I need some help/suggestions

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by ColbyTrio, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. ColbyTrio

    ColbyTrio Active Member 10 Years

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    Over the past two years I have completely re-landscaped my front yard. This is my first house so there was a lot of trial and error.

    I am at a loss of what I should plant under my windows.

    Most importantly, right now it seems that there is something wrong with my yard. Maybe its too cluttered? Maybe there are a few things out of place? Maybe there are too many focal points? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks
     

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  2. ColbyTrio

    ColbyTrio Active Member 10 Years

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    I forgot to mention, the portch has a few pots that I haven't moved to the backyard...
     
  3. ColbyTrio

    ColbyTrio Active Member 10 Years

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    Here are a few more pictures. Hopefully this will give you an idea of how my yard is layed out.
     

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  4. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    Hi,

    I really like what you have--the shape and design seems great. My suggestion is about what you DONT seem to have: Annual flowers. There is quite a bit of bare earth. That is good a the shrubs and such will grow and fill that space. But in the meantime consider either scattering some mixed annual seeds (all of $2.00) or get some potted annuals from a nursery. Everyone likes flowers! And you dont have to commit to anything with annuals.

    Michael
     
  5. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    What a lovely house, and you have done a lot of work that looks very nice, will no doubt look great once the plants grow in a bit more. A problem with doing the whole yard within a couple of years is that it is all tiny at the same time, and then all mature at the same time with plants jockeying for elbow room. Ah well, que sera. In any event, I wonder if you will find the pebble edging to be a bit of a maintenance nightmare, although it does define the beds quite clearly - or, maybe a bit too clearly. Maybe one of the overall problems is too much edging, not even plants (yet).

    You ask specifically about planting in front of the windows, and I am guessing you only mean the outermost ones, as the inner ones look fine, or will once they grow in (except that maybe the boxwoods by the door are a bit too close to the wall). The only thing that looks really wrong to me is the single plant centred under the right hand window. I'd go for something low and mounding, maybe two or three of them.

    On the left you've got the big tree out in the yard, and then it looks as though you've put yet another vertical element right in front of the window. That strikes me as an off-note both in terms of placement and shape. I don't like shrubs that totally block windows; they can certainly shield from an off-centre position, or from below as some of your maples do, but smack in the middle looks odd.

    Overall I like that fact that you've got about as much symmetry in the yard as there is in the house - that is, there's balance but not symmetry.

    The "too many focal points" question brings me back to the edging. I'd consider taking out a lot of those pebbles.
     
  6. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    I wish that my gardens had such "good bones" or structure. It would be helpful to know your preferences in style, ie are you a neat, tidy perfectionist or do you prefer a style which is more natural and changes more with the seasons? Do you enjoy gardening to relax or do time constraints mean low maintainance is important? Personally I think that all that it needs is to be softened up until the present plants can mellow. I agree that annuals and perhaps bulbs would help greatly and that there are a lot of pebbles. What about varying the depth of the edging and perhaps having a occasional plant spilling over the edging, (gets back to personal style again)? Have you also looked around your district for more established gardens to see what grows well and looks good to you?
    Good luck
    Margaret
     
  7. ColbyTrio

    ColbyTrio Active Member 10 Years

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    a few of my friends had suggested that I remove some of the cobble as well. Possible 4inches all the way around. I'll most likely do that very soon. Do you guys think I should put some of that cobble in the planters closest to my house?

    As far as my preference goes, I would like a low maintenance yard. The preview owners had a ton of annuals and lilies. They were pretty but it was too cluttered and it required constant weeding. Not my cup of tea.

    The picture with the weeping juniper shows the look I was wanting for my entire yard. It looks like a nice park-like setting. When I scroll through the pictures I can see that it looks like I veered away from that look somehow.

    Before the pom-pom san jose junipers were put in I had two huge globe mock orange shrubs. I actually liked that look but I wasn't fond of the plant. Is it just me or do the junipers seem out of place?

    Thanks for all of the suggestions so far!
     
