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Old 11-03-2013, 10:06 AM   #1
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back of house ideas needed

I've pretty much finished the sides and the front. I've planted many shrubs around the edges of the back yard and created areas in the middle for interest. I'm satisfied, except, the very back of the house. I don't like it. Maybe because I hardly ever see this view, I haven't thought about it enough to get ideas. But, if you're at the middle or back of the yard and look towards the house. Bleh. Nothing much there! The 3 chinese hollys are original 30 y.o.

My family believes, as the original owner here must have, that you should plant prickly things under windows to discourage burglars.

The window on the left is a bedroom window and I'm leaving this holly as it's established and provides privacy. The shorter window on the right is the kitchen window. For some reason the hose faucet is behind that kitchen holly so I have to keep trimming it or get scratched every time I use the hose. Maybe I should remove this kitchen holly also?

The reason I'm debating taking out the middle holly is that it's difficult to get things to grow in this dry Fla. sandy soil and these hollys are established but boring.

I'm also trying, without much success, to get a redbud started outside the bedroom window. I've also planted a loropetulum in between the middle and the left holly, for more bedroom privacy.

Does anyone have any ideas for the back, especially the middle of the house? I think it would look too bare without something of medium height. Maybe a trellis with a flowering vine?


P.S. Since ppl outside of Fla wouldn't know the names of what grows well here let me just ask for suggestions on size, height and width of what should go in the middle. If I remove the hollys I don't think I'd like looking at a plain brick wall.

back of house ideas needed-dscn2163.jpg


Last edited by Startingover; 11-04-2013 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:39 PM   #2
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A redbud is an understory tree and won't be happy in the hot direct FL sun. Loropetalum also will need some shade from the brutal afternoon sun, but it's more tolerant than a redbud will be.

I think all of the holly needs to go. Unless you're willing to let it become the tree that it really wants to become! Even the dwarf varieties will be 40 feet without regular trimming.

I know crepe myrtles are common to see, but that's because they thrive in difficult conditions. I'd like to see a large specimen to the left at the corner of the house, like Muskogee.

It makes a very nice small tree rather rapidly. Then, I'd eliminate some of the grass for a much deeper planting bed, and underplant the crepe myrtle with some daylilies. Add some tall ornamental grasses to provide some softness to the rear of the bed, and maybe do a bench between the windows under an arbor of some sort as a focal point.

Do an antique climbing rose like Reve d'Or on the arbor over the bench and add both a large flowered clematis like Ramona to the mix as well as a small flowered vitacella or texensis type.

If that's a patio that's used for gathering to the right, I might do another smaller crepe myrtle there between the window and door. Something with an interesting peeling bark for additional visual interest. Some winter daphnes for scent, and jasmine for summer scent around the patio area as well as a few annuals for color. Nicotiana and heliotrope from seed both smell delicious on a summer evening.


Do it right from the beginning if you only want to do the job once. It'll be cheaper in the long term.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:21 PM   #3
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Live Oak,

Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent and ideas. A future project will be to remove the hollys starting with the center one! Not sure if Clematis does well here but passion vine thrives and the flowers are similar. You're right about the crape myrtle. My neighborhood is a mass of crape myrtles but they do have their uses.

I adore the arbors with the climbing rose, by the road and especially the one with a bench in your photos. I'd have a perfect spot for one with a bench except the one in Lowes was over my current budget. I recently planted my first rose, an antique 'seven sisters' and am waiting to see how it will do. I have thought about a concrete bench also, so like that idea.

Mostly I've planted shrubs to attract birds; cassia, wax myrtles, Simpson stoppers, firebush rose of sharon, NZ tea rose and sweet almond along with a flamevine.

Flowers I've planted are all to attract butterflies and my yard is filled with butterflies.

Bottle brush does exceptionally well here and I planted 2, plus a flatwood plum.

I'm curious about the loropetalum as one person said they need sun to stay purple, or will turn green. A friend in Japan said they grow like weeds over there.

This is zone 9 and we had 3 freezes last yr.

Thank you again for your ideas.

I'll ask my local nursery about the nicotiana and heliotrope. I always check with them on everything. This summer I went for Columbine which I read grows in this zone, but the nursery said for some reason they don't do well around here.

ps, yes, that's a patio to the right, enclosed by wrought iron. We never sit out there, but sit on the screened in porch. A small tree next to it would be interesting. thanks.

Last edited by Startingover; 11-04-2013 at 05:25 PM.
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