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Old 08-25-2011, 09:20 PM   #1
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


I am reworking the foundation landscaping around a small cottage, in particular the front street view. The attached photo pretty much shows the condition as it was this last spring. At the corners of the house are 2 azaleas, which were overgrown and woody and I have since cut down and rejuvenated them and they seem to be doing well. The two junipers are very overgrown and were partially shaded by the azaleas and large portions are bare. I am having these pulled out and removed in a few weeks. There were some miniature privets buried under the junipers and the azaleas, but they were doing very badly and I pulled them out.

The bed itself was mulched in coarse pavement gravel. This was essentially splashguard as they didn't have gutters installed. I installed gutters and intend to rake out all of the stone.

So what will be left will be two empty beds on either side of the front door, with azaleas at the house corners. I want to control the height of the azaleas to keep them from making the house look smaller than it already is. I am looking for ideas for additional plantings of appropriate size to go between the azaleas and the door. The site gets excellent morning and midday sun. I haven't tested but I think it is fairly acidic soil due to the pines (probably why the azaleas are doing so well).

Any suggestions? My wife would like some roses somewhere but I don't know if incorporating them into a foundation planting is the best idea. If someone has an idea how to do this I am willing to be persuaded. I am happy to do seasonal care and pruning, but I really don't want something I have to beat back with a machete every 2 weeks.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:41 PM   #2
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


I just planted some dwarf boxwoods, very slow growing compact and not too big when mature maybe 3•3

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Old 09-03-2011, 03:23 PM   #3
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


Are you done with your project? If not I like those box woods, I have several green velvet box wood's lining my walkway. They grow slow, and are easy to sculpt.

For the Roses, check out Knockout roses...and double Knockout roses...shrubs. They are easy to maintain.
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Old 09-03-2011, 06:23 PM   #4
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


Nope, project is still ongoing. I am hoping to have the junipers pulled next week, and the beds will be cleaned out for planting soon after.

I like those double knockout roses, they would be perfect under the windows! Thanks for the suggestion!

I like the boxwoods as well, they would frame the door nicely. The only concern I have is that we have acid soils and pines everywhere, which is fine for the roses and azaleas, but I have heard that boxwoods don't do well in acid soils. If this is true, are there any similar alternatives?

I also worry a bit about the textures - these are all waxy-leaved plants and I wonder if it will look all monotone planted together? Maybe the scale of the leaves will shake things up enough.
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:45 PM   #5
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


Is anyone aware of a dwarf holly with growth habits similar to boxwood? It is evergreen, it would fit the soil profile and play nice with the rose and the azaleas, and the leaf texture (depending on cultivar) might add some visual interest.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:31 AM   #6
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


I have holly's, I think they are evergreen. Can't remember exact name, they were a little tricky to start, lost one due to some kinda fungus. Repalcement plant did well. I'm not sure if they are a dwarf, but they are growing slow we could easily trim back if desired without it being a chore.

I have in front of my garage window, 3 knockout roses, 3 Holly's (two male one female). We had a designer come out and draw up the plans, so those two plants work well together, go around the corner and we have the velvet boxwoods. Velvet box woods sit in same view at the corner as my roses.

I love Holly, the leaves are a dark green, waxy, but with the red berries they really look nice next to the roses (my roses are red).
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:59 PM   #7
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


What size are your hollies? I think a 4' diameter knockout rose under each window next to the azaleas will work, which leaves a 3-4' gap between the rose and the front stoop. The stoop is brick and the holly would look nice against it. If it can be kept topped to about 3-4 ft that would be perfect.

The roses lose their leaves in the winter, right? Do they look bad in the winter?

Also, in the picture you can see that there is an electric meter behind the yew that we would like to screen, also with something that won't exceed 5-6 feet. This side of the house gets all-day sun and tends to be hot and dry.

Last edited by Thunder Chicken; 09-04-2011 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 09-04-2011, 03:19 PM   #8
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


I would like to shift your thinking from planting all so near the house. Why we Americans think we have to do so amazes me. BORING. A nice, slow and low growing flowering tree pulled out into the yard will make the cottage look bigger. Ask a nursery what would do well in your climate but some sort of flowering dogwood could be a start? And a nice window feature. You want something with interesting bark and trunk growth that will look like a big tree but only grow to say roof height. A dwarf conifer could work too I guess.
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Old 09-04-2011, 03:40 PM   #9
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


