Height and landscape design ideas for my front landscaping

by Beth Lanoue
(Tracy, MN USA)

corner air cond./dish for internet

corner air cond./dish for internet

corner air cond./dish for internet plants for house foundation which plants to use Plants for underneath the pillars

Please, Please, Please help me with my front landscaping against the west side of my house (lots of afternoon sun). It definitely needs some inspiration and height/depth! We built this house 4 years ago and I have been adding plants to it ever since. We also just got done mulching everything! I have a corner by the air conditioning unit and dish for wireless internet that I have to be careful of not covering the dish for reception. There is 2 weigelia's, one hydrangea, one sedum and some other plants just thrown in there, it needs help! Also there is a long row of the same height of plants and needs something in the back of the landscaping, any ideas? One more thing is needing a shrub of some sort to go on either side of the porch under the pillars...I have been thinking about this for 2 years now and just don't know what to plant.

Right now, across the front, I have orange and yellow lilies, autumn blaze sedums, black eyed susans, white phlox, white daisies and purple salvia and some yellow ground cover plants?

ANSWER

Hi Beth,
You need to add masses of plants. I feel you have too many of "one of this and one of that"! Only by massing plants will the design come together, flow, and look attractive.

1. Begin by considering using the same plants on either side of your front door along the house foundation. These should be evergreen and get to be about 3 feet tall or so. Most evergreen shrubs like some shade, so a west location is a bit challenging. You might consider purchasing my book Designing With Evergreen Shrubs (Even a lot of landscapers purchase it!) Here, you will find the plants that are correct for where you live (your plant zone) and some that will do ok with mostly sun.

2. Rather than planting specific plants on either side of your front door, I would plant a taller shrub on one side in front of the background shrubs. This might be, for example, a Lilac. I can't see if you have enough room to do this, so if you do not, consider adding a bed on the other side of the walk (at the corner of the two walkways)and extending the bed on the right to make it deeper. You could also add a pretty ornamental tree on the right side to add some height (which you were right to know that you need!).

3. As far as the air conditioners go, you'll need to plant some evergreen shrubs that get tall enough to hide them but not so tall to block your receiver. It appears that a height of 3 to 4 feet would be appropriate. Again, use all the same ones, but these would be different than the ones you planted on either side of the front door.

4. In front of the masses of shrubs, add perennials for color. Since you already have some, I would get more of each variety. Btw, I would imagine that Hydrangea will struggle in this location. Most of the others sound great, although I don't know what the yellow ground cover plant is. Make sure to have at least three of each variety for impact!

5. Add an ornamental tree at each house corner. These, along with the tall shrub and other tree near the front door will provide lots of height.

6. You can also consider adding a bed on the other side of the walk near the driveway. This way, as you approach the house, you will be walking through gardens on both sides. It can be as long or as short as like, but add height here also.

Please visit these other pages on my site for more information.

How To Landscape
Front Yard Landscaping Ideas
Landscaping Ideas
Plants for Landscaping

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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
Helen, Ontario-Canada 

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