Opinions on plants for new front yard design
We're still working with a landscape designer to redo the front yard. He owns a local nursery and we are enjoying working with him. Currently, we have a large 50x50' front yard with a huge Mimosa tree and lots of grass. Our general plan is to replace the Mimosa tree and most of the lawn with a less-messy shade tree and more drought-tolerant plants. We have clay soil and the front yard faces south.
I'm looking for comments, pros and cons, regarding the following plants that he included in the plan; this list includes comments from my research.
Achillea tomentosa -- placed next to a rose, would it get too much water?
Caryopteris clandonensis -- I like this plant and have always considered it for our yard.
Echium -- I have seen this growing at work and it looks very pretty and dramatic at its best, but very floppy and open in the center at other times.
Cistus purpureus -- I thought this was best in sandy soil... OK in clay?
Pittosporum variegata -- Can get 5-10' tall; he placed them next to a 4' split-rail fence. I think they are too big for this spot.
Miscanthus variegata -- never grown a grass plant before...
Eriogonum arborescens -- CA native, sounds good
Lantana trailing 'gold' -- Good color, size; I like it.
Pennisetum variegata --
Phormium 'Maori Sunrise' -- reverts to Bronze; cool sun/lt. shade. Better variety: Phormium 'Flamingo'. Basically, I'd like a Phormium that grows to 4-5 feet and retains its color; I prefer the floppy variety over the upright.
Anigozanthos 'Harmony' -- This one is drawn into a spot with afternoon sun, but research says it prefers cool sun and lt. shade.
Lantana 'Irene' -- Love the color but when new tree grows up, this spot will get about half-sun.
Ceanothus horizontalis -- can reach 10' wide in 3 years; good for bank stabilization.
Lagerstroemia 'Petite Plum' (crepe myrtle) -- Dwarf, erect, to 5-6' w/ deep plum purple flowers.
Achillea millefolium -- Lots of nice varieties; which one?
Anigozanthus 'Big Red' -- tall variety; love the color
Nagami kumquat -- we already have it growing in a large pot in the backyard; want to move it to the front yard next to the driveway. Wondering what the actual mature height will be grown in the ground.
Phormium 'Pink Stripe' -- aka 'Candy Stripe'; 5-6' tall. Wondering if it retains color well.
Punica granatum (Pomegranate) 'Wonderful' -- tolerant of clay soil but requires regular water and frequent sucker removal.
Pittosporum tobira -- aka Japanese mockorange; can be grown as small understory tree.
Hemerocallis (Daylily) 'Stella d' Oro' -- common golden-yellow plant.
For the tree to replace the Mimosa, we're considering a Crepe Myrtle with a large canopy for shade, or a grouping of 3 medium-size CMs with shade canopies. However, someone showed us their CMs covered with brown flowers and says it suckers a lot at the base. Another consideration is the Chinese Pistache which we love for its fall color.
I think there are too many different plants in the plan;...