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pinksand
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Landscaping Ideas for East Facing House

For those of you who read my previous thread, this is friend #3! When she moved into the house there were two large juniper bushes on either side of the walk. Her mom gave her plants she divided from her yard and that's pretty much what is there now. There are a lot of liriope in there. If you can see the small dead shrubs against the house (barely visible between the liriope), they are (or were) hydrangeas. There is a crape myrtle on the far right, and maybe a holly bush on the left (I'm aware this is invasive... not sure how to suggest she remove it since it was from her mom)? On the right towards the front I believe the large plant is sage. I'm not sure what the flowering plant is.

These photos were taken in September in zone 7a. She is also on a tight budget and I'm not sure just how much work she is willing to do but she is definitely interested in gardening. I'm trying to convince her to expand her garden into her lawn. I was thinking of either completely lining the walk to the front steps with garden merging the strip against the house with the gardens at the end and maybe putting some stepping stones on the left since they cut across the lawn to the front door from the driveway, or maybe just doing this on one side?

Will the crape myrtle be okay so close to the wall? Since she's on a budget I was hoping to share some of my plants with her. I have an abundance of obedient plant, creeping phlox, dianthus, evening primrose, candy tuft, and black eyed susans. She's definitely also willing to purchase some plants. What do you think would work in this space?

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Left Side
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Right Side
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USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
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rainbowgardener
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My landscaping advice to people is almost always to make the foundation plantings a lot wider/deeper. It seems like almost always people put in a little narrow strip of small plants that are entirely out of scale to the house behind.

I don't love all the liriope, it sort of looks like spots where she didn't mow the grass very well. If she wants ornamental grass, I would go for something bigger and not green, that will look more intentional. I have pink muhly grass that I like, in a big container. Putting a couple big containers next to the steps and some smaller ones on the steps can be a nice accent. She tried the containers on the steps, but again too timidly... two small black containers with non-descript grassy stuff in them don't make much of a statement.

Yes the crepe myrtle is definitely too close to the house. I would make the whole foundation planting at least three times as deep and move the crepe myrtle to the front. All the perennials you can share with her would be very nice, but a few shrubs to help anchor everything and provide some structure are helpful. Otherwise it ends up looking weedy like the front ones.

So there's some starting thoughts, now maybe someone else will chime in. Elizabeth? :)
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tomf
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I go with Rainbow, I would put in some good sized plants in front of the house to help green up that big white porch. I would give a space between the plants and the house so they can paint when needed. I'd start with some kind of ever green bush that gets about 4 or 5 feet tall. then I would bring the bed out in plants that get shorter and finish with a flower bed in the front.
Last edited by tomf on Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ElizabethB
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Yep here I am with my big mouth. I love landscaping questions. Crepe Myrtle - depending on the variety 15' - 20' away from the house. Even the smaller varieties get fairly large. Hard to tell but it looks like you lost the leader on your plant. Not a problem. with enough room to grow and proper pruning you can still have a lovely tree. You have lattice and a very deep eave. If you build a bed against the lattice it will rot before you blink an eye. The water run off from the eave will erode soil, create nasty back splash and damage plants. When I had my landscaping business I NEVER installed beds against a structure. I ALWAYS created a gravel barrier from the structure to 6" outside of the drip line. Because of the lattice you need to install steel edging along the lattice to keep the gravel from falling through. Install another run of edging 6" outside of the drip line. Lay heavy duty landscaping cloth between the 2 strips of edging and fill with road gravel/mixed aggregate. Not pea gravel. Facilitates drainage and provides a maintenance strip on the back side of your beds. Wrap your bed around the right side.

Get some 1/4" to 1' scale graph paper and a lanscaping template. Office Depot used to have them but when mine broke I had to go to the university book store to find one. Draw out your plan. The front of the bed should have curves. Mother nature does not do straight lines. On the right side do a big bump out to accommodate the crepe myrtle. For easy maintenance choose evergreen shrubs. Look for colorful foliage or blooms. Pay attention to mature size. Plant odd numbers of each plant and stagger the planting. Your bed should be no less than 6" high. actually the higher the better. The shallowest part of your bed should be 5' - 6' deep. Use your liriope as a natural edging. Cut it into 4" plugs and plant along the outside edge of your beds. Leave about 6" between each plug. I won't make plant recommendations because your climate is too different from mine.

