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Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

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Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby HeelsDown » May 02, 2012 1:14 pm

Hello! I found this forum the other day and thought some experts here might be able to provide me with some advice and/or ideas!

My husband and I bought our 117 year old home last year, and have been working steadily on improving the inside and outside. The gardens were completely overgrown at the time so we spent the past year cleaning them up. Now, we are working on getting more soil and mulch in them, defining them, adding in some colour with some perennials more fitted to the sun/soil type, and filling in empty spots.

Two of biggest, and most obvious empty spots, are on either side of our front porch. There was nothing in either corner when we bought the home except for a very sad looking butterfly bush, which we took out last weekend and gave to our neighbour. Whatever goes in there, I think it would be my preference that each side matches for a symmetrical look. And, even better if it were low maintenance so perhaps something in the evergreen family. This would not only be pretty low maintenance, but would help the area look 'full' even in the winter. Something that wouldn't grow higher than window sills either would be great.

The front of the house faces south and my zone is 5b. Currently, there are about 5 very old trees in front of the house so it's a very shady area. We are getting all the tree's pruned and some of the canopy lifted for safety (so in the one picture, that low hanging evergreen branch on the tree smack in front of the house will likely be gone) so, hopefully, this might lighten up the area a teeny bit.

Thanks so much in advance! I'll be sure to post after pictures once we've finished so everyone can see what their advice looks like. 8)

Jenn

Pictures of House:
https://picasaweb.google.com/schmenn/Fr ... directlink
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby B_BQ » May 02, 2012 2:17 pm

Welcome HeelsDown.

What a pretty house! Nice pussy cat too!

I hope others will jump in here. My immediate thought for symmetrical evergreens on either side of the front entrance would be Hicks Yew, (which can be kept trimmed to the height you want), and Alberta Spruce. Alberta spruce may get just a tad too tall though over time, even though they're incredibly slow growers.

I'm sure it's not an option, but I would be very tempted to get rid of the huge pine slap-dab in the middle of the lawn! That would take a lot of courage, and also quite a few $$$!!

Whatever you decide to do, hope you keep us posted.

~BBQ
Zone 5b
South/Central Ontario

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby HeelsDown » May 02, 2012 2:53 pm

Thanks BBQ! I fell in love with the house as soon as I drove up, but my hubby needed a bit more convincing since it didn't come with a garage so we'll have to build one eventually. I obviously convinced him!

Sneaky kitty - that's Lexie :lol:

I hadn't thought about an Alberta Spruce...I do like them and they'd be fun to add Xmas lights to in the winter so I will add that to my list of trees to look at this weekend. For the amount of time we'll likely be in the house, they wouldn't be too tall, but probably wise to think down the line (or we'll be cursed out like we've cursed previous owners..ha!). I had pondered the Yew, b/c we had them at our previous house, but I always thought they needed full sun? If not and our cats don't chew them, that might just work!

I hear you on getting rid of that tree! I added two more pics of the front of the house that sort of shows you how many tree's I have there - I think it's 6 just in the front! They are all older than the house and one is a very rare red pine. It pains me to just trim the one branch so I don't think I could cut the whole thing down...sure would brighten up the kitchen though... :P And, yes pricey! Our quote to prune, etc. is $3,000!! That's for all of 'em and some are in dire need - including the 4 black walnuts in the side/back yard. Sure was fun figuring out the garden near those...but that's another post! :roll:

Thanks again and looking forward to more ideas!

Jenn
Last edited by HeelsDown on May 02, 2012 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby Laura » May 02, 2012 3:12 pm

Hello Jenn and Welcome to the forum.

I would tend to put flowering scrubs rather than evergreens but I guess if it's in shade that might not be the best.Your house is wonderful and I love your front door color.I am with you on removing trees I wouldn't unless absolutely no other choice.

Great gardening to you and yours and hope you will keep us posted on your plans and results.
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby Dumbo » May 02, 2012 3:31 pm

HeelsDown wrote:including the 4 black walnuts in the side/back yard


From what I've read, these trees grow up to 140-feet. At less than full height (80 to 100 feet) they are worth 12,000$ each for the wood. At half height (~50 to 60 feet) they are worth ~ 2500-3000$ for the wood.

I heard of people, people who obviously have the room, growing these for their kids to use as money later on in life. At 12,000$ each you can see how it adds up.

I wouldn't cut those down. It's money in the bank a couple of decades down the road.

;)

Wiki seems to state that some plants just won't grow around these tree's. So guess it will be trial and error, unless someone has a list of plants that shouldn't be bothered with around these trees.

EDIT:

Non-definitive list of plants susceptible to Black Walnut:
http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/hortcult/fr ... kwalnt.htm
(Bottom of the page)

EDIT 2:
The ON gov has a better list:
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cro ... xicity.htm
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby Lulu » May 02, 2012 4:30 pm

Hi, Jen, and welcome to the forum! Lovely, lovely house you have, and what a nice yard to work with.

I like Brenda's idea of the yews, but would put them directly under the windows, and keep them trimmed, not to grow above the frame, and plant taller, columnar cedars or cypress beside them, in front of the brick.

Or,,a different look would be burgundy barberry shrubs under the window, and yellow cypress in front of the bricks; would add a "wow" factor.

I'd go a step further, and move the stones out some, and put in some colorful perennials, for interest.

As for the big trees,,it would pain me to get rid of those,,so,,as Marc suggested, grow them for your kids' inheritance.

Keep us posted on your exiting ventures!
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby Dumbo » May 02, 2012 5:02 pm

Personally, because of the potential money involved, I would find one of those degreed foresters. Someone with experience. Not a horticulturalist or tree cutting service to check those walnuts out and try and put a grade on them and a ballpark age.

Sitting on a potential $40K it would be a cold day in hell before I let a tree cutting service touch those. Each to their own though...
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby kelly_m » May 02, 2012 5:29 pm

I love colour of the brick!!!

What area are you in...I'm going to guess kitchener/waterloo or anywhere North up lake Huron! LOL

The big trees are wonderful!! But if you do choose to get them cut down....see if there is a lumber yard....mill nearby that will do it for you....maybe be able to get some sort of deal, because those trees could be milled...nicely....but the one with the burls??? that one is your real money maker! Woodworkers/craftsman will pay for those!

I have to agree with laura, though, I would go with a flowering type shrub rather than an evergreen...you already seem to have plenty. though if you do go with an evergreen, check out the Dwarf Alberta Spruce. Even slower grower and does not get as tall!

Welcome to the forum Jenn!!
Kelly
Zone 5a/b


OLD GARDENERS NEVER DIE. THEY JUST SPADE AWAY
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby B_BQ » May 02, 2012 8:08 pm

I'm back. Took a pic of the Hicks Yew in the area outside our family room. We've been trimming this now for about 5 years. It was pretty unruly when we moved here, but have slowly pruned it and it's now looking good. We have two on the entrance of our house as well, (north facing), and they are nowhere near as nice as this south-facing one. I do like the idea of having an evergreen on each side of your entrance way. Certainly they would take less care, and they would look good with some white lights on at Christmastime! Potted and/or planted annuals for colour. Very simple and low maintenance.
~BBQ

Oops, forgot the pic:
IMG_2401.jpeg
Zone 5b
South/Central Ontario

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day
~ Author Unknown
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby Laura » May 02, 2012 8:21 pm

What about hydrangea ? They can take shade,they would only need a trim just like a tree,they come in colors although the white would be pretty next to your brick/stone,and you could still put your lights on.Also has a bit of a softer look than an evergreen.
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