  8. ColbyTrio

    ColbyTrio Active Member 10 Years

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  9. ColbyTrio

    ColbyTrio Active Member 10 Years

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    Here is a link to a thread I started a long time ago. It shows the before-durring-after pictures of my yard.

    Click HERE
     
  10. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    I like it a lot.........i think it needs time more than anything, once the plants grow the cobbles wont stand out as much.
     
  11. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    OK I may be a little confused; I'm really not sure how many sides of the house you are showing us. But perusing your earlier thread on the maple forum I think it is the coral bark I am talking about that is a little upright and centred in front of the window for my taste. But much can be forgiven a coralbark. Next to the weeping juniper that I meant to ask an identity for when I posted earlier... great plant, never seen one before. Do you have a botanical name? And no, the mounding maples in front of the window look fine.

    Overall, you know, Oscar is right. It looks great, and will look better. It doesn't have to meet objective design criteria as long as it reflects "you" and you like it. I even like the house colour! And if this is your first landscaping effort, you're either a fast learner or you've tripped into something you have a real knack for. Now just to master pruning :-)
     
  12. ColbyTrio

    ColbyTrio Active Member 10 Years

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    it's a Juniperus scopulorum "Tolleson`s Blue Weeping Juniper" You can find more info on it HERE.

    As far as the sides of my house go...i'll try to explain it. I have a corner lot. The front of my house faces a court and the garage (side of the house) faces the street leading into the court.

    If you're standing in my court and walked from the front of my house to the garage side you would see the house in this order: Weeping Juniper > Red Dragon (in front of the window) > Front Door > Bloodgood and pom pom San Jose Juniper > Birch Trees (they are on the corner) > Garage > Bloodgood.

    Yes, it is my first house and my first attempt at landscaping. I had some help from a few friends so I can't take all of the credit... but thanks for the compliments!
     
  13. Layne Uyeno

    Layne Uyeno Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Colby,

    Okay...I don't know what happened to my reply in the maples forum but I could've sworn I sent it before logging off....

    Anyways, what I said was that I like your plant selection.

    I *think* I have figured out what you may think is "wrong" with your landscape. It's very subliminal. While I like the assymetrical lines of the front border your symmetrical planting arrangement is fighting this. Western gardens strive for symmetry whereas Eastern gardens, in particular Japanese gardens, strive for a more natural Asymmetry. The symmetry of the plantings is fighting the assymetrical lines of the border. It's a subtle thing but can have a profound sublimal effect.

    While I'm not suggesting you turn your garden into a Japanese garden, perhaps you can study some books on Japanese gardens to help you design a more asymmetrical planting. This is more difficult than you would think. In case you go this route a couple things to keep in mind is that one of the keys to good asymmetry is using odd numbers. Instead of four use three plants or instead of six use five. Another thing is to not place things directly in the center of the planting arrangement.

    While at work today I was thinking of your garden and a thought came into my head and looking at your front border this *might* be a possibility. Save up the cobblestones. What you could do is, starting from the right (as you're looking at the house from the street), suggest a meandering stream or dry streambed with the rocks. Start the stream from the righthand fence and let it flow down to the 3 trees and to the left. The walkway leading up to the front door could be the bridge and the stream would continue on the lefthand side. Do it in sections so you don't have to dig up all the plants or rocks (really nice rocks, btw) all at once. You could leave the cobblestones loose or you could mix some DRY cement and pour this over the cobblestones. Brush off the cement from the tops of the cobblestones and the spray some water over the stones to set the cement. Spray enough water so that it soaks into the cement but not so much that it washes away. The key is to use just the right amount of water and use a fine spray.

    Anyways, these are just some thoughts to ponder. Whether you go with the stream idea or not I do think striving for some asymmetry will give you that "park" like feeling you're after.

    Hope this helps,

    Layne
     
  14. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Colby, thanks for the plant ID on the juniper. Looks like I could grow one here if I kept it well-drained, and although that won't be easy here in the rainforest I might give it a try.

    Layne has an interesting point, and may have nailed why you don't like the way the pom-pom junipers look. I looked back at the old thread where you had the big shrubs left over from the previous owners, where the effect of the plant symmetry is more marked, and I think it's true that the symmetry right at that point doesn't work. The focal point of the house visually, in the centre portion, is the higher peak, not the door, yet the shrubs are centred around the door. Taking one of those junipers out and replacing it with something... maybe something weeping/mounding? - might help.

