Help me design a front planter

LizFebruary 15, 2013

I am a novice when it comes to gardening. I have planted small planters and some veggies over the years but never really new how design a space. I have the time just not the knowledge. We built a new house last year and have a front planter. The house is grey and faces East. The planter is against the house with nice stone work behind the planter and an aggregate walkway path infornt. The area is 20feet long and 9 feet deep for 8 feet and 6 feet deep for 12 feet. It has a rounded corner. The short side is beside stairs.

What are you favourite plants? What are some tips on designing the space. I want a low maintenance garden because I live on acreage and have lots of work. How do you pick want plants work together? Any rules to follow?The driveway pad and house are on the bigger scale side does this effect the plants I pick?

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There are lots of choices for plants, just decide what you would like in the flower bed. Can you post a picture of the flowerbed? I do better when actually seeing what there is to work with. Sounds like it will be a fairly big flowerbed. As far as plants go you should decide if you want annuals or perennials. A mixture of those would be nice, larger perennials with some colorful annuals planted among them. Some shrubs would look nice in there against the grey house. Ornamental grasses might look nice to. They are drought hardy and sway in the wind. Since you have an eastern exposure you would need drought tolerant plants. That's also what I have to work with. Is there a patio around it? If so the sun will heat not only the house (brick?) but also the patio around the flowerbed. When I chose plants, I looked at rock garden plants. Evergreens didn't do well for me, to hot plus we get strong winds here and that dried them out to. You'll get lots of good advice here.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 8:28AM
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Many nurseries offer pot planting seminars and will help with the design and advice about the right plants for the situation and the effect you hope to achieve. They can also offer tips for future maintenance.
Pot design is a lot easier with an array of appropriate plants to choose from right in front of you. Then it's hard to go wrong, as long as you grow plants with similar requirements together, and the nursery will guide you there. In other words, a container that was filled with plants that flourish under dry conditions and plants that need boggy soil together would be difficult to maintain. Start calling around to your local independent nurseries. If they know you are interested, they may consider adding this seminar if they don't have it already.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 3:54PM
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Susanne27(5a Ontario Canada)

I usually start my own plants but one year I didn't so in spring walked around the nursery picking up plants and putting them together. It worked well because you can actually see the colour that way. When buying seeds you are somewhat guessing unless you have grown them before because there are different shades of red etc. I like to put two or three colours together and two or three different shapes. eg. daisy type flower, trailing plant, feathery or spikey plant etc. Frank Ferrageno put out a book - saw it at Costco - just on container combinations. Hundreds of them. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 3:25PM
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One doesn't really need to go to seminars to learn to put together planters. Take a picture of your favorite arrangement and do some shopping at garden centres.

I personally adhere to using a triangle design. There must be a high point, a second high point and a low point. Meaning there's a tall plant, a not so tall plant and the lowest plant. and then I fill in the rest of the spaces with filler plant. For example a tall spikey plant for the top and a nice trailing plant for the lowest point.

As for colour, fill it with the colours you enjoy and don't be afraid to change flowers/plants through the season to change the feel of the planter. For example, pansys for spring, geraniums for summer and ornamental kale or cabbage for fall.

You can mix annuals and perennials in the same pot too.

Different types of succulent growing in a pot make such a nice scene. No need to water as much, and great looking throughout the season.

Also add nice ornamental branches to make your planters look spectacular.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:48PM
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Bring good looks to the abut yard using planters crowded with colorful flowers and green foliage. Layer the plants inside the container to create a sophisticated and well-balanced design. Like a gardener's canvas, a planter is an blank space to be anything you wish to plant and watch grow. It is a way to inspire you and those who admire your front yard.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 1:58AM
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Hello! I hope you don't mind but I saw your kitchen post from last year and wanted to ask you how you've liked the DVI pendant lights. I want to order the same ones but was warned DVI has a bad track record with busted parts. Any advice would be great! Thank you!!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 10:53AM
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This is an old thread and you're probably already busy doing your front planter. However there is a lot of info that may be helpful and I'm taking the day off! LOL

There are zillions of plants so you need to narrow the choices for success. I recommend using perennials for an easy care garden. You could start with a few perennials and use annuals as fillers. Annuals are great for color and less expensive than perennials. Buy a few more perennials each year and fewer annuals. Some perennials are very easy to grow from seed so that's an option on a limited budget. Most won't bloom the first year but will still fill spaces.

Plant in groups of 3 or 5 to create a harmonious look and repeat colors evenly throughout the bed. I like a mix of 3 colors and white altho you could use only one color and white for instance, or all white. It's best to use taller plants in the back and gradually shorter plants but don't plant in straight lines so some of your medium height plants will be further forward. Since I like a casual cottage garden that's what I'm talking about but if you like a more formal regimented look you can line everything up evenly.

As to which plants to use that is very difficult to recommend as there are pro's and con's to almost every plant. Some that would work with your situation from the site below are Astilbe, Beebalm, Bellflower, Bergenia, Black Eyed Susan, Bleeding Heart, Clematis (supported by a trellis), Columbine (I adore this plant), Coneflower, Coral Bells, Coreopsis, Daylily, Delphinium (another of my favorites), Dianthus (some have lovely fragrance), Foxglove (poisonous so keep that in mind if you have children), perennial Geranium (there are also some that are grown as annuals), many decorative grasses which fill in spaces nicely, Hosta (altho they are deer and slug magnets), Hydrangea, Iris (another of my favs and there are some that rebloom), Jacob's Ladder (lovely foliage and comes in a variegated variety also), Lady's Mantle (another with lovely foliage), Lamb's Ear (bees love this so perhaps not next to a doorway), Lamium (great in front of a bed), Lavender (wonderful scent with some), Lily of the Valley, Lupine, Peony, Phlox, Salvia, Sedum, and Veronica. So you see there are many, many choices! And most of those plants have several varieties and colors to choose from.

There are many gardening books which give detailed instructions for which plants for the type of bed so you might have a look at your local library. So many choices with gardening but that's what's fun about it! Your zone 4 will dictate which plants will survive as will the eastern exposure.

Here's a site where you can choose plants for your zone. You also might browse by type such as partial sun perennials as your planter will be shaded in the afternoon which is where I took the above plant list from. Many other choices also on that site so start making lists and see how many plants fall into your parameters.

Please use good soil or amend what's there as it is so much easier to do before planting and the success of a garden depends on the soil. Plan to use mulch which makes a garden look more finished IMO and also protects the soil organisms and conserves moisture. My favorite mulch is shredded bark as it looks natural and decomposes to add nutrients to the soil but there are many others.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 3:50PM
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Wow! Thanks for the great info. I just posted another post. Our snow have just gone so now I am planning. I have visited the garden centres and read a lot to get some ideas. I am going to go with a center piece as a dwarf blue spruce with a couple small conifer bushes. I love hydrangeas too so I will put in 5. I am then debating what to put in. I love love lilies but the said not to put them near the spruce. I also really like delphiniums and iris. I like the idea of the beebalm since the hummingbirds like them and the scent of the lavender. I like white yellows (soft), purple and blues. I am going to build the bed up, work some fertilizer in and then plant the spruces and hydrangeas and then keep filling the beds. What would you plant around the spruce tree? I like a full bed with a grass look but like conifers because of the long winter and fall that it adds some interest to the yard.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 10:24AM
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