Last post, we left off defining our landscape bed lines and adding a light post. Today, we will continue this front yard landscape design by adding a shrub like tree, all the shrubs and some of the perennials.
Let’s start by adding another of Landscaper’s favorite trees, a purple laceleaf Japanese maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum).
OK, I admit it is more of a shrub than a tree, but it is popular no matter what you call it. The cultivar we will add, Crimson Queen, is one of the strongest growers of the laceleaf Japanese maples.
This one will be planted right where every landscaper plants them. In the planting bed between the front walk and the house.
Evergreens for winter interest
Evergreens are a critical component of most landscape designs where there are four seasons. In my area near Chicago, the longest season is Winter. Therefore evergreens are especially important for landscapes here.
We will choose a classic landscape evergreen, the boxwood. Green Gem boxwood is the most used boxwood that I see used in my area. Although Green Velvet and Green Mountain are not far behind.
‘Green Gem’ is a hybrid boxwood cultivar (Buxus microphylla var. koreana x Buxus sempervirens) that is noted for its globe shape and excellent winter hardiness. It’s glossy dark green leaves hold their color well in winter.
I have not used this plant before, but I have used Green velvet in my yard and was impressed with it’s ease of care as well as fantastic looks.
We will place several Green Gem near the foundation of the house, but will also plant some out in the corner planting bed underneath one of the Autumn Brilliance Service berry.
A deciduous shrub that adds seasonal interest
We will use several oakleaf hydrangea to provide long lasting white turning to pink blooms in the summer, red to purple Fall color, and a shaggy brown winter bark. Oh and let’s not forget the great big bold textured leaves all growing season long.
Spring bloomer added
On the side of the stoop opposite an oakleaf hygrangea we will add a PJM rhododendron to extend the bloom season in Spring past the early blooming service berry. The PJM will also provide an evergreen presence when its green leaves turn a dark purple color Winter through Spring.
Next we will provide a shrub to mass behind the Service berry on the South side of the house. This shrub is the Virginia Sweetspire, we will use the cultivar ‘Little Henry’ which provides a more compact and neat growth habit or we could use Henry’s Garnet which is similar, except it grows a bit larger.
This native of Illinois (although only in the south end of the state) provides a nice display of white dangling flowers in the Spring and very nice red fall color which will nicely complement the orange of the Service berry.
Azalea’s for Spring….errr…..
Originally I was considering adding some more Spring blooms from four Karen’s azalea (Rhododendron ‘Karen’). Karen’s extend the Spring bloom season by flowering after the PJM (see my post on extending your Rhododendron bloom season for how to use 4 different Rhododendrons for blooms all Spring long).
Karen’s can also add decent to great fall color depending upon the amount of sun they get.
But then I thought that this design needed a bit more color in the Summer and a Pink Double Knockout Rose® (Rosa x ‘Radtkopink’) would fit in pretty well with the colors of the perennials we will be adding shortly.
It also will grow very well in part shade locations with excellent disease resistance, so the three near the Serviceberry should continue to perform well even as those trees grow.
There is not a ton of space left to mass them, but the two singles will grow to be a decent 3-4′ wide and the pair at the end of the drive will form a nice mass of blooms with time. They should also enjoy the protection from winter winds where they will be located.
Time for some perennials
Since I just wrote about these plants about a month ago, lets speed this up a bit and add a trio of Landscapers favorite perennials.
- A group of six Palace Purple Coralbells over in front of the boxwood to the right of the front door. Their purple color will echo the purple leaf Japanese Maple in the other bed thus helping to tie the two areas together.
- A mass planting of 14 Tiny Rubies Dianthus whose flowers will be hard to miss when you pass as you enter the walk from the drive. These are small plants so the quantity is upped to make the required visual impact.
- A sea of 19 Max Frei geranium that crosses from one side of the path to the other, helping to lead your eyes and feet to the front door.
Now that we have added some serious color in the term of flowers and foliage from that trio of perennials, lets add a bit of the Prairie.
The Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) is not on any of my lists as a landscaper’s favorite, but it may be soon. Landscapers, have discovered that this native to America’s heartland is one very nice landscape plant.
Not only does the Prairie Dropseed form a nice tufted mound with a weeping habit, it sends up nice fragrant flowers, which is very uncommon for a grass. It has been described as smelling between vanilla and fresh popped pop corn.
Fall color is very nice tan-bronze. It’s will also not flatten by snow, so it makes a nice addition to the winter landscape. We will use two groups to edge the beds and provide some structure through the winter when the perennials get buried under snow.
Next week, we will finish up by adding some more of landscaper’s favorites perennials and some of mine too. We will also take a look at how it all comes together in perspective view.