separating front lawn without a fence.

by Kay
(Queens NY)

I live in an attached red brick face house. The entry doors are at opposite ends of the homes. To keep my neighbors' kids, away from my lawn, and also to create a sense of privacy, I separated the two lawns using plants instead of a fence right down the middle.

I am not very happy with the results. I live in zone 7. It is a south facing property. The lawn is not very big. It is about 20 ft. long and 10 ft. wide. The foundation planting(10 ft. wide)includes, a dwarf Japanese maple near the property line, one azalea, one "quick fire" hydrangea near the entrance by the front steps, a few Asiatic lilies and 4 sedums "autumn joy" in the front row.

Down the center to separate the lawn, I planted in this manner, one "wine and roses" weigela, one "anthony waterer" spirea and one "fine wine" weigela. There is room for one more plant at the end adjacent to the sidewalk. I have no idea what to plant in this spot. I would be willing upon your suggestion, to remove these plants along that property line and start over. Anything except Boxwood. I don't have the time or the patience to trim those.

I have looked all over the internet for a solution to no avail. I have a few landscaping books, but none offer any design ideas for this unique problem. Any ideas or solution that you provide will bee greatly appreciated!


Hi Kay,

I think what you have done (although I understand why you wanted to take this approach) is to make too small lots even smaller. You now have what was probably an area 20' by 20', two 20' x 10' areas (one your neighbors'). ..if I am understanding the layout

So let's try and make your property interesting and pretty. I have an idea...if you have the room. Forgetting about the specific plants for a moment, I would suggest continuing the linear bed between the properties so that it continues along the front edge (street or sidewalk there?). You would then have a bed that goes along the side of your property (adjacent to your neighbor's property) and continues along the front...virtually creating a somewhat enclosed, charming space.

If you were looking at the newly suggested bedding area from your house, the inside bedline should have a curve to it, indenting in the center. Can you visualize this? Even the linear part of the bed could have a curve or two as it stretches along the 20' distance.

As far as the specific plants go, I would suggest grouping three or more of a kind where possible, and then repeating this group. For example, You could start out close to the house with 3 Heaven Bamboo or Plum Yew. You could end with the same 3 plants to tie the bed together...but not exactly at the end. I would end it with a taller shrub such as a Lilac, Seven Sons, or even a small Crapemyrtle. Bring it up the other side a bit if you need more planting area.

Where the linear bed turns to meet the new section, place another group of shrubs. In between here and there, you could fit in your existing Weigelas and Spirea.

Using groups of plants creates continuity. It also makes more of an impact when they flower, have fall color, etc. It's better design than using one of this and one of that.

I hope this was helpful and if you need further help, just respond here under the Comments section...Susan

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