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New House - NO landscaping - Need help!

We are building an new house (traditional colonial with a bay window on the side) in NJ and have nothing but dirt surrounding it currently. A wonderful blank slate!
We will have sprinkler systems. We are looking for ideas on what to put in the front and side of the house. Here were some thoughts, but we would love to hear your ideas as to what would look best.

The plan has plantings adjacent to the house and in front of a paver walk, but we are not sure we want plantings in front of the walk. We'd also prefer not to have anything with prickers. In case you can't read the image, clockwise from the top left:

window well
a/c units
1 arborvite (must hide a/c units from street)
flanking porch: Dragonlady Holly
Either side, front of house: 4 boxwoods with 4 barberrys
In front of walk: 8 barberry or lily turfs for flowers
Left side of house: 6 Japanese Dorothy's

Thanks so much for your help!
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Greener Thumb
Posts: 869
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:13 am
Location: Columbia, MD

How exciting to start completely fresh!

I'm a little confused that you mentioned not wanting anything with prickers, but you've included barberry bushes and dragon lady holly, which are both very prickly! The first bush I ever removed from our property was a holly bush that was overgrown into a walkway to our patio because I was sick of getting stuck by it when I walked by. I also have to admit that barberries are probably my least favorite plant. They've taken over the woods in our area (non-native) and their thorns are not my friends.

If the deep purple color of the barberries is what you like about them, there are some dwarf varieties of weigela (such as 'midnight wine') and ninebark (maybe 'little devil') that might fit the bill and are thornless and bloom!

I tend to prefer a variety of evergreen shrubs, deciduous shrubs, and perennials for a foundation bed rather than rows of one variety, but that's personal preference. Come to think of it, I think I remember seeing an article that mentioned a specific ratio... 50% evergreen, 25% deciduous, and 25% perennials. It might not be your style, but just a suggestion ... urb-appeal

The biggest thing I'd recommend from learning the hard way is pay attention to the mature size of plants so you don't have to constantly prune them.

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Posts: 30585
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

Pinksand makes a good point. What are the dimensions?

Also which way is north?

I had to look up Japanese Dorothy. Is it Pieris japonica 'Dorothy Wyckoff' ? If so, Pieris prefers east facing exposure. It is also fairly boring when to in bloom and can become unattractive during the summer.

Consider also North American native plants vs. not native plants. You might as well start learning the difference and why some of us prefer to pick one over the other since you are starting with a blank canvas.

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Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:01 am
Location: New Orleans

Not sure if you have pets, but Pieris Japonica are poisonous to humans and pets if consumed. So are a lot of other plants, and that is a something you may want to consider before putting plants in the ground.

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