Starting all over at new house...

lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)October 8, 2012

While my new house is being built out in the hill country between Spicewood and Lakeway , I might as well get started on landscaping plan. My biggest problem is that my house faces north so it's going to go back and forth being fully sunny to fully shady throughout the year. I didn't have to worry about that at the old house because one side faced north and I never really did anything to that side. Does anyone have any suggestions of what I should do? Thanks.

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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

I have the same problem here. I bought a pre-owned house.

If I were starting over I would plant a bermed shrub border on the west side. And get filtered late afternoon shade.
Because I am in town I can't do that or my neighbor would not be able to see to back out of his drive.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 7:09PM
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Lou, after living in a north facing house for 40 years, it has certainly evolved, with oak trees growing huge over the years, so much shade, etc. I ended up with opheopolgon (spelling probably completely wrong) and Indian Hawthorn along with some drift roses edging the north/east side. They are blooming their heads off, so far so good. It's a problem for sure, and I try to keep the front pretty simple and concentrate on that great south facing back yard!

Lucky you, moving to the Hill Country!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:45PM
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Lynn Marie

I am looking forward to the answers you get here. My house doesn't face north, but I'm always looking for something to plant on the north side and the north side of my fence. As far as annuals go, calladiums made it through the full sun period and look great now and elephant ears make it through the full shade months. Impatiens survived the full sun period too, but just barely.

For shrubs, I planted some that were supposed to live in full shade and are HUGE now. If only I could remember the name... Maybe I'll post a picture. They are probably too big for the front of a house though...

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:27AM
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Hi Lou
I am looking out my south facing window to the houses across the street that face north. I see a whole lotta heavenly bamboo nandina and boxwood. The old time tall purple phlox do well too. Another street has a front hedge of lorapetalum. the color changes with the sunlight and I love it! Yet another block has a gorgeous old Japanese Maple in the front yard. Not sure which one, probably one of the "original" brown leaf ones because it is so big.

Another yard has a front yard garden with sedums and more of a rock garden theme. Rose campion etc. She had loads of californial poppies and larkspur spilling over the garden this spring. Dramatic changes.

Overall, I see lots of different trees in yards.

Can't wait to see what you do.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:26PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Thanks for plant suggestions! I'll start out with trees, move grass somewhere or give them to whoever wants them. I'm going to try and reduce lawn as much as I can so I don't have to worry about trying to remove them later on. Just put some annual plant seeds down and gradually add more perennial plants such as sweet olives (yellow, orange, white) for the backyard which will be protected from winter wind which I didn't have much from the old house. I'm thinking a huge plant bed around the fence in the back with small patch of grass in the middle for my dog to lie down and bask in the sun. I'll have a great opportunity to find out just how deep the front yard will get no sun on December 21 or so which y'all know will be the shortest day of the year. House is supposed to be ready prior to that date. It was kind of sad having to leave all the plants behind at the old house esp those big Fire Dragon shantung maples. One was finally a good sized to cast enough shade for me to enjoy. Lol. At least they didn't take out old Escarpment Live oak in the backyard but I hope that the root system isn't too badly damaged from the construction.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:46PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Welcome to the neighborhood. Midlothian. are you going to change your handle now that you are no longer in Midlothian. where are you between Spicewood and Lakeway.Are you off of Bob Wire road area or in Sweet Water or Beecreek area. One of the tributaries to Bee Creek starts on my land. I am out on Hamiltopn Pool rd just south of you. I bet I can climb my hill and look right down on top of you. LOL. Did you get any of the scorched land in a firesale?

Are you in the hills with our amazing caliche soil and rubble or are you bringing in mountains of fertile loam.. My shop faces north but I also have shade. My madrone loves it. so do the salvia, ,,, Salvia regla especially. What is your water situation? all our water tables are very chancy. Are you building a rainwater catchment? You should, the water in the wells suck.

Plants like mountain laurel, Eves Necklace, Texas pistache, escarpement Black Cherry, bamboo muhly, Lindheimer muhly, Eupatorium havanese., Salvia gregii, salvia chiquita, Most of the plants that I listed can grow without a lot of amending or watering.. Are you staying in the area as the house is being built?. Agave montana will take shade. so will agave ferdinand regis, and Squid agave and the Agave lophantha. Your nolina texana and lindheimeri. A lot of the hill country plants will take some shade since we are naturally and "prarie/parkland" or woodland broken up with patches of rugged clearings, Yucca treculeana is found clinging to shady riverbanks and they can also take being scorched.

