Help me design my front yard!


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Hey all! Our house was built a year ago and the builder landscaping was .....well, builder landscape. I got busy with life and didn't do an ounce in the yard, and it shows :( Now it's time to make it awesome. Got the edger and will tackled the edges and change the outline a bit to make it more interesting. Now, plants. I want to keep my beautiful dwarf magnolias, everything else-not attached to. I do like the bushes in the back by the porch, so those will stay somewhere...... I'm going to post a few pics of the yard as is for your reference and a small drawing i made of the possible front yard? please let me know your thoughts on what you would change/add/delete.... i don't want to overcrowd the space (probably am), so I do need some good advice!

We are in Wilmington, NC, so zone 8a, i think?

Note on roses.... i love those things and am a sucker for them! We moved from Chicago and I had many roses and tried and tried to make them happy, but sadly, they kind of just existed in my yard and never really thrived. Now that we are in North Carolina and the climate is so much nicer (thank you, Lord!), I want to try again... my husband is going to build a small pergola over the garage for me, so i'm wondering if i should do roses in the front yard and some kind of a climber (clematis, etc) for the pergola? Or roses both places? Or...?

i'm open to suggestions of any kind!!! Want to tackle the front first and then will post specific questions about the sides and back (want to grow berry bushes and such) - so as not to make it too confusing.... let me know if stuff on my drawing would look nice together or if you'd recommend different combinations :)

thank you!
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(also, let me know if i should upload images as thumbnails or full images, apologies if i'm doing it wrong)
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JBtheExplorer

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I definitely recommend native plants, as I do with everyone! There are hundreds of options. Most local garden centers carry a small selection of native plants, but you can also find nurseries online that will ship them to you.

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is one of the most popular native plants, due to its bright orange color. It provides a nectar source for pollinators and is also the host plant for the Monarch caterpillar.
IMG_3157 copy.jpg


Here's a photo I found online of Orange Milkweed being used with what appears to be Prairie Dropseed and Foxglove Beardtongue.
14689098654gtgtgtg.png


Here's a photo I took of it at a local nature sanctuary's garden.
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That's just one of so many more great options. I only use native species, and I hope that many more people will begin to throw away non-native species and stick with natives, since they help the environment and help our local wildlife so much more than non-natives do. I'd definitely recommend looking through Prairie Moon Nursery's website to see the many different kinds of native plants that can be used. They'll show you their native range, the light and soil conditions, and a lot more. I used their site a lot when I first got into native plants, and I still go back to it frequently.
 
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alp

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Like your choices - peonies like it hot and their rhizomes baked and they don't like their positions disturbed too much, so it might be a good idea to find a spot where they can stay for at least 5 years, preferably west or south facing.

To add height, you can go for a stipa gigantea

stipa1.jpg


They add height and yet let light through. Also giant delphiniums are very beautiful at the back. Echinaceas are good for bees and it would look nice to have aubretia draping around. Draping rosemary is good for cooking and landscaping. They will never look tired, showing their straggly legs.

aubretia



You can also use heucheras behind the aubretias. They are pretty tough perennial here in the UK.

Some camellias provide evergreen leaves all year round - a soft pink one will grace any front garden and draw admiration. A deep red and a deep green acer palmatum dissectum in shaded areas ..Some hibiscus for the summer.. Some variegated shrubs such as weigela and two to 5 box topiaries - in dome, pyramid or triangle shape. One spiral thuja ...
 

MaryMary

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Lyoshka, what flower colors do you want at the house? Also, looking at your sketch, I know they can be pruned and trained, but don't roses usually get bigger than azaleas? :unsure: I'm not sure I'd want the roses in a line in front...:unsure:


(also, let me know if i should upload images as thumbnails or full images, apologies if i'm doing it wrong)
Can't speak for anyone else, but for easy reference, I like full images. (y)
 
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I definitely recommend native plants, as I do with everyone! There are hundreds of options. Most local garden centers carry a small selection of native plants, but you can also find nurseries online that will ship them to you.

