Gardening Ideas for front of house

February 22, 2018
Beautiful Gardening Ideas

Master gardener Paul James decides to spruce up one of his mother's planting beds for her upcoming birthday. He selects a narrow bed along a sidewalk that leads to a patio where his parents spend their time outdoors. Located on the north side of the house, it lies in heavy shade most of the day with filtered light peeking through during the afternoon.

James first removes the existing plants. He saves those that fit into the new planting scheme and finds new homes for the other plants elsewhere in the landscape.

The next step is to amend the soil. James adds several bags of composted potting mix loaded with organic matter. This particular mix is made specifically for azaleas and contains a good amount of peat moss. Peat moss is acidic, but by blending the potting mix with the existing soil, the resulting pH will be only slightly acidic, which is ideal for the plants he plans to use. Using a shovel, he turns it into the top few inches of soil until it has been worked in.

The addition of the potting mix will also raise the level of the bed to promote good drainage. By making the bed higher in the rear, water will move toward the front of the bed onto the sidewalk, allowing it to drain away from the plants. With the soil ready, it's time to plant.

Shade-loving plants, including hydrangea, heuchera, autumn fern, golden Japanese sweet flag and ivy, are selected for the new bed. James also uses pansies and daffodil bulbs for seasonal color. The three hydrangeas chosen are a relatively new introduction called 'Endless Summer'. Hardy to USDA Zone 5, they grow to about five feet tall and in time will help to soften the nearby brick wall. 'Endless Summer' blooms nonstop throughout the summer, which is unusual for hydrangeas. The blooms are blue in acidic soil and pink in alkaline soil.

The hydrangeas also serve as solid anchors in the bed, especially because each plant will be equally spaced between the plants. "Ordinarily, I shun this kind of symmetry, but given the linear look of the bed and the sidewalk, I decided to go with it rather than fight it, " says James.

To further soften the brick wall, Boston ivy is planted along the back of the bed. The vine will eventually cling to the brick, adding a green background.

Next he plants autumn ferns (Dryopteris erythrosora) which are hardy to USDA Zone 3 and evergreen to Zone 6. They ultimately grow to about two feet tall and don't require a lot of maintenance.

To complement the green foliage of the ferns, Heuchera 'Palace Purple' is planted for its contrasting purple leaves. This classic variety of heuchera is the 1991 Perennial Plant of the Year.

Although grass-like plants aren't often thought to be placed in a shade garden, there are some that do quite well. One example is Japanese sweet flag (Acorus gramineus). It grows well in moist and wet soils but also does well with regular watering in a drier soil. Another perk of this plant is that it's easily propagated by division. After removing the plant from its container, you can simply take a clean, sharp knife and cut right through the middle of the clump, creating two separate plants.

A single evergreen specimen, Hinoki cypress, is added to the west end of the main bed. This plant has a twisted form and reaches eight feet tall and three feet wide. It's a quick grower, growing up to two feet a year.

Once the garden's framework is established, James adds seasonal fall color like daffodils and pansies to the bed. Planting them in groups of 12 in the front of the bed, he uses a daffodil cultivar named 'Tete-a-Tete' for its bright yellow blooms that grow to about eight inches tall. On top of the bulbs, James adds several bicolor pansies named 'Ultima Morpho'.

Once everything is planted, he waters all the plants well, making sure to deep soak them so the moisture reaches the root zones. Finally, a three-inch layer of aromatic cedar bark mulch is added as the perfect finishing touch to this garden bed.


Landscaping Tips

Though your home is your castle, there is no necessity to surround it with a moat. Here are 5 tips that will help you to make your landscaping feel more warm, welcoming and cozy.

1. Put some flowers nearby your entrance. Flowers make any area look more welcoming and attractive, so greeting your guests with Petunia, Snapdragon, Lily-of-the-Nile or some other garden flowers is always a great thing to do. What is more, to add some space between your house and the entrance, you can consider adding a little white fence. It will create an illusion that your front yard is bigger than it actually is. What is more, adding fence will create a great space for planting flowers to add some color and coziness.

2. Add rambling vines to make your yard look absolutely lovely. You can not deny that rambling vines always create romantic and even magical atmosphere. So why not to use this tip while decorating your yard?

3. To hide the unattractive driveway, consider adding some color, texture, and height. You can easily do it by adding various sorts of flowers. To start, create an island of green lawn right in the hub of a drive. Then add a couple of low boxwood hedges with flowers toward the back of your island.

4. If you want your yard to blossom and flourish bust still do not have enough time to maintain it, consider planting low-fuss lilies. Such flowers look absolutely gorgeous and come in the variety of rainbow hues, so you can pick the one you love most. What is more, low-fuss lilies do not care about the sort of soil, they love the sun and welcome hot, they do not afraid of drought. In other words, Crinums is an ideal flower for all those who are looking for low-maintenance solutions.

5. The last tip also touches the low-maintenance aspect. To make your life easier, group plantings into beds and islands. This will help you to avoid mowing and trimming around each individual plant, save a lot of time and even money.

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