Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:57 pm
Location: NC

Any ideas?

I really am not good at coming up with a plan for our front yard. This area was full of overgrown shrubs that we pulled out this winter. The two red colored shrubs were planted last year and we plan on keeping them.

We were thinking of putting some kind of small tree in the large area. My wife likes japenese maples and things like that.

Here's when we moved in:


Last year we improved it a bit:


Here it is now :cry:


User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

It would help to know which way your house faces and how much sun this area gets. Thinking about choice for you, I was assuming that being so close to the house, it would have to be in shade part of the day, so I was thinking about shrubs that like part shade.

Couple general comments: think about native plants-- once established, they will be much more carefree, because adapted to your area, and they will be much more wildlife friendly because the local life (butterflies, birds etc) are adapted to it. Think about growing things that have some habitat value for you (edible) or for wildlife.

For making the space beautiful you want to have variety: varying heights, foliage colors, plant size,shape, texture, etc. And you want to have something interesting going on year round. It's a little sad if your landscaping is beautiful in summer and looks like nothing but dead sticks all winter. Your space is small; I'd focus more on good sized shrubs than trees. Maybe a bigger one on each end and between the windows and smaller ones in between and then low growing flowers and ground covers filling in. Also having just a row of plants along the house plus lawn (IMO) looks boring. Think about widening your row in spots so some parts can be more than one plant deep. Think about adding an island bed in the lawn.

Here's some suggestions for nice native shrubs that have habitat value:

red buckeye - 5 -15' tall and wide (but available in dwarf, smaller variety) has beautiful showy red flowers that hummingbirds and butterflies like, followed by shiny brown buckeyes that persist into winter and squirrels like.

serviceberry (Juneberry) - available in a variety of dwarf, semi-dwarf and full size. Full size will get to at least 15 feet tall. Has edible berries (at one time was known as pieberry or pie plant), that over 40 species of birds love.

American beautyberry - 3-6' or more tall (but can be cut back to whatever size you want. Most notable for glossy almost iridescent violet-purple berries that arrive in fall and persist well into winter even after the leaves fall. Attractive to birds and butterflies

Red-twig dogwood - shrubby dogwood to 6' tall, but can be pruned to size you want. Has nice flowers followed by berries that birds and other critters like. In the landscape it is noted for the brilliant red stems. In winter after the leaves have fallen, the stems are beautiful against a snowy landscape.

Ilex (winterberry) - it's our native deciduous holly. Drops its leaves in winter, but (the female plant) has brilliant red berries that persist through winter.

Viburnum - also available in a range of sizes, dwarf, semi-dwarf and full sized. Has deliciously sweet fragrant flowers in spring that are attractive to butterflies, followed by berries that people and birds like.

For evergreens - kalmia (mountain laurel), rhododendron, azalea (North Carolina is famous for the azaleas in spring time), fetterbush

Have fun!

Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:57 pm
Location: NC

Thanks! Everyone here has azaleas. In fact, half of what we removed was diseased azaleas. When I mentioned a tree in the large area I was thinking of some sort of dwarf tree.

House faces more or less East. Morning sun. In the summer we get sun until very early afternoon.

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:26 am
Location: North Carolina

Some natives are great however I assume you want the plants to spread fast. Juniper, Blue Pacific does a great job, tops 6-9", Euonymous, Emerald Gaiety, white and green leaves, evergreen or cotoneaster, semi-evergreen in NC with red berries in winter, Rockspray, Cranberry, etc. Redbud are dramatic in early spring or even a semi dwarf crape.

Return to “Landscaping”