We are actually looking to plant a dogwood in the side yard off to the left of the house in the picture. However, I don't think putting one in the front yard is such a good idea. First of all, we get wonderful morning sun in the front windows that brightens up the inside of the house. Also, the front yard is tiny (~20' by 24'). Contrary to your suggestion, I believe putting even a small tree in the front yard would make the house look smaller (the overgrown junipers are already doing this). It would also block the front view of the house from the street. Also, there are phone lines just out of frame above the picture that eventually would cause problems even with a small tree.
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Old 09-04-2011, 03:53 PM   #10
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder Chicken View Post
We are actually looking to plant a dogwood in the side yard off to the left of the house in the picture. However, I don't think putting one in the front yard is such a good idea. First of all, we get wonderful morning sun in the front windows that brightens up the inside of the house. Also, the front yard is tiny (~20' by 24'). Contrary to your suggestion, I believe putting even a small tree in the front yard would make the house look smaller (the overgrown junipers are already doing this). It would also block the front view of the house from the street. Also, there are phone lines just out of frame above the picture that eventually would cause problems even with a small tree.
How about something light, airy and lacey like a Japanese Maple if it would survive your climate? I guess I am trying to force Japanese Garden 101 design on you where trees, rocks and things are placed so that a small cottage appears in perspective as larger. Planting things up against it just draws attention to the smallness. There is no visual path to confuse or set the perspective. Your eye is drawn immediately to the lines of the cottage and the plants in context with it.

Last edited by user1007; 09-04-2011 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:25 PM   #11
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


What you are proposing is actually something we are trying to do with the rest of the yard. Until recently we had a small purple plum in the back and the feel of the back yard was similar to a treed Japanese rock garden.

However, we don't want to put a tree in the front yard for the reasons I mentioned, so the best alternative is to have front plantings appropriate to the scale of the house to soften the foundation lines (an ugly concrete foundation). We're not trying to hide the house, we *want* people to look at it, but we don't want people looking at it and thinking "Look at the tiny house buried in the bushes!"
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:59 PM   #12
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


To answer the question about the size of my Hollies. The tallest one I have is 3ft for the highest branch (just measured) and about 2.5 ft wide, its the male Holly. We planted them in 2008 and have not trimmed them down yet they probably started around 1.5-2.0 ft. high and not as wide.

Our home was a mess with overgown plantings that just looked bad. We had our local nursery come out and they made a landscape plan for us to follow. Cost was about 120.00 for just the design to scale. For the front of our home and one side of our home. We pretty much followed the plan and it looks great.

Might ask if your nursery will make a plan, based on the plants you like, and they might even make you a deal on some of the plants.

Note the hollies look great year round, the roses have no leaves, but just look like a bare bush so not as pretty. The green velvet might get a little brown, but stay mostly green for my zone (midwest).
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:01 PM   #13
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


Those hollies sound like the perfect size, even if they were to grow in a little more. Are the leaves on yours lobe shaped or are they the typical pointed leaves?

The garden plan is pretty simple - the azaleas, knockout roses and hollies would pretty much fill the entire garden when they get to full size (and with some judicious pruning to control size). The hollies, being the smallest and lowest, would go by the door and the roses in the middle. My wife likes this idea and the layout. Right now the junipers are partially blocking the path to the front door, such that few people attempt to use it.

I think this is a plan. I'll update with pictures as it comes together. Thanks all!
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:50 PM   #14
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


Quick update on the front garden - the junipers were pulled last week and I finished cleaning all of the rock out of the bed. I actually dug down to clean soil and ran everything through a sifter to get the junk out (there was a ton of trash as well as rock). Anybody need about 4 yards of track ballast stone?

I just cut in the new bed outline and put mulch down around the rhododendrons and the yew. A picture is attached.

My wife's mother somehow got a hold of two pink Double Knockout roses from Lowes for our front garden. My understanding was that fall is NOT the season to plant roses, so I don't know what Lowes is doing selling these things (and what my mother-in-law is doing buying these things).

Anyway, my wife likes the roses and they are free to us, so my plan was to mix in plenty of compost and plant them now and give them a good layer of mulch to give them a chance to set roots before the ground freezes. I plan to put them in front of the windows in the picture, about the same distance from the house as the rhododendrons.

I figure at worst if they don't make it through the winter we'll just replant in the spring. Does anybody have any better ideas for the roses?
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:18 PM   #15
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Landscape shrub suggestions for small cottage?


You can plant knockouts in the fall. due to bare ugly in winter maybe adding a small bush that turns red in winter or with berries next to the knockouts would look great...especially in winter. we have knockouts at our northern Michigan cottage that are still blooming. plant from tallest to shortest, back to front. I have seen decorative trellises up against bare walls that look beautiful...just to break up the spaces...a mini weeping tree would look pretty at the left front corner next to driveway...trellis would be pretty on the side of your place ! I always sort of draw out different scenarios to get an idea...day lilies around the mailbox...hardy and they grow like weeds

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Last edited by michigan girl; 09-20-2011 at 04:27 PM.
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