I guess I don't have to mention that Lady Bird Johnson is having her plant sale this weekend.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 11:50PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

I moved in here Nov. 1, 2007. The picture was taken in Sept.2008. I don't remember the technical term, but the sun is at a different angle this time of year. Subsequently many things are in the wrong places.
Were money not a consideration, I would take out many things a go with more natives. I have one cedar and two liveoaks in a circle with a grass path around them. The late afternoon sun shining under the trees crisps some plants.
Many decisions were made depending on the pipes for the sprinkler system or the size of the rocks under the thin soil. I am posting this for you to see how little grass I have.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:28AM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

I don't know why my pic didn't post. This is the "before" of Nov. 2007

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:31AM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

After. Sept 1, 2008. Just enough grass to keep the HOA happy.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:34AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)


I've seen pictures of your yard in the past and I'm very impressed! It looks like your yard is about the same as mine. Considering that water will gradually get more expensive so I want go with something more hardy that will get by monthly or twice a month of deep watering if we hit a long dry spell. They're going to install sprinkler system which will obviously be adjusted when I add plant beds.

wantonamara, the house is at West Cypress Hills subdivision, a little further west of you off hwy 71. We looked around trying to find best location for everybody. My wife's parents live nearby Horseshoe Bay, I think Blue Lake neighborhood (where we are currently staying at)? My wife's sister lives in west Austin at Circle C community so it's a perfect location for quick drive to either place. My wife works for LTISD now. My lot is relatively flat but at the end of my street, wow, the lots were very steep! Foundation slabs were like 15-20 ft high! They sure have awesome view of the hill country though but I wanted a flat lot because I want to keep as much rainfall as possible. Lol. Not sure what type of rocks. They are brownish color and definitely harder than the soft limestone at the old house that was easy to break up. I've seen them bring in nice loamy topsoil for sodding. Not sure how deep but nice stuff.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 2:14PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Close to a Fire sale. I know exactly where you are and I do look down on you if I climb the hill.. I will be emailing you privately soon, but not now. I have a personal request, PLEASE plan your gardening with the idea of minimal fertilizing. .ALL your fertilizer flows downhill into Lick Creek, a gem of the hill country that the neighborhood used to swim in before West Cypress hills caused an algae bloom with their run off. It is a long complicated story. Those steep lots should not be allowed because they are so environmentally damaging on these thin Bracket soils of this terrain especially above something like Lick Creek. They were designed by the developer in Connecticut who never saw the land. I would be glad to help you with a seed collection. I Or I can send down to you many wildflowers from the area. My yard is not HOA approved though. I go for the wild no grass look of what grows is welcomed . I garden mostly by reduction and moving around. I kill a lot of plants looking for those that can take the worst of the worst. My yard is a testament to those tough ones.. I can dig up unwanted agarita and evergreen sumac (Will take sun and shade) and all sorts of natives this fall. I have a lot of aesclepias asperula. Email me through my page.

By the way we have a mountain Lion that likes to go up and down the Pedernales River. He is in Henly right now but he was in our neck of the woods earlier this summer. He got two (2 huge boars in my back gorge)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 3:20PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I wanted to say that northern sea oats grass works well on the north side. Mine was there for years and only died this last drought. It is re-sprouting. I did absolutely no watering being on rainwater 100% during that deadly year. I would think that bi monthly would keep it alive and even looking good. It might not keep it looking glorious but Hey, things are meant to look bad in a drought, they just need to live through it. Salvia madrensis does well in that description of light dark. I kept mine performing with water supplemental water twice a summer. I did not water it during the drought and it came back. I was very surprised. If one adds hummus, it will take the soil under the oaks very well. Salvia chiquita does well in out rubble and might reseed itself too well. I backed it off the slope so it won't get away from me. It is sending out 2'+ bloom stalks right now. it is good for sun with afternoon shade or shade sometime in the day. Maybe with water it will be good for all day sun.. For your shade and sun you will love salvia roemeriana. It will ultimately seed out and create a ground cover. I will have tons this spring. I am seeing seedlings everywhere. It is native to my land. Gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida will take a winter shading and blistering sun. It goes dormant-ish in winter and wakes up in sun. also agave rupicola (a native to here), hey the ubiquitous wandering jew will put up with the awful soil, temperamental watering shade and sun.

In the shade get some cedar sedge for accent grass. It is very hard to transplant but it will take, might take a while. Hinkley columbine in shade is good. Of course turkscap. They have that gorgious pink stuff too. I am a good source of ALMOST everything that I have mentioned with a bit of warning and good timing IE spring and fall.

You are frequenting Barton Springs nursery, The Great Outdoors and the Native Gardener, Aren't you??

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 5:55PM
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mistiaggie(z9A Tx)

I am in Montgomery county outside of Houston, working on the same thing. We're on a little over an acre on a it so far. We had to take out a lot of pines that died in the drought plus a few other oaks, more than 10 trees. It was sad but opened up a lot of sun for other things.

I love the area y'all are talking about near the Pedernales, we love visiting Hamilton Pool and Westcave when we can. Mountain Lion...interesting. People claim to see them this far east near Houston but I have my doubts. I lived in FL for 8 years so I'm familiar with the panthers there.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 9:37AM
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