    Not so sure I agree about the dry riverbed; it is already a pretty fussy-looking yard in that there is a lot going on in a small space. I note that you stayed within the beds as built by the previous owners, and I think that was wise as the lines are good. Adding a hardscape element is a bigger decision by far than changing the planting scheme, and funnily enough those pebbles are starting to grow on me where they are!

    By the way, I'm not sure if you've looked into exposing the root flare of your trees in accordance with a suggestion made on the maple forum, but if not, I'd second that.
     
  15. RoseLady

    RoseLady Active Member

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    How about a little yard art? The landscaping looks fine....I think you need some colorful pieces in the yard. Also I'd recommend some solar or electrical pathway lights. They are very decorative and will accent your newly planted plants. COLOR! Maybe some annuals for color.The rocks look nice.
     
  16. ColbyTrio

    ColbyTrio Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you all for the compliments and ideas. Unfortunately, I’m still at a bit of a loss in deciding what to do under my windows… I might just go with some annuals. If I do decide to go with annuals would you all recommend that I pull out the single boxwood beneath each window?

    I was also considering replacing my pom pom Junipers (on the sides of my walkway) with two mounded conifers. Possibly a few green mound junipers? Or a dwarf spruce? Thoughts?

    And Layne, I do like the riverbed idea, just not for my yard. As a matter of fact I just helped a friend landscape his yard with a similar design. It looks very nice.
     
  17. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The pom-pom junipers might look good under the windows, as they can be planted off-centre and yet fill in that space. Nothing wrong with the boxwood, it's just the BANG centred under the window look that doesn't work (ps, let the three boxwoods under the three windows beside the door grow together a bit into a hedgy thing). Move the boxwood under the big window aside, add a pom-pom, and you're done. One pom-pom could stay on one side of the walkway; just put something different opposite it. I always stop at actual plant selection for other people; it's just too personal.

    The only thing I would say is to stay away from the common juniper that is used to landscape industrial sites... too many of those around already! Wander the nursery, find something you like that likes those conditions. You've got good taste in plants - use it!
     
  18. RoseLady

    RoseLady Active Member

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    I just took a tour here in Tucson Arizona of the homes of 6 local Master Gardeners. There were 2 resounding features throught out each home even though each one had it's own uniqueness.
    1) "Groupings" nothing stood alone. It was always accompanied by several other plants or combinations of flowers,grasses, or whatever. In between those groupings were either pathways or colorful pots filled with a variety of plants...to my next observation
    2)Yard art....not ONE house was void of yard art! From Mexican "lady" statues (6 ft hight) holding live bouquets of Roses to pelicans, sun faces, angels, ducks, antique clocks, and fairies....they seemed to tie in all the plants and added focal points.
    I think people want to see more than just plants and rocks. A garden is meant to be inviting. If it looks like the rest of the neighborhood what's the point?
    I don't mean at all to impose my opinion in any way on you. You have done a great job with plant selection. You just need to bring it all together now.
    Don't get rid of the boxwood! Just plant around it! "Fill in!"
    You also have a great spot for a vine on one wall and for a beauitful colored pot on the porch in the corner. My eye would go right to it if I was approaching your front door. How about a wishing well in the front or a water feature?
    Which reminds me that there was actually one more thing in those gardens uniformly....everyone had at least one water feature. Making the garden inviting and relaxing!
     
  19. sue1

    sue1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi. You have a lovely garden; I love your choice of plants. However, I would take out some of those big pebbles as it just doesn't look "natural". I'm a firm believer in rocks for the "rock garden" only - I guess I'm just an old stick-in-the-mud!! As one member suggested, annuals will really cover in the empty spaces until your bushes/plants grow bigger, and annuals are very hardy as long as they recieve lots of water. I don't particularly like using annuals, but until your garden is established they are certainly very helpful!

    Good luck, and most importantly, have fun with your garden!

    Sue
     

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