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Old 09-20-2011, 04:14 PM   #16
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I'm thinking of dwarf Chinese hollies on either side of the door, and maybe some wintercreeper euonymus for low fill in front of the roses and the other plants. I'd like to find something with more color that will contrast the house color a bit, maybe more reds. From what I understand Dwarf Chinese hollies don't tend to fruit, but I like the leaf texture and the size is right.

Having had the big old junipers blocking the front door, what we want to do is have the garden go high to low toward the door so people see it and want to use it.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:14 PM   #17
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Finally made it to the nursery and checked out the plants I was thinking about. I don't think hollies are the plant for that particular spot. They tend to grow bigger than I want and they aren't a lot of color. As I was walking out I saw two 2 gallon red chrysanthemums for short coin, so I grabbed them. Purple rhododendrons in the spring, deep pink roses through the summer, and red chrysanthemums summer through fall.

If it doesn't work out, at least these plants are easier to pull out than junipers.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:18 AM   #18
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My apology for getting in this thread a little late, haven't been to the site in a while. If I miss something and comment on information already posted, my apology. TC, my first suggestion would be to consider (as I think you are) the mature size of any planting.

1. I think I would take out the azaleas on the corners as well. I'm not a big fan of repeatedly having to prune to make something fit.
2. You want to hide the concrete foundation but it really isn't all that noticable. I would perhaps paint it a darker color to make it less so. Maybe a quick post on the painting forum might yield some suggestions.
3. Smaller columnar plants could break the boxiness without overpowering.
4. I would not suggest Knockouts here. My philosphy in the landscape with them is to give them 6 ft by 6 ft. Plant and get out of the way! I like them in moderation but they are getting too "commonplace" now.
5. If you like to garden, I would go with a perennial/annual bed at the front. This would be a perfect size to plant different things season to season without being overly labor-intensive.
6. I could really see a rose garden in front of the car. Looks like plenty of sun there, good drainage improved with raised beds and presumably close to a backyard water source (?).
7. If you want hollies, try Ilex glabra 'Soft Touch'. VERY similar to boxwood.
8. Can you thin out the woods behind the house. In my opinion they contribute to that "dwarfing" effect.
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:52 PM   #19
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Thanks for your reply. Sorry to reply in-line, but it makes sense here:

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1. I think I would take out the azaleas on the corners as well. I'm not a big fan of repeatedly having to prune to make something fit.
I happen to like the azaleas, and don't mind doing pruning maintenance. Yes, we're forcing them a little more compact than they tend to be, but I think it will work. If it does turn into a hassle they will come out easily enough.

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2. You want to hide the concrete foundation but it really isn't all that noticable. I would perhaps paint it a darker color to make it less so. Maybe a quick post on the painting forum might yield some suggestions.
I think it will disappear once the plants are in. It isn't the greatest masonry work in the world and expending effort to paint it really doesn't excite me at all.

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3. Smaller columnar plants could break the boxiness without overpowering.
Placed where? On the sides of the door?

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4. I would not suggest Knockouts here. My philosophy in the landscape with them is to give them 6 ft by 6 ft. Plant and get out of the way! I like them in moderation but they are getting too "commonplace" now.
Again, a matter of personal taste. They do have this amount of space available to them in the bed, and my wife likes roses. I just work here.

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5. If you like to garden, I would go with a perennial/annual bed at the front. This would be a perfect size to plant different things season to season without being overly labor-intensive.
I see a perennial shrub garden as being even less labor intensive. But to your point, my wife is suggesting perhaps ditching the plantings on the sides of the door for seasonal plantings in containers, something that can take spring and summer annuals and fall perennials like chrysanthemums.

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6. I could really see a rose garden in front of the car. Looks like plenty of sun there, good drainage improved with raised beds and presumably close to a backyard water source (?).
My wife thought the same thing. This is in progress. Both the front and that side of the house get excellent sun.

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7. If you want hollies, try Ilex glabra 'Soft Touch'. VERY similar to boxwood.
I'm not so sanguine about hollies or boxwoods anymore. Even the dwarf varieties are pretty big, though they can be pruned just as readily as the azaleas, I guess.

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8. Can you thin out the woods behind the house. In my opinion they contribute to that "dwarfing" effect.
They are not on my property, though I have been surreptitiously removing saplings and dead falls that have been encroaching on my property. I did remove some wildly overgrown privets on the back side of the house (the bright green growth to the right behind my house in the first picture). I also pulled the purple plum in the backyard and made it open lawn. That has really opened up the back side of the house and help minimize the smallness.

Last edited by Thunder Chicken; 09-25-2011 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:55 PM   #20
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FYI- My philosphy of landscape design is similar to one's wardrobe, i.e. some like jeans, some three-piece suits. Some like grays and blues, some like colors. Notwithstanding appropriate siting, very few ideas are wrong.

