American Luxury
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What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

It's been about 10 years since we've had landscaping in front of our porch. I'm not going to bother to explain why, but this year I am making sure we get something put in. I'm just not sure what to put there. It's 22ft wide at the longest distance from the driveway to sidewalk and 12ft at the longest distance from the porch to sidewalk. So I am asking you guys to give me some ideas as for what to put there.

Here is what it looks like now. The big bush will probably go, and be replaced by a dwarf evergreen of some kind. The small bush next to it is staying as well.

Image

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pinksand
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

Your location and exposure of the site (North, South, East, West) will be helpful in determining plant suggestions.
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American Luxury
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

I am in Cincinnati, Ohio and the house is facing east. That picture was taken around 9am.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

Hi and welcome! I am in Cincinnati also! The next thing you really should do is have your soil tested or at least get a pH meter. My soil is heavy alkaline clay and that is kind of restrictive re what you can plant.

But I'll give you a few suggestions.

Serviceberry and viburnum are both lovely native shrubs, that have pretty flowers (the viburnum flowers are very fragrant) followed by berries that birds like. Serviceberry (aka juneberry) is actually a small tree, but it comes in dwarf, shrub sizes. It would be nice in your spot because it is very open and airy, so wouldn't hide your house or block your view:

Image
https://imagehost.vendio.com/a/35088526/ ... berry2.jpg

viburnum comes in many varieties, some very dwarf, under three feet high. It has a denser growing habit.
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https://www.classicviburnums.com/_ccLib/ ... A-7063.jpg

Driving around Cincinnati in spring you have certainly seen our beautiful flowering dogwoods. It is another tree that also comes in dwarf shrub forms. One is the red-twigged dogwood, which has brilliant red stems that are beautiful against snow. The smallest dogwood is the bunchberry, which grows as a ground cover, but has the same beautiful dogwood flowers followed by berries. But dogwoods, especially the bunchberry have to have acidic soil.

After you plant one or two small shrubs, then fill in with some perennials. Choices that would like your morning sun location include columbine, coral bells, bleeding heart, bellflower, daylilies, astilbe, obedient plant, tiarella, purple coneflowers, penstemon. Be sure to add in a few of our beautiful spring ephemeral wild flowers, like trillium, jack in the pulpit, trout lily, Virginia bluebells.

Be sure you check out Keystone Flora Native Plants Nursery https://www.keystoneflora.com/

5081 Wooden Shoe Hollow Lane
Cincinnati, OH 45232
less than a mile from Spring Grove Cemetery.

They are just opening for the season now.
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American Luxury
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

Thanks for the suggestions and help! Where do you think would be a good place to put the shrubs? I think I might be having more trouble with the layout than what to plant.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

The challenge of this bed is that you don't want to block the view from the porch or the view of the house (much). So the traditional foundation planting in front of a wall we say put the tallest stuff at the back and step down from there. Yours needs to be treated a little more like an island bed. In your case I would anchor your bed with one good sized shrub or small tree placed off center - like in front of the small green chair, a little bit closer to the house than center on the front-back axis.

Use something with an open airy growth habit, like weeping cherry, small Japanese maple or the dogwood or serviceberry I mentioned. As it matures, you might have to keep it pruned a bit for airiness. That way it acts more like a curtain than a wall.

Then step down from there in two directions, so 2 -3 very small shrubs around the big one (but not behind it) and then fill in with perennials and then a border edging that might be small annuals.

But of course, that's just me. Perhaps ElizabethB (a landscaper who posts here) or others might chime in.
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

I'd suggest a railing in front of your porch. It offers some privacy. You can put window boxes on the rail and plant it with some annual flowers or trailing plants.

I agree with Rainbow, 1 nice airy tree would be perfect.

Move the plant urn closer to the front door. Or put a tall decorative pot by the door that can be used for an umbrella stand.

Paint the sidewalk green or red. Either make it blend in more or stand out. Softer plantings along the sidewalk to soften the harsh concrete edges. I like mounding ground covers like alyssum or creeping thyme that make it look more casual as opposed to the formal lines of something like boxwood.

