zkatieus
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Location: Zone 6

Starting with a blank slate and need ideas

We are getting a house that is brand new construction so the landscaping will be totally new.
It faces a southern exposure, is in zone 6 and unfortunately the sidewalk is only about 3 feet from the house. Why do builders do that?!

Anyway, I am looking for ideas. I was thinking of maybe alternating eutin rose bushes with small evergreen bushes and maybe putting a green mountain boxwood (conical) on either side of the steps. But, this seems kind of boring so I was hoping you all might have some ideas.
I have a young child so I am looking for something that will not be extremely high maintenance. Also that area next to the porch is recessed and about 12 feet wide so I have to figure out what to put there. I'd really like to use plants that fit their spaces so we don't have to always be pruning :)[img]https://i47.tinypic.com/5wcgtz.jpg[/img][/img]

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rainbowgardener
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By sidewalk is just three feet from the house, you mean the walkway that is visible in the picture, with the huge expanse of lawn in front of it?

Whatever you do, do NOT limit yourself to that 3' of foundation planting. I have seen that done before and the plantings are then a little narrow strip and totally out of scale/ proportion. You have a large imposing house/garage and it needs some plantings that are in proportion.

Ignore the walk way or move it, but build a generous sized planting bed on the other side of it. And then plant a small tree or large shrub in lawn somewhere outside of the planting bed and make an island bed around that.

Think about native plants (much lower maintenance than your rose bushes!) and things with habitat value, ie food for birds, butterflies, etc. It will bring your property, now a bit new and sterile looking, to life.

What direction does your house face? Let me know and I will try to come back another time with some plant suggestions; it's getting late now.
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

bullthistle
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Nice house but whoever said builders had a clue when it came to landscaping. I'd like to see a Dwf. Jap. Maple planted outside the "bathroom window" the indentation between main house and garage. Larger then a 1 gallon, say a 10 gallon, red leafed. At the end of the house a dogwood or redbud or crape to bring the house down to scale. Do not put in evergreens that get trimmed each year it will destroy the lines of the house. Look at Euonymous, jumiper, cotoneaster, cherry laurel, etc.
Enclose the walk, they didn't even end the walk in proportion to a car door, idiots, in a bed of plant material, just don't plant inside the walk and take the bed all the way to the gravel driveway.

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applestar
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Look into "edible landscaping" See what you think. You can try typing edible+landscaping in Search the Forum for starters. :wink:

We have an island bed of two Japanese Maples underplanted with Wild Strawberries (F. virginiana) in the front yard. My kids won't bother "harvesting" -- i.e. collecting and bringing them inside -- but are snacking from there all afternoon right now. :()

Blueberry bushes are another often recommended Edible Landscaping plant. GORGEOUS fall color. :D

zkatieus
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Location: Zone 6

The house faces a southern exposure and when I say sidewalk I do mean the walkway to the house. I don't think we can rip out that new sidewalk. You don't think it will look funny if I start with my plantings on the outside of the walkway?
[img]https://i48.tinypic.com/2hztn4m.jpg[/img]
I am just totally overwhelmed by this project but don't have the funds to hire a landscape designer.
We would like to include some edibles. I was thinking of putting a couple of almond trees in the front. We also want to plant blueberries but don't know if we will put them in th front or back I will welcome any suggestions you all have. That little window is actually the window over my kitchen sink, so it would be awesome to put something in that space to attract birds/butterflies.

MaineDesigner
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It is impossible to offer responsible suggestions without knowing where you are posting from. Zone 6 covers much of the Great Basin, Southern Plains, Appalachia, Southern New England, and more. These are very different climates even if they have similar winter low temps. Also what is your soil like?

zkatieus
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Location: Zone 6

The soil is clay like and we are in Kentucky.

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applestar
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If that little nook faces south and the window looks out of the kitchen, I would definitely take advantage of the little protective micro-climate afforded and plant an edible something that would be borderline iffy in your area to survive the winter. A fig tree, for example, or a dwarf Japanese persimmon tree, dwarf nectarine, perhaps (I don't know if an almond tree would stay small enough for here though... There is a variety called All-in-One Almond that is supposed to be hardy in Zone 6, I've had my eyes on it for some time and will probably get one or two trees if I can find the room to plant them) ... hm, hm, ... definitely rosemary, lemon and variegated thyme, variegated sage, maybe marjoram (thought that might be still iffy) and some lavender that sometimes won't survive in Zone 6 -- oh yeah *definitely* the spot for an herb garden along the side of the porch (taller ones that you could reach) -- e.g. tarragon -- and the sidewalk -- just step out the door to pick some herbs, or snip a few on the way inside. :()

Amend the soil with lots of compost and builders sand to create a well draining, hot and sunny area for the Mediterranean-type herbs. I suggest you plant the more moisture-loving herbs like parsley, cilantro, and basil in another part of the garden, perhaps with the vegetables.

I would make a bed -- with sweeping/curving edge to the front to soften the angular look -- on the other side of the "sidewalk" that is at least equal in width to the space with the house foundation and, personally, would plant a butterfly garden with all season flowers as well as larval host plants. Butterfly Plant (NOT shrub) Asclepias tuberosa will definitely do well there, as would Daylilies, Sage/Salvia, Asters, Coreopsis, Evening Primrose, Heuchera, ... etc. Don't forget spring flowering bulbs to greet you and announce the end of Winter -- Snowdrops, Crocus, Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths.

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rainbowgardener
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" You don't think it will look funny if I start with my plantings on the outside of the walkway? " Especially seeing the second view, I definitely think it will look funny/pathetic if you confine your plantings to that teeny strip. Here you can get a sense of what that looks like:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=22607

You are getting some very good advice here (and all free! :) ) I like AS suggestion of a butterfly garden, but you would want a couple trees and shrubs to anchor it. Can look a little weedy otherwise, alot of same height stuff. Dogwood and redbud were great suggestions. Serviceberry is another not too huge native tree that has berries that 40 species of birds like (too big for your alcove, but not to anchor one of the ends of your planting).

Purple ninebark is a nice shrub, purple foliage for some color impact, berries that birds like, peeling bark for winter interest, fall color, low maintenance. Var. Summer Wine is a smaller version of it, 4 to 6 feet high and wide at maturity. Viburnums are another berries-for-birds shrub, with deliciously fragrant spring flowers, come in a wide range of sizes from very dwarf to large. Hydrangeas also come in a range of sizes and are nice summer-fall bloomers. You will want something evergreen for winter, maybe a low growing juniper.

So there you have it: 2 or 3 nice trees, 2 or 3 nice shrubs, fronted by a gorgeous butterfly garden and then edged with something small and low growing: maybe some lambs ears or artemisia for something else non-green. And pop in some annuals like petunias along the front edge for some season long color... All of it in FRONT of your walk way. You could just fill in in back with ground covers or more low growing stuff..

And later when budget permits, add that island bed in the lawn... Your place will be stunning! Here's a picture of one, though I would do it more free form not just a nice neat little circle:

https://landscapingideas.the-landscape-design-site.com/front-yard-picture/frontyardpicture5.html
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

zkatieus
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Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 1:40 am
Location: Zone 6

Thank you for all of the suggestions. If you all think of anything else, please let me know.

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