I can "see" how lovely that yard can be and still be low maintenance. Read low not NO. You will have to provide irrigation - soaker hoses work great especially if you have them on a timer. You will have to weed. The best mulch for both water retention and weed block is a realy thick layer of pine straw - like start with 1'. It will pack down and really help keep the weeds out. Next best is shredded cypress bark - at least 6".

Good luck

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pinksand
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ElizabethB wrote:I can "see" how lovely that yard can be and still be low maintenance. Read low not NO. You will have to provide irrigation - soaker hoses work great especially if you have them on a timer. You will have to weed.
Ugh, well I really hope I don't have to do too much weeding! I volunteered to help plan and plant, but as far as maintenance goes, that's up to her ;)

Thank you all for your wonderful advice! It has all been a tremendous help and good affirmation that I need to convince her to EXPAND! I will have to mention the point about proportions that you brought up and definitely adding some curves. She's been really excited about doing something with the space, but seems hesitant when I actually suggest moving what's currently in the garden or expanding. I think it's touchy because her mom did all the planning and planting.

RBG - I'm not a fan of all the liriope either, and particularly the placement... it's pretty blah! I love the idea of some big pots with wow factor.

Thank you Elizabeth for all the advice about the drip line. I think this may have been a likely culprit in the death of the hydrangeas (they were right against the foundation)... besides the fact that everything was crammed in that tiny strip! I don't know that I'll be able to convince her to do all of that corrective work, but at the very least we'll move the plantings further from the house.
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rainbowgardener
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pinksand
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Thanks RBG! I love photos for inspiration :)
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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pinksand
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Re: Landscaping Ideas for East Facing House

Just wanted to give an update...

This project is finally being put into action next weekend! After some resistance to the mention of "expansion" I drew up some mock-ups of my vision for the space and practically wrote an essay describing some of the excellent points you all made and explaining the solutions. I also helped her understand that "2x the space" doesn't necessarily mean 2x the maintenance! She was thrilled with it all in the end :) I think that having a visual really helped her understand the impact that some simple curves will havel. We're going to be pulling everything away from the house and creating a bump out for the crepe myrtle. With a variety of sizes, textures, and colors, I think it's going to turn out beautiful!

Thanks for all of your tips and suggestions!
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Landscaping Ideas for East Facing House

Definitely show us some of the "after" pictures!! :)
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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pinksand
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Re: Landscaping Ideas for East Facing House

Another update...

We worked in the pouring rain last Friday night into the dark and then all day Saturday into dark... hence the lack of photos :( Overall I'd say the project was a big success and was so much fun to bring to life!

We curved the garden and pulled it out from the house another few feet. All of the plants, including the crepe myrtle and hydrangea, were about 3-6 inches from the house so I think they'll appreciate more room to grow and spread out. the crepe myrtle is featured in a "bump out" on the right and is about 8 feet from the house. She was under the impression that "dwarf" meant they'd stay the pint size she purchased them. We also divided up the liriope into smaller pieces and used it as an edging.

Here's what we ended up with in addition to the existing plants:
3 azeleas (pink, red, and white)
1 nandina domestica
6 common english primrose (winter/spring blooms)
1 columbine (late spring/summer blooms)
3 scabiosa pincushion flowers (summer blooms)
3 new england aster (fall blooms)
obediant plant from me (fall blooms)
3 yellow yarrow (fall blooms)
3 lambs ear (silver foliage)
1 artemisia wormwort (silver foliage)
3 angelina sedum
3 other sedum (can't remember the variety)
Bulbs will be purchased and planted this fall!

Everything is spaced out with room to grow and hopefully naturalize a bit! Her husband is planning to mulch this week and then I'll try to take photos to share!
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson



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