaining wall" was spilling over into the space in front of it. I love grasses, but they placed them EVERYWHERE with no rhyme or reason.
I am a novice gardener, but a very good student...I have been doing research about plants and trees for about 2 years since we moved in, and love to hear what has worked for others.
We are in process of adding a 3-4 ft retaining wall to the right of our house, irrigation and lighting.

RE: Clean Slate! Where to Begin...The Entry

I don't have a great picture of the is a basic "L" shape walkway to the drive with a slight curve near the front door. I will take a picture later and post.
Here is a photo of the parking area with the "screen of burning bush" as well as a slope that was never attended to. There was also a mound of earth behind the slope. It seems that it may have been a poor attempt to screen the parking area as well or they never graded the site properly. I tend to believe it is the later.
Another issue with the plantings is that almost all of them are low or mid height as compared to the house. The only taller item is the birch that we removed to build the retaining wall. I definitely want a mix of heights and textures to give visual interest!

RE: Clean Slate! Where to Begin...The Entry

Seeing the "before" picture has me agreeing with you that most plants needed to go. The walk and driveway being confined with plants does not seem inviting or attractive to me. I agree with you on enhancing the architectural features and the main thing is don't cover up what you want to display. I think the Skyrocket Junipers would work against you in the long run. Of the original plants, the only plant form I liked is the dome-shaped one at the right corner of the house. I'd consider recreating a matching set of dome-shaped plants placed like that near the right and left corners. Another matching pair of lower, mounded plants could flank the entrance structure (with balanced positioning.) Seasonal color at each side of the steps would cheer things up.

The small window looks to have an angled wall portion below it which shouldn't be covered. I'd consider placing a window-box type container with trailing flowers that appear to be spilling out of it and onto the plantings below. The container should be set low enough so that the window surrounding portions show completely. Below the main ground floor windows, annual or perennial color planted in the ground would appear window-box-like and continue a lively, cheerful look.

A tree set to the right front of the house (not too close) could help knit it to the larger landscape. Something with reddish foliage--like a Jap. Maple-- could be a nice contrast to the surrounding plantings and coordinate well with the stone facade. I think the yard could accept another tree if it were closer to the street and the drive and was well limbed up so as not to obstruct, but "frame" the view of the house.

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