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is one of the most popular native plants, due to its bright orange color. It provides a nectar source for pollinators and is also the host plant for the Monarch caterpillar.
View attachment 35187

Here's a photo I found online of Orange Milkweed being used with what appears to be Prairie Dropseed and Foxglove Beardtongue.
View attachment 35189

Here's a photo I took of it at a local nature sanctuary's garden.
View attachment 35190



That's just one of so many more great options. I only use native species, and I hope that many more people will begin to throw away non-native species and stick with natives, since they help the environment and help our local wildlife so much more than non-natives do. I'd definitely recommend looking through Prairie Moon Nursery's website to see the many different kinds of native plants that can be used. They'll show you their native range, the light and soil conditions, and a lot more. I used their site a lot when I first got into native plants, and I still go back to it frequently.
JB, thanks for the post. I agree about native plants, though I can't say i'm as much a purist as you are about throwing out the non-natives ;) But you have a very valid point that the natives will grow better and support the local eco-system. Here in North Carolina, Camelias bloom in February and Azaleas now. Both are breathtaking and i want them in my yard, for sure! I just don't know enough about grasses and flowers, but you are right, going to a nursery might help! i'll start there! thanks for your advice!
 
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Like your choices - peonies like it hot and their rhizomes baked and they don't like their positions disturbed too much, so it might be a good idea to find a spot where they can stay for at least 5 years, preferably west or south facing.

To add height, you can go for a stipa gigantea

View attachment 35198

They add height and yet let light through. Also giant delphiniums are very beautiful at the back. Echinaceas are good for bees and it would look nice to have aubretia draping around. Draping rosemary is good for cooking and landscaping. They will never look tired, showing their straggly legs.

aubretia



You can also use heucheras behind the aubretias. They are pretty tough perennial here in the UK.

Some camellias provide evergreen leaves all year round - a soft pink one will grace any front garden and draw admiration. A deep red and a deep green acer palmatum dissectum in shaded areas ..Some hibiscus for the summer.. Some variegated shrubs such as weigela and two to 5 box topiaries - in dome, pyramid or triangle shape. One spiral thuja ...
Alp, i'm absolutely loving your ideas!! But i'm also a little overwhelmed....where do I put all the pretties? The thing is, we have this nice new house, all 4 sides to work with and we have a smallish yard (not fenced in) that is flanked by trees on two sides (and neighbor's grass on the third).. so I do have room to make something amazing. BUT.. i also want to utilize the space to grow some fruit and berry trees/bushes, and I just don't know where to put what, so it's functional and at the same time looks attractive... can you help? even some general ideas on where to start putting things would be a huge help.

We also have a crepe myrtle that came with the landscaping package with the house and they stuck it literally in the middle of our back yard. I want to find a prettier spot for it, but don't know where.. thought of maybe putting it by the grilling patio, since it's a pretty compact tree, but not sure? Any ideas? i can take more detailed pics, if you have any input...

Also, HUGE thanks for the tip on peonies. I had them before and loved them. I do want to find a permanent spot for them and leave them alone. I had the Bartzella Itoh peonies and they took 4-5 years to start doing anything, and we moved 2 years later :( I tried bringing 3 with, but killed them.

I do have irises that are still sitting in a foam container for a year and a half now since the move. I know, I'm a terrible parent. those things would survive the end of the world, I"m convinced. Happily blooming in their current crowded box. I want to find them a great little space to spread out, and again....where? i'm not sure what will go with what and don't want it to look like a giant mass of who knows what :)
 
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Lyoshka, what flower colors do you want at the house? Also, looking at your sketch, I know they can be pruned and trained, but don't roses usually get bigger than azaleas? :unsure: I'm not sure I'd want the roses in a line in front...:unsure:




Can't speak for anyone else, but for easy reference, I like full images. (y)
Mary, hi! Color-wise.. i'm not too picky, i do think that many bright colors go with any house :) I think i would like yellow roses just because my husband likes yellow.. but if not, yellow annuals would fit the role, too. you see the colors of the house and my porch will eventually be like this: swing will be white with turquoise cushion and blue and yellow accent pillows. There will be an adirondack chair that I will paint turquoise and will have yellow and blue cushions. A little table to tie in the colors. So going for the coastal look, so to speak. I do think that the azaleas I want will be the hot pink variety, so I think yellow roses would look smashing next to that. That's about as far as my ideas have gotten, but again - i think flowers are beautiful in any color combination. Do you have some cool suggestions?

