New Landscaping For Front Yard Review

luckycharmz336April 25, 2012

My wife and I are trying to landscape our front yard. This is our first new house and we are extremely timid about our decisions. We wanted everyone to review the landscape ideas we came up with - especially the plants and trees we chose.

First is a picture of our house so you can get an idea of locations of plants and trees. Pretty much all the plants and trees get full sun all day.

Eventually we are going to have a fountain at the larger circle #3 higher on the image. (there are three #3's which are agave's - the fountain will go in place of the top one near the paver sidewalk.). We were a little timid because our house is a spanish style home - and we aren't going desert - however; there aren't any homes in our neighborhood with all desert landscaping - so we are trying to make it "fit in" better.

You can't see the right side of the home in the house image, but it's basically a 2 car garage and a 1 car garage.

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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

quite a nice size yard you have there. Are you two going to be doing the landscaping or are you paying someone else to do it?

The design looks great by the way! What software did you use to draw that up?

Great selection of plants there too, if you're worried about your water bill going up. But personally,(if that was my yard) I would put more plants in there that you don't normally see on everyone's yards here in Az. But that's just me, I like my yard to look more tropical :)

Please keep us updated on the progress! I'd love to see this yard when it's done.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 1:55AM
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Hey - we originally had some one to put our idea into cad. But then I used photoshop to make further changes because we weren't completely happy with their design. We are paying someone to do the landscaping. I am glad to hear you like the concept - we get nervous about moving forward - are you native to arizona? If you have any tropical ideas you want to throw out - feel free (-:

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 9:44AM
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Love your home's style.

I'd recommend you relocate your Sago palms. They're not really a palm but rather an ancient relative of pine trees. They often burn in full sun and really like afternoon shade so you may want to relocate them to a more favorable spot. If your house faces east, putting them close to the house would be perfect.

If your lawn area isn't depressed, you may want to consider that as well. That way there will be less chance of runoff from sprinklers and it will create another dimension in your landscape. Any dirt you remove can be used to create contouring mounds in your yard. You can also direct your river rock 'streams' so they can empty into the lawn areas. Free rainwater is so beneficial!

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Arizona Landscape Palms

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 2:52PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

What a fun, great post! Thanks for sharing the picture of your home (it's gorgeous, I really love it), and the plan, plus nice pics of the plants in case anyone isn't familiar with them. I know this sort of stuff is very personal, so thanks for sharing it with us all.

I was going to say the same thing as AZtree, that while it can be done, most sago "palms" struggle in sun here. They can work, but if it was my plan I'd not plan to have some in full sun. You could do some nice Hesperaloe parviflora plants in those locations ("red yucca" though not really a yucca) and they would have a nice upright almost grassy look and blooms that would compliment your 'Torch Glow' bougies. Just a thought.

The design is very nice and we all have different tastes about style, formality, and plant materials. I'm a firm believer that the bulk of our gardens should be plants that LOVE it here, and your plants certainly fit the bill, so that's great. We can always backfill with experimental plants, or plants that need coddling, etc later.

Two minor things stand out. It's hard to tell from the pic and design, but that seems sort of close to the house for Chilean mesquite trees. They grow big, and fast, and maybe that's exactly what you want, but a quick look seems like where you've got them planned is a bit too close to the house (for my comfort anyway). I do have one too close to my house, but it came that way and I'm always thinking about having it removed, LOL. Just something to think about or discuss with your landscape designer. You could always try something smaller, like Texas Ebony or Texas Mountain Laurel.

The other thing, again, very minor but as a friend I'd mention, is that I personally am not a huge fan of the thornless hybrid Palo verdes ('Desert Museum' especially). They're very popular and fast growing, but I see SO MANY that get serious wind damage because their wood is so weak (from growing fast). I'd see if you could get one of the non-hybrid types of Palo verdes instead. They'll grow slower, but they'll be a lot stronger. I've seen some 'Desert Museum' trees looking good, but really only those that get thinned out OFTEN. A lot of them get real damage and split/broken stems from moderate winds. Again, just a thought. I do see some that look good, but if it was my plan (and it isn't, LOL) I'd see if I could swap out a native Palo verde for the hybrid ones.

All in all though it's a very nice plan for a gorgeous house! If you did it exactly as planned, it would look great and you might be lucky with the sagos being able to tolerate the sun (and I could be wrong about the tight quarters for the mesquite, it's hard to tell from the pics), and you may keep the hybrid Palo verdes trimmed so they last a long time. So, basically you're on the right track for sure.

Definitely keep us posted and let us know what you decide to do and how it works out. I'm sure you'll get lots of other input too. We'd love some "during" and "after" pics too!

Take care and happy gardening, enjoy that beautiful home!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics (so far) from my garden April 2012

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Grant makes a very good point about the Desert Museum Palo Verde...I have a huge one in my front yard. It's only 5 years old and it's taller than my 2-story house. A year ago I had to pull the tree back up with my truck after monsoon winds turned it sideways. It was not even on a drip and thinned out regularly. With that said I live in a weird, hilly pocket at the edge of the city. When the weather channel reports 'calm' winds I'm outside keeping my patio furniture from blowing down the street.

I LOVE the house. Looks a lot like ours, same style and your front yard is about the same size. I like the idea of creating various elevations in the grass. We did that in our backyard (but with fake grass) and everyone always says how great it came out. Even a variance of only 18 inches makes a difference and really creates a great end result.

One suggestion - there are those two half walls with the nice curvy feature - is there room behind them between the half wall and the house to plant? My in-laws have some Mexican fence post cactus on each side by their front door that looks amazing at night (they have some lights shining up against them) and makes for a nice entryway. You could do some column-style cactus or something ornamental.

Good luck with the project, we did our whole front/back on our new place too, it's so exciting to see progress!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 3:43PM
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