Limit the color palette for a more uniform look and if you want a prolonged bloom season, think about plants that stay in bloom for a long time, like alyssum or selecting plants that will bloom in succession so that you will have something in bloom most of the time. Some plants may not bloom but if they have interesting leaves or shapes that provides structure to the landscape.
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American Luxury
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

rainbowgardener wrote:The challenge of this bed is that you don't want to block the view from the porch or the view of the house (much). So the traditional foundation planting in front of a wall we say put the tallest stuff at the back and step down from there. Yours needs to be treated a little more like an island bed. In your case I would anchor your bed with one good sized shrub or small tree placed off center - like in front of the small green chair, a little bit closer to the house than center on the front-back axis.

Use something with an open airy growth habit, like weeping cherry, small Japanese maple or the dogwood or serviceberry I mentioned. As it matures, you might have to keep it pruned a bit for airiness. That way it acts more like a curtain than a wall.

Then step down from there in two directions, so 2 -3 very small shrubs around the big one (but not behind it) and then fill in with perennials and then a border edging that might be small annuals.

But of course, that's just me. Perhaps ElizabethB (a landscaper who posts here) or others might chime in.
That's a good idea, but we need something to hide the gas meter behind that big bush. If you look closely you can also see a pipe running along the brick. So we definitely need a sizeable plant right next to the garage.

American Luxury
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

Wooden Shoe Hollow finally registered in my mind. I had read about that area, but didn't even know those buildings were still being used. Good to know.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

If you could have something about half the height of the one that is there now, I think everything else I said would still work.
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American Luxury
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

Ok, thanks!

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ElizabethB
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

American Luxury - Rainbow has some excellent suggestions. Since she is a native of Cincinnati she knows what will do well in your region.

I like Imafan's suggestion of a railing across the front of the porch with window boxes.

Do have your soil tested.

Use a good steel edging around the entire perimeter of the space. You need to build up the area with soil. I like Rainbows suggestion of treating it as an island bed. Make the center or off center of the bed a high point.

Pay close attention mature size of anything you plant. The biggest mistake homeowners make is not allowing room for the mature size of plants.

That evergreen is too large for the space and too close to both the house and the driveway. I understand that you want to hide the gas meter but you also need to leave room for it to be read and serviced. Instead of a plant in that corner use a tall decorative urn with nothing planted in it as an accent. Repeat the urn on the other side in the corner between the porch and side walk. Another option is a decorative pot with a loose, airy plant that has a little height but not near as much as the current planting. You can companion plant with cascading perennials/annuals. Rainbow can probably make suggestions on something lovey for a pot.

BTW - when selecting a decorative pot make sure it has good drainage - often a problem with decorative pots.

As for placement start with your focal point - off center both left to right and back to front. For the companion shrubs plant odd numbers in a staggered arrangement. DO NOT CROWD!!!. Remember - mature size. Initially your bed will look under planted but your have to visualize what it will look like in 3 to 5 years when the plants are mature. You do not want to have to rip out shrubs because they are crowded.

Many homeowners plant immature shrubs in very small containers thinking that they are saving money. They plant their shrubs - the bed looks empty so they go out and purchase more 1 gallon containers. In 3 years they are ripping out shrubs. Instead of purchasing 1 gallon containers choose 3 or 5 gallon container grown shrubs.

You may want to draw your layout on 1/4" = 1' graph paper. You can even get a 1/4" scale plant template. If you can not find it at an office supply store check the university book store. Draw the bed then use the template to "place" the plants using mature size.

Before actually digging holes for your plants set all of the containers in the bed according to your plan. Walk around the entire bed and look at the placement from all sides.

So - things to keep in mind

Soil quality - have it tested
Irrigation - what do you plan to handle irrigation
Plant selection - mature size, maintenance, suitability, bloom time, evergreen for year round foliage
Placement - odd numbers, staggered placement, mature size

Good luck

Sorry for not being more specific on plant selection. I am just not very familiar with your growing conditions.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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rainbowgardener
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Re: What Should We Put In Our Landscaping?

"As for placement start with your focal point - off center both left to right and back to front" Yes, that is exactly what I was talking about, but I didn't say it nearly as well/ clearly.
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