Roses and Azaleas.... I am wondering the same thing. I know that here, azaleas are crazy, man. They are in every yard, every ditch, every line of sight... it's amazing. So, i do know that left unattended, they can get 7-8 feet easy. But some of the roses get tall, as well.. so I *did* wonder if maybe it would be better to put taller rose varieties next to the house columns and then plant azaleas in front of the roses and keep them cut down, while letting roses spread out....thoughts?
 
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Alp, i also forgot to say that Camelias here bloom in February and it's the most amazing sight! coming from Chicago with it's colder climate, last year when we moved here, I was in shock all winter- no grey sky, something is blooming at all times and those Camelias EVERYWHERE in February (which should de dead, grey and cold in my experience)-divine! So i do want them!!!! :)
 

MaryMary

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We also have a crepe myrtle ...(snip)... maybe putting it by the grilling patio
Is what you call a "grilling patio" what I might call a "screened-in back porch?" :unsure: :cautious:

Crepe myrtles are not really hardy enough for Ohio winters. There are a few cultivars, but I'm not very familiar with them. I don't know how big they get or if there is any reason not to put them close to a house... (Hmm... who can we ask? Thinking...:D Got it!!) I remember reading a post of @marlingardener's that talked about topping crepe myrtles in TX. (It makes the tree ugly. :(.) As added bonuses, (y) she knows roses, and every picture I have seen of her yard is lovely.


the azaleas I want will be the hot pink variety, so I think yellow roses would look smashing next to that.
Are there yellow roses that bloom in April? :unsure: What color are the irises blooming now, Lyoshka? (Would they look nice with hot pink azaleas?)


I agree about native plants, though I can't say i'm as much a purist as you are about throwing out the non-natives ;) But you have a very valid point that the natives will grow better and support the local eco-system.
This is what I am doing in my yard. I have some things I want just because I want them, but I've been trying to incorporate more natives. Maybe you could put a few natives in the front, but more of the non-natives there. And heavier natives in the back with only a few non-natives there?

In other words, more "wildflower" in the back where you're grilling and relaxing, with the "cultivated" side facing the street? :LOL:
 
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Is what you call a "grilling patio" what I might call a "screened-in back porch?" :unsure: :cautious:
Mary, no no. The covered porch is a covered porch. The grilling patio is really just a slab of concrete next to it, where my grill and my smoker are. I was thinking I could use that area to make a little statement corner. Let draw a pic and explain what i mean........

Crepe myrtles are not really hardy enough for Ohio winters. There are a few cultivars, but I'm not very familiar with them. I don't know how big they get or if there is any reason not to put them close to a house... (Hmm... who can we ask? Thinking...:D Got it!!) I remember reading a post of @marlingardener's that talked about topping crepe myrtles in TX. (It makes the tree ugly. :(.) As added bonuses, (y) she knows roses, and every picture I have seen of her yard is lovely.
Crepe Myrtles are definitely a native here. they are literally everywhere. Like Camelias and Azaleas. Lovely medium size tree with an interesting trunk structure and leaves/flowers mostly at the top of the branches. Very pretty. I do think I could stick in at the corner of my grilling slab and surround with some grasses and wild flowers and it looks very nice....
thanks for the recommendation about marlingardener. I will try to find her and bug her :)




Are there yellow roses that bloom in April? :unsure: What color are the irises blooming now, Lyoshka? (Would they look nice with hot pink azaleas?)
One that is open is white and the other ones are purplish, i believe. My poor little irises. I promise to be a better mama to them, as soon as I figure out where to put them! I think they would look amazing next to azaleas! Maybe by the right column, next to my magnolia? sort of right against the brick, as a backdrop?