Azaleas- Are you familiar with smaller Japanese azaleas?

Columnar plants- At each corner and either side of the front door.

Knockout roses- With respect to scale, I think that these guys are a little big against the house but would make a great background in the back yard or as an attractive privacy screen between neighbors.

Perennials usually refer to those plants which go dormant during the winter but return the following spring. For example, daylillies. Shrubs usually refer to woody plants and can be either evergreen or deciduous.

There are hollies which get only a couple of feet tall.
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:06 PM   #21
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Here is the front of the house this spring (a little grainy but you get the idea).

The azaleas are flowering like mad - I'm surprised given how hard I cut them back last spring. The roses went in last fall and are all budded out and growing. They have plenty of room and tons of sunshine up until about 5PM, so I have hopes for them. Looks better than my first picture anyway!
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:35 AM   #22
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WOW!

But I'm still can't get too crazy about those boxwoods. If you want to keep them, may I suggest that your pruning is the same mistake many make (including some supposedly "professionals"). Evergreens do not like getting shaded out, even by themselves. Always prune slightly wider at the bottom or, if you prefer, slightly more narrow at the top. This lets light in to the interior and will give an overall healthier, greener shrub. I would post citations here but I think you will learn better through your own research on how to prune boxwoods/evergreens.

Also, and this is just my personal thinking: as a rule I generally use planters on hardscape. In other words, a patio or deck where one wants planted color but where there is no physical planting area available. An exception would be the multitude of small pots I see behind the boxwoods where you could use a grouping of small containers functioning as one unit. Or, if the planter was the featured item and the flora was incidental.

That said, I am really seeing a nice trellis with a climbing rose (probably) to greet you every morning and afternoon when you get home.

PS I like to make before and after, including progress shots, of my projects. Hard to remember just how big, ugly, etc that XXX area was.

Again, great job so far! BTW, I'm impressed with the edging shown in your earlier photo.

Richard
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:31 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by downunder View Post
WOW!

But I'm still can't get too crazy about those boxwoods. If you want to keep them, may I suggest that your pruning is the same mistake many make (including some supposedly "professionals"). Evergreens do not like getting shaded out, even by themselves. Always prune slightly wider at the bottom or, if you prefer, slightly more narrow at the top. This lets light in to the interior and will give an overall healthier, greener shrub. I would post citations here but I think you will learn better through your own research on how to prune boxwoods/evergreens.

Also, and this is just my personal thinking: as a rule I generally use planters on hardscape. In other words, a patio or deck where one wants planted color but where there is no physical planting area available. An exception would be the multitude of small pots I see behind the boxwoods where you could use a grouping of small containers functioning as one unit. Or, if the planter was the featured item and the flora was incidental.

That said, I am really seeing a nice trellis with a climbing rose (probably) to greet you every morning and afternoon when you get home.

PS I like to make before and after, including progress shots, of my projects. Hard to remember just how big, ugly, etc that XXX area was.

Again, great job so far! BTW, I'm impressed with the edging shown in your earlier photo.

Richard

Thanks for the kudos. The beds were once dug out and filled with several feet of gravel right next to the foundation. The drainage was non-existent and the plantings were baking under the hot gravel in the summer. I dug it all out, edged it, and backfilled with clean fill. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.

What you are seeing as boxwoods under the windows are actually the knockout roses - they just leafed out but are still pretty small. Things will look a little thin until the roses bush up, so we have the planters for spring bulbs and some summer color just for some temporary fill. The roses should have plenty of room - we'll see how big they get, then we'll consider some other plantings that may augment/complement them. This all will take a couple of seasons to settle out.

The azaleas flowered really nicely. They got a little cockeyed after I rejuvenated them, so once they drop their blooms I'll give them a light shaping and a little feed. They seem much happier without the gravel burning their feet.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:39 PM   #24
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I expected the roses to be small. I can tell which ones they are by the size. I was talking about the chest high evergreens along the side of the house next to the drive, right in front of the power meter. Guessing they are boxwoods?
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Old 04-14-2012, 08:08 PM   #25
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Quote:
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I expected the roses to be small. I can tell which ones they are by the size. I was talking about the chest high evergreens along the side of the house next to the drive, right in front of the power meter. Guessing they are boxwoods?
Oh, that is a old hemlock that was there when I moved in. I know what you are saying about the shaping to get sun on the bottom branches. I did trim it last year to make it more vertical on the sides (it was worse when I moved in, believe it or not). It got knocked around a bit in an early season snow storm last fall, but its shape is rebounding. It filled in pretty nicely last year, so I am going to try to slope it back a bit more (fat on the bottom, narrower to the top as you mentioned) so they get some better sun exposure on the bottom.
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