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Beginner Landscaping: Hello, Need suggestions for area in front of our house

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jimymac
Concord, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 4, 2013
10:07 AM

Post #9375227

The last week has been crazy for us, Trees!, schrubs,hedges!, we live in a very hot area in the summer 100's and very cool in the winter 30's ,40's This area gets about 6-7 hours of sun every day, from my initial research I would like something that can get 4-5 feet, easily manicured shaped round . we would like flowers and some fragrance, grows quickly and we can plant now during the winter, I think thats it!
thank you for your time
Jim

This message was edited Jan 4, 2013 10:14 AM

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missingrosie
Hillsborough, NC

January 4, 2013
11:40 AM

Post #9375329

Folks from Ca will weigh in, but also would suggest a trip to local nursery with the details on your wish list of attributes. Advice will be free and you can look at the trees/ shrubs while you are there to eval the shape and color before purchase. The house color is great and you should have no problems making a good match. Do you want to keep the areas separated with concrete blocks as in the photos? You may find you have more freedom of design if you merge the individual planting areas and pull it all out farther from the house. That would provide room to plant away from the house foundation and also allow for a naturally contoured design - loose and flowing.
jimymac
Concord, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 4, 2013
12:14 PM

Post #9375363

Thanks missingrosie, great advice I've been to the local nurseries and thats how I got my wish list together, looking forward to some more advice
Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 5, 2013
10:44 AM

Post #9376190

I do landscaping in that area.
Are you thinking of inside those semi-circles? I would suggest a combination. Something a bit larger against the wall of the house (as long as it does not block the windows) and something a bit shorter in front.

Easily shaped: African Boxwood, Myrsine africana
Fragrance: LOTS of options- Gardenia (several varieties- Veitchii is very common, but not 4-5' high, Mystery is larger, August Beauty is good. They are also available trained as a small tree, but they do not get very big.
Lavander: Most will not reach 5', only a few will reach 4', but the leaves are fragrant all the time, and most will flower throughout the warm season. Varieties of French Lavender, L. dentata are often quite large. Many of the others are closer to about 2', may reach 3' in bloom. Easily sheared to keep neat and encourage a new crop of flowers. Not great if lawn water will be constantly wetting them. (I only water mine about once a month in the summer)
Roses are also fragrant (especially the older ones), flowering, and some are easy to shape (ground cover types like Flowering Carpet). The taller ones for a background might be a climbing rose.
Lavatera is larger, more open. It can be held to 5' Might be acceptable against the wall, with somewhat smaller plants in front.
Escallonia: Several varieties. Year round flowers off and on, very easily shaped. Taller one for the back, smaller ones for the front.
Grevillea: several species, not for a damp area, though. Will this area get average garden water? That is too much for Grevillea.
Flowers: Salvia. many forms, but the variety 'Hot Lips' is really showy and fast. Easily trimmed into a round shape. Not 4-5', though.
Winter flowers: Leptospermum. Of the 2 most commonly available 'Ruby Glow' seems to be a bit smaller and easier to shape than 'Helene Strybling'.
Smaller, different: Callistemon viminalis 'Little John'. Does not need much pruning to stay about 3' high and wide.
Loropetalum is available in 2 basic forms. Green leaf with white flowers, or purple leaf with pink flowers. I see them planted too often in too-small a location, then pruned back too hard. They reliably reach 4' high and wide, and can get larger.
Pittosporum tobira variegata is a good shrub in the size you want, and easily pruned if it gets a bit too tall. They can be kept about 4-5' high and wide.
Abelia x grandiflora 'Edward Gaucher' is a really nice shrub. Easily shaped if you must, but a showy, arching shrub of about 4-5' with just a little bit of pruning once in a while.
The larger varieties of Rhaphiolepis might be an option. Most have pink flowers in the spring. A few get that large, or use the smaller varieties in front of a larger shrub. My favorite is R. umbellata 'Minor', the Yeddo Hawthorn. This would be a front row shrub.
If you want a mixed planting, add a couple of New Zealand Flax for a colorful, tropical look. There are many varieties, just watch out for what size they get. There are many from a foot to 10 feet tall. Many leaf colors.

A bit taller, shade the wall, might be a small tree. Something that gets to about 15-20' would be nice.
Lagerstroemia, the Crape Myrtle is available in many colors. Get one of the hybrids that is resistant to powdery mildew. Multi trunked or single trunked.
Any of the flowering fruit trees such as Flowering Cherry, Crabapple, Hawthorn and others. Look for disease resistant varieties. The purple leafed flowering plum is very commonly planted, and grows well here. If you like it, go for it. Several varieties, so look for one of the better ones.

This message was edited Jan 5, 2013 10:46 AM
jimymac
Concord, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 7, 2013
8:57 AM

Post #9378063

Thank you so much diana, thats alot to digest, I am gonna google each and everyone of your suggestions and I am sure i will find my choice, I will keep you informed!
jim
Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 8, 2013
8:38 PM

Post #9379688

Locally, you can also go to the better nurseries to see most of those plants.
Orchard Nursery in Lafayette, Navlets, and (surprise!) Home Depot Concord, and Lowes, Concord.
All the stock is pretty low in all the stores, at this season, and may look a little sad in the cold, so do not expect much. However, if you look at the largest plants they have of each species (maybe 5 gallon, perhaps some larger) you can get a feel for what they look like in person.

Here is an easy way to do this:
Lay out the garden to scale, the house (locate the windows), the outlines of the beds, and make circles of the plants at about 3/4 of their full size. This will allow them to grow into each other, to overlap just that little bit that makes them look good, and helps you to see how many will fit.
jimymac
Concord, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 19, 2013
2:39 PM

Post #9390418

Well On the outside areas I planted mock orange plants, springtime they produce flowers that smell like citrus, should grow 6-10 feet and with a little pruning will be perfect for under the windows, now still trying to figure out what to put in the middle, thank you all for your suggestions, half way done!

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