This is what I am doing in my yard. I have some things I want just because I want them, but I've been trying to incorporate more natives. Maybe you could put a few natives in the front, but more of the non-natives there. And heavier natives in the back with only a few non-natives there?

In other words, more "wildflower" in the back where you're grilling and relaxing, with the "cultivated" side facing the street? :LOL:
I agree with you FULLY on this! I want the front to be striking, but polished and not overcrowded. And the back I want to be with more herbs and wildflowers with a few statement pieces. So yes, love your ideas!
 

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thanks for the recommendation about marlingardener. I will try to find her and bug her :)

:) I already "called" her with the @ symbol. Neat feature in this forum - if you want to direct a comment or question to a particular person and get their attention, put an @ in front of their user name. It's the forum equivalent of a "Yoo hoo!!" :ROFLMAO:
 
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:) I already "called" her with the @ symbol. Neat feature in this forum - if you want to direct a comment or question to a particular person and get their attention, put an @ in front of their user name. It's the forum equivalent of a "Yoo hoo!!" :ROFLMAO:
SWEET! thank you!!!
 

JBtheExplorer

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though I can't say i'm as much a purist as you are about throwing out the non-natives
Most people aren't, but we'll have to get there sooner or later if we have any hope of keeping our world's amazing animals and insects alive. We might as well start now to prevent the damage of waiting any longer. Start with a few native species. Gradually increase from there.
 
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Most people aren't, but we'll have to get there sooner or later if we have any hope of keeping our world's amazing animals and insects alive. We might as well start now to prevent the damage of waiting any longer. Start with a few native species. Gradually increase from there.
your photos are absolutely stunning!!! wow. Just beautiful!
 

alp

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@Lyoshka I love irises as well. But I have the feeling that I planted them too late. Yours is so pretty. You can get 2 or 3 decent short fruit tree such as gala with M27 stock. That way, you can enjoy your fruit.
 

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The grilling patio is really just a slab of concrete next to it, where my grill and my smoker are.

Ok - that is what I was wondering! From what I read on Wikipedia, crepe myrtles shed their bark throughout the year. The petals will be falling after the bloom, and then the seed pods release numerous, small, winged seeds.

We grill a good bit here, and certain times of year, we have to keep the grill closed to keep maple seeds from falling in it. My sister has to keep hers closed while we listen to the "tonk! tonk!" of hickory nuts falling on it. :LOL:

Maybe the myrtle should be a little further away...? :unsure:



Crepe Myrtles are definitely a native here. they are literally everywhere.
:geek: (Nerd moment!) They are naturalized, but not native.

Wikipedia said:
crape myrtle or crepe myrtle, is a genus of around 50 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs native to the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, northern Australia, and parts of Oceania, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagerstroemia
Azaleas are native to several continents including Asia, Europe and North America. There are two camellias native to North America, but most of the ones we have here are native to China and Japan. (End nerd moment. / :geek:.)


I think that white and purple irises would look good in the front with the azaleas. (y)

Since you don't mind mixing colors and want something yellow, a native that might look good in there would be a few clumps of Yellow star-grass, also known as Hypoxis hirsuta, Common Goldstar, or Eastern yellow star-grass. According to the site I have, they would bloom in April. I think they look fairly civilized, and they're perennial. :D




You might have to grow them from seed. :unsure:
 
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@MaryMary , thanks for the insight! Goes to show how little I know about gardening :eek::D. Ask me about cakes, and a different story! I figured if they are in every ditch, they have to be native, right? Wrong! Ha. I guess I’m good with naturalized, bc I know they’ll be hard to kill. I have simple goals-plant things and not kill them....theeeeeeeen add native flowers to serve bees. :cool:

Yellow star-grass is absolutely adorable and goes on my list!!!!!thank you!!
 

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