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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:32 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Wanting to do some landscaping but need a little help...

So we just bought our house and the yard is boring! I was wanting to plant some sort of bushes along the front of the porch but here is the issue I am having. My fiance is allergic to bees and from what I have noticed most bushes attract bees nests so I am trying to find an alternative. I know there will always be bees around plants but I would like to find something they don't actually nest in. I have considered maybe some sort of grass bush, our old landlord had these gorgeous large grass bushes in front of his porch and I don't remember any problems with bees nests in those but I think the same ones would be a little large for our porch, I want something that will just about meet or go just a couple inches above the railing not completely grow up to the awning. I am looking for something probably around 3-5' tall and would like something that looks really pretty, just something to block that empty space from the ground to the railing of the porch so it doesn't look so bare.

Also I was thinking of putting in a tree in front of the porch, there is a pile of gravel rocks someone has put in a circle in front of the porch where I think there may have been a small tree at one time and I would like to remove those rocks and put one in. I want something that flowers gorgeously in the spring(yes I know this will attract bees). I would like something smaller, maybe meet or just go above the porch roof, probably 7-10' tall. I was thinking of a small cherry tree or I actually saw a small almond tree in one of those plant magazines that looks like it gets beautiful pink flowers on it in the spring and the almonds would be a plus. Any ideas?

If you could attach pictures or give me the plant names I would really appreciate it. I will attach a photo of our front porch so you can get a better idea of what I have to work with.

Our zones are around the 5-6 range.

The house is a duplex and we own both sides so we will be adding the bushes/grass to the whole front part of the porch. The tree will go inside the fenced side of the yard in the corner of the fence between the fence and the porch.


I am pretty sure this is what our landlord had in front of his porch, Japanese silver grass.

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Super Green Thumb
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Instead of a tree, you might consider a flowering shrub. There's a huge range of these in a variety of sizes, colors, foliage colors, bloom times, etc. I love viburnums. There are dwarf and full sized varieties. The full size would get to be the size you are talking about. They have wonderfully fragrant flowers in spring and then berries that birds like and then colorful fall foliage.
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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:32 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Well maybe it is wasps or hornets then that nest in bushes, we already have 2 dead ones out front that last year had swarms of nests in them and everyone I talk to when I mention bushes they tell me not to put them in because they get bees(wasp/hornet) nests in them. I know bees are docile its more the wasp/hornet variety that scare me because my fiance is so allergic he has to use an epipen if he gets stung by any type of bee. I don't mind bees flying around, neither does he, we just don't want to attract their nests into our front porch. As for a Japanese maple, how large do they get? I love maple trees but I thought they were all very large trees, in this particular spot we cant have too big of a tree not much room. I was thinking of putting a maple somewhere else on the property because trees are great for reducing energy bills in the summer and its nice to have a shady spot to sit. The one in the front would be purely for decoration.

As for a flowering shrub, those are def pretty but I was looking at tree because there isn't much room vertically in the space, especially once we put bushes in front of the porch it will prob only be a 3-6' space, and 6' is being generous.

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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:32 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Something like this would be perfect!


It is a Japanese Red Maple.

This next one also caught my eye, I like the way it grows up in a circular shape which would also make it perfect but it is a little taller. Maybe even too tall...

[url=https://grumpygardener.southernliving.com/.a/6a00e55131bf2a8833015392df4136970b-pi]Red Maple[/url]

Allegre Nee
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Location: San Antonio TX

What about a dogwood tree? They blossom beautifully and aren't super-huge. Azaleas and rhododendrons are kind of "bush-y" but not as big as that grass thing you posted a picture of, and as far as I know they don't get bee or wasp nests in them although they do flower so bees will be attracted to them but maybe not so much as rose bushes. They should grow in your area and I believe they are about 3-4 feet tall.

Congrats on your new house!

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Location: Lexington, KY.

Generally your foundation planting consists of plants that are going to have substance year-round. Boxwood, Holly, Laurel, Taxus, Azalea, Juniper, etc.. I most often use 'Green Velvet' or 'Green Gem' Boxwood because they are hardy and require little maintainence. A pair of 'Green Mountain' Boxwoods flanking the front entrance would be appropriate as well. As for your tree question- Numerous Japanese Maples would fit your criteria, as would Serviceberry, Kousa Dogwood, FringeTree, 'Tensaw' Sweetbay Magnolia etc.
I am also allergic to to bees/wasp and I do this for a living. I wouldn't worry so much about the bugs. They are MUCH more concerned with their little bug lifes than they are about bothering with some giant creature that can crush them. 15 years full-time and the only time I have been stung was in a